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Friday, June 23, 2017

Being angry all the time is not the same as having high standards...#24

Most coaches have high standards and that is a good thing. But, some times those high standards are translated into we are always angry because our players or teams do not measure up to our high standards. Don't lower your standards. But, instead of being angry and talking about how bad your players or your team are, HELP them reach your high standards. You can have high standards/expectations... AND be positive! It doesn't have to be one or the other. 

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Old #85

Brad McDowell was in Danville today on business and it worked out we could have lunch together. Brad did a great job fur us at outside linebacker on our 2002 Mason County team that went 11-2 and reached the state quarterfinals. That was also the first team in school history to be ranked #1 in the AP Poll. It is always a great day for an old coach when you get to visit with your former players and tell stories.  Brad has been very successful and I am proud of him!

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

No Brawls or Ejections.... practicing the altercation

The 93 Greyhounds- these guys did a great job handling less than ideal circumstances.... and they could play!
As coaches prepare for the preseason, maybe consider practicing for the altercation. Sounds crazy, but we do it every preseason at the end of a July workout.

We simulate an opponent contacting our player and describe the type of verbal exchange our guys may encounter. We have two objectives:
1- protect our teammate.
2- no one gets a penalty or is ejected.

As soon as the altercation begins, our guys ON the field, grab our player that is involved in the altercation. We tell our kids to never touch a player from the other team.As a group, they surround him and physically bring our player to the sideline. The players on our sideline open up like the Red Sea, the guys on the field take our guy behind them, and the Red Sea closes back up.... the sooner we can get our guy out of the officials sight, the better. 

We tell our kids that they must be the one to remove our player. One night, protecting a player and trying to keep him from getting ejected/seen by the officials, one of my coaches quickly jerked a kid off the field. Even though our coach was helping the young man, it looked bad and the parents got upset. Since then, I have told our guys that I do  not want our coach put on the spot like that. They need to handle those situations. 

In 25 years, we have only had 4 ejections, and all 4 were unwarranted or handled poorly. I like how we handle it because it gives us a positive way to be a family and look out for each other without having to sacrifice a win or a kid missing out on two or more Friday nights of HS football. 

If a coach out there has a unique way to practice unusual circumstances or events, please send that to me at 

It has been my experience that most of my kids have been good guys that want to do what is right and please the coach. Giving them a plan for a tough situation has helped our guys be successful and prevented some ugly Friday nights.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Attitude Improvement...GUARANTEED, after you read this

If you are needing to check your attitude right now, this story will help you do that.

I had two conversations on the phone this past week with my wonderful aunt & uncle, Emily & Terry Millbyer. Emily & Terry met when they were both students at Asbury University in Wilmore, Ky. Terry is the Pastor at Cornerstone United Methodist Church in Baldwinsville, NY.  Following their calling for Christ, they have established a unique & unconventional ministry/church service in an effort to share the good news of Jesus Christ.

Cornerstone UMC- Uncle Terry & Aunt Emily

Uncle Terry recently had his second leg amputated. He is in rehab right now. When I reached him on the phone this week and asked him how he was doing, his response was, "I am doing great!"  He went on to share that he was glad that God had him there to witness and share the good news of Jesus Christ!

My aunt and uncle have always been an inspiration to me.  They have an incredible spirit and passion for Christ. Watching them navigate this trial is incredible for me and awe-inspiring. I am thankful and proud of my aunt and uncle beyond words.

Hebrews 12:1-2 says to run with perseverance the race that is marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Christ. My aunt & uncle are running that race and their focus is crystal clear on our Lord & Savior.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Remembering the 2005 KY-TN All Star Game and my Favorite Football Coach

During this week, 12 years ago, we were on campus at UK, getting ready for the 2005 KY-TN All Star Football Game to be played at Papa John's Stadium.  It was especially enjoyable because my Dad was on our staff.  That worked out because of Game Director & KFCA Executive Director, Jimmie Reed. That experience was one of the best ever with my Dad and I will always be appreciative of Coach Reed making that happen.

My Dad coached the kickers that week. The bad news ... we only had one guy for punting & kicking. The good news ... that one guy was Tim Masthay who would go on to a great career as a UK Wildcat & Green Bay Packer.  The most excitement my Dad had that week, I didn't hear about until after the game. Apparently Tim kicked a ball into some high grass. It turned out to be poison ivy & he went into the weeds to get the ball.  My Dad didn't tell me that during the week because he knew my reaction would not be good.
Tim Masthay, photo by theguru of

Having a great kicker was big in that game. Tim put every kickoff in the endzone. Tennessee had one kickoff that went to the one yard line. David Jones of Belfry/UK took that one to the house.

David Jones headed to the endzone on that kick off, photo by theguru of
I was really proud of the job we did as a staff selecting that team. After seeing him in person during the fall, and then watching video of many senior LBs across the state, I was convinced that Caleb Meenach was the best MLB in Kentucky as a senior. He played great in the game and had a big interception to help us beat Tennessee.
Caleb Meenach with the interception, photo by theguru of

We worked hard to prepare for the game and for the most part it paid off. But, on the 2nd play of the game, our snap goes sailing through the back of the endzone and the score is Tennessee 2-0.  When stuff like that happens, I think "We could have not prepared/practiced at all and we could have done that!"  Not a good feeling at all.

Tennessee had 8 UT signees on their team. Kentucky had won 3 in a row in the  all star series and the orange was not going to let that continue. Fortunately, our team was loaded and our staff did a great job with the kids that week.  We won the game 41-27, but it was tough.

Coach Billy Goldsmith, Tim Masthay & myself calming our guys down after a TD, etc. , photo by theguru of
Late in the game, we got the ball back across the Tennessee side of the 50. During a timeout, myself, Brandon Smith our QB (HS-Boyle, WKU, current South Warren HC) & our OC, Chris Pardue (Boyle HC/OC, Mercer HC) discuss what we should do next. Having just come off a 1-9 season at Mason, my goal is to get out of there with a win. Brandon says, "I want to score again."  To make a long story short, the game ended with both benches clearing. Not what you want, but we got the kids separated with out too much happening. Our kids did NOT want to be the ones that let the streak end. The Tennessee kids also had a lot of pride.... they were not happy to be going home with loss #4 in a row.

Through the week, there were times I felt like I was 10 years old again. When I was that age, Coach French was on my Dad's staff at Mercer. When I was little... and even when I was an assistant for Coach French, they didn't pay much attention to what I thought. I got the same feeling that week in June. I may be the head coach of the KY Football All Stars, but to them, I was still a little kid!

John Combs & I with Coach Bill Arnsparger after he spoke to our team, photo by Stephanie Buchanan
It was interesting and very enjoyable being with my Dad that week. For a handful of days, he seemed to turn back into the man I remembered coaching his teams at Boyle and Mercer. Many of my happiest memories are being with my Dad when he coached his teams and was with his players. I got to see that side of my Dad again and it was a special experience I will never forget.

Today was one of those hot June days. Working on our bermuda grass at Mercer(where my Dad did a bunch of coaching, both as the Boyle & Mercer coach) today reminded me of those hot practices that week in Lexington, 12 years ago.   I will miss my Dad on Father's Day.  I miss him everyday. But, I am thankful for the memories and experience we shared that week preparing for and beating Tennessee. I am thankful I had a great Dad.  If you are fortunate to still have your Dad, give him a hug and tell him you love him. Enjoy being with him while you can.

Monday, June 12, 2017

What is your legacy.... Leadership Building Block #23

Here I am with my old coach back in 1982. I am thankful I had Larry French as my HS head football coach!