Coach Big Pete's
Role Model Football Coaches
" Leadership, like coaching, is fighting for the hearts and souls of men and getting them to believe in you."- Eddie Robinson
“Football Coach”, what does it mean in today’s times? Right now you have football coaches from high school and college that are in the news for lack of judgment, plain stupidity, and sadly criminal behavior. I explore some coaches in college and high school who are doing the right things and an old coach who most of the youth have forgotten. The main part of this writing is not to point out coaches based on wins and loses but to point out great coaches who serve as mentors. As publisher I keep getting asked about who I like out of present day coaches. Since today is Father’s Day what not better to look at some great male role models. Who in my opinion should be recognized for their style of mentoring on and off the field?
In an age where we see less and less of male role models in our society. The Football Coach, especially in high school is the mentor, that extra 10th period teacher, and helper to his players. One of my coaches is known, but the fact is this legend is being forgotten in sands of football history. This man has helped more men become great fathers, leaders, coaches, and role models. Sad to to say, but this legend of coaching is now deceased but his spirit lives on in college, high school, and NFL locker rooms. Hall of Fame of Coach Eddie Robinson of Grambling State. Went 408–165–15 in 55 years for the Grambling Tigers and 17 SWAC championships. Out of all his accolades and wins, what he is known for is making great and honorable men. He made sure even as a college coach that his players not only excelled at football, school, and life. Eddie Robinson also had some of the most revolutionary defensive line tactics in college football at that time. Again his coaching on the field does not matter to me, but what he did off the field can never be equaled by any college coach. He made the game of college football a whole lot better and gave the term student-athlete honor.
Illinois Head Coach Lovie Smith and former Chicago Bears head coach. Alright I can hear it now from Bears fans “DA LOVIE SMITH IS A BUM! HE DIDN’T WIN NO SUPERBOWL GANIST DA COLTS”. Ok, you are right Lovie didn’t win a Super Bowl, but he did do many things that you cannot deny. Lovie took a risk on drafting troubled players and trying to help them on and off the field. Coming from the same model as Tony Dungy did of mentoring these young players to succeed in life in Tampa Bay. Lovie Smith is now the new head coach of Illinois Football and is on a hot streak for recruiting young and talented players. (Which by the way some members of the media said he couldn’t do and would fail in bringing top recruits. Lovie Smith couldn’t find a connection the young millennial player.) Guess What? They are wrong, Lovie has gotten two commitments from top prospects in Illinois. Illinois and Lovie Smith is a match made in college football heaven. You have a coach who is loyal, mentor, and a teacher with a school that needs that type of coach. Lovie Smith is the answer, a players coach and a master teacher of life for these young men.
Matt Bowen a former NFL player and now ESPN commentator & journalist. Now Defensive Backs Coach for small school Immaculate Conception in Elmhurst. Matt Bowen is one of top journalistic minds in America when it comes to Football Strategies. I couldn’t believe all the stories about him until I met this coach of coaches. Right now he could be the head coach of any major college program or assistant to a NFL team this season. What does this humble man do? Matt Bowen decides that his family is more important than riches and success on the field. Helps young teenagers grow into becoming better men. Teaches his players the ins and outs of this most beautiful game that we call football. If you ever get a chance to hear Mr. Bowen talk you will be shocked at his graciousness and humble words. This man should be hailed as role model for all Illinois High School coaches. Puts any big time High School coach’s strategies to shame.
Michigan State’s Ron Burton is a defensive line master mind in college football. Heard this man speak at clinic and wanted to jump up on my chair and applaud this man. Mr. Burton is nothing more than a leader for his men in the trenches, on and off the field. Preaches nothing more than responsibility and family unity with his players. Oh did I mention. He is one of most heralded coaches in the nation.
Coach Bob Spoo former legendary Eastern Illinois coach. Coach Spoo is beloved by all of him former players and coaches. Coached EIU for 24 years and paved the way for many of his players to bigger and better things. Always ran a clean program, and when problems arose he always handled it. Not that many problem arose because Coach Spoo always got some of the classiest kids to come to EIU. Sadly Mr.Spoo retired from Eastern Illinois Football 2011 and will be missed.