Blog entry #11 – another beginning

It’s been a while since I last posted. A lot of things have kept me away from the blog including a shoulder operation, travel and the start of a new school year. 

In a week I start my 33rd season as a coach and 31st at Lake Stevens. I have never thought of myself as a creature of habit but teaching and coaching in the same school for 31 years is a dead giveaway. There is a history and rhythm to being in one place so long. A connection to the past links me to a time and people that are long gone but lives vividly in my mind. What they say about the first and last memories are true. I can mentally account for my first team at Lake Stevens like it was yesterday. When I arrived there were 800 students in four grades and now we have over 2,600. My schools size and demographic have changed but my mission is still the same – take each and every student/athlete as far as I can as a human being, student and athlete. This has been the opening salvo of my coaching philosophy from day one and it still is today. This past weekend I was inducted into the Washington Wrestling Coaches Hall of Fame. It was a fantastic honor and also an appropriate time to reflect on what I’ve done and who has helped me along the way. I have been fortunate to share this journey with my family and two assistant coaches who have stuck with me from the start. It’s amazing to think that the three of us coaches have plugged away at this for over three decades now. I believe the reason are many but one thing we all share is a common philosophical statement. We believe helping kids become good adults is paramount and trumps winning, losing and all the other outcome based accessories some people deem so important. Outcome is always a function of process and philosophy. Another reason I believe our staff has stuck together is ownership and having a roll. We all know what we best bring to the table and take ownership of the program. This great pride each of us has is a precursor to the toil and dedication it takes to be successful over a long period of time. If I was a young coach starting a program the selection of assistant coaches would be the biggest duty I would take. I was extremely lucky to stumble onto the guys I work with but there was also some training that occurred along the way. We have definitely grown together and our desire to continuously improve has been a hallmark of our careers. 

As we head into this upcoming season I look forward to working with my long time coaching partners as much as I do the great kids we have in our program. Our time together as a staff is precious and fleeting. I realized this past weekend that I am much closer to the end than I am to the beginning. Crazy how it creeps up on you. 

My goal is to post regularly throughout the season as an in-depth look at what a high school wrestling coach sees and thinks. I hope you enjoy the journey as much as I do. 

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