High School Football Coach Susupends Players for Lack of Character

High School Football Coach Susupends Players for Lack of Character


Some players were skipping classes, others were getting poor grades, others had a poor attitude and even a few were suspected of cyber bullying a fellow-student at the high school. The coaches at Union High School in Roosevelt, Utah, were displeased with the overall character of the football team. “We felt like everything was going in a direction that we didn’t want our young men going,” said head coach Matt Labrum. “We felt like we needed to make a stand.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tjsX1nK2V1A  (view the story)

And, take a stand is what the coaches did. The week before homecoming, Coach Labrum made every player turn in his jersey. He suspended all practices and games until the players made significant strides. Each player could earn their way back on the team by, (1) attending all classes, (2) providing community service, (3) attending a character education class and (4) attending study hall. In other words, the players had to get their act together and represent their school with pride.

Author’s Perspective #1: I want to applaud the coaches for understanding their real role with these boys, which has nothing to do with winning and losing games. The first, second and third priorities of any high coach is to teach life lessons, prepare students for success after high school and instill character. Good coaches understand that winning is a natural by-product of successfully achieving these priorities on a consistent basis. It’s easy to say it, but to put it into practice requires courage and integrity.

Author’s Perspective #2: I want to applaud the players for rising to the challenge. It would have been easy to complain, point fingers or quit. On some level, they were able to see the bigger picture and to embrace the life lesson. Each understood that it is a privilege to put on a jersey and represent their school. By meeting the coach’s challenge, their season and their lives will be far greater.

Author’s Perspective #3: I want to applaud the parents of the players for trusting the coaches and allowing the process to unfold. It was important for each student to struggle through the turmoil, renew a commitment and change. Only a collection of wise and trusting parents could allow such a process to unfold.

Author’s Perspective #4:  I ran cross country and track in high school. My coach, Jim Brandt, used to tell me that 20 years from now I will not remember the wins and losses. It will be the life lessons, the friendships and the commitment of working toward a common goal.  He was right.

This is the kind of story that truly inspires me. I commend Coach Labrum and his assistant coaches for creating lasting change in the lives of 80 student-athletes – and in the process – I hope they sent a larger message to the rest of America too.

Your Turn (1) respond via this blog, (2) comment on Facebook page (character development & leadership) or (3) tweet to @CDandLeadership using #CDandL):
1) Social Media Question: Did the coaches go too far in this situation? How would you have responded if you were on that team?
2) Do you think the team will get stronger as a result of what the coaches did? In what ways?
3) These coaches believe it is a privilege to play high school sports. What do you think?


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