Ever since I was five years old playing flag football for the Eastside YMCA in Fort Worth, football has been engrained in my life. My father grew up in West Texas and lived a few blocks from the infamous Friday Night Lights’ high school, Odessa Permian. He played running back for Texas Christian University in the early 70’s and as a kid I would always look at the pictures of him in his TCU football gear with hopes of me doing the same in college. Fast forward a few years, I was closing out my college football career at Baylor University and wondered what would be next for me. I always was very passionate about the game of football and relished at the opportunity to be a mentor to young ambitious men. A high school coaching job was right up my alley and soon enough I was signing a contract with Waco ISD to assist with the high school team and teach at a feeder middle school, GL Wiley.
This was the most important thing I had ever done in my life, at the time. The at-risk kids at Wiley lacked a father-figure at home and the game of football held so many valuable life lessons, like perseverance, accountability, discipline, determination, team-work, etc. It was a tremendous opportunity to serve as coach and father-figure.
Coaching became a passion as it presented me the opportunity to mold young men on the fields of friendly strife. My passion paid off as I become known as a great coach around the area. Consequently, I was presented with the opportunity to coach at the collegiate level, which was always a dream for me.
For the next seven years I moved around the country coaching college football and preparing student-athletes for the real-world that they would soon be embarking upon. As fun as this was for me, it consumed much of my time and energy. For about 5 months straight, I typically worked 16-18 hour days during the season. During the off-season, I would spend about 2 ½ months on the road recruiting.
My wife, Alex, supported my busy career and sacrificed so much so I could impact young people and be a part of a game that has done so much for me. Life couldn’t get any better… Or so I thought.
In 2016, I was coaching at Davidson College in Charlotte, North Carolina, when my wife and I discovered that we would be having our first child. This was the most joyous things that I had ever experienced, but I had many sleepless nights wondering how I could be a great parent for my child while juggling crazy hours and changing jobs every couple of years.
It was truly a conundrum. I was impacting so many young lives on a daily basis. But was it worth the cost of impacting my OWN child? On top of dealing with this decision, our team was not very competitive. Needless to say, it was a LONG season! I prayed and talked with Alex a lot throughout those months and clarity came sooner than expected.
Right after the season, I was presented with an opportunity to return to Waco as the Director of Coaching Education at the American Football Coaches Association. This was the best of both worlds because it allowed for me to coach and assist those who are coaching and developing our young athletes. The best part was I also had the opportunity to have a more traditional work schedule and limited traveling. I accepted the job. Don’t get me wrong, I MISS COACHING, but I have never looked back. I am so blessed to be able to spend so much time with my wife and daughter, Marleigh. I am so thankful for the opportunity I had to impact so many young people over the past decade.
Mothers, making this career decision for the best interest of my daughter made me truly appreciate the sacrifices that you make for your children. I also recognize that it’s a lot more than career sacrifices that mothers make. Your time, your sleep, your body, and so much more. THANK YOU!
Fathers, our role for a better society is vital. Our youth need us now more than ever! Our presence is the greatest present we can give our children.