Throughout my career motivated individuals have surrounded me. This inspiration at times was tough to feel during the daily grind, and other times the real life energy was obvious. When our paths cross, I am proud to see that the athletes come up to me for a handshake or high five and the stories they remind me about put an instant smile on my face.

This new segment will showcase the letters that many have written, myself or the athletes and coaches that I have worked with; to share their inspiration with those we call “teammates.” As you read through the messages that are shared, please remember that what is inside you can separate you from the rest. Look around and you may be surprised how many others are in need of just a little enthusiasm to push them closer to their goals: professionally, physically, mentally, etc.

I will begin with a letter that I sent to a team that I am still very proud of to this day. No names needed. Just a sincere message that I hope can impact others to pay it forward by giving energy to those around them.

Please leave your feedback in the comments section at the bottom. How are you preparing your team, coaches, administrators, staff, co-workers, sons, daughters, mothers, and fathers to have a positive mindset in both good and challenging times?

Welcome back,

The coaches asked me to write a “quick” letter to you to get us on the same page as far as my expectations. This is far deeper than the “rules of the weight room”, “code of conduct”, or even “you” or “I”. WE do whatever it takes to help a teammate be successful in good times and through the rough stretches. WE look to one another for inspiration because WE are trying to achieve what only a few have ever been able to accomplish.

There will be times that are tough, challenging, and may make you want to question if you want to “take another step” with your academic, athletic, and personal aspects of this commitment. I will promise you that I will always remain supportive and in your corner. I make no reservation about how hard the path we are about to go down will be. I will not always be a “good cop”. Stay tough and remember that effort always speaks louder than any words that can be said. I will try to find ways to force you to stick together, find out about your teammates and yourself, challenge you in multiple facets of athletic and personal development, and most of all help you be successful both on and off the field.

At the end of last year, I wrote down words that I thought could describe this year’s team: Attitude, Effort, Conviction, Desire, Good Teammates, Supportive, Passionate, Competitive, and Work Ethic. It took me until the spring last year to acknowledge/see that this program was coming out of the locker room each day with a chip on their shoulder. I expect this confidence from day one. From right now! I expect an energetic, positive, productive, team oriented attitude each day. You must continue to take pride in your work ethic, sticking together as a united TEAM, and believing in one another.

This program is moving forward. The future successes of this program comes from each of you buying into the system, accepting the challenges put in front of you, and walking through each “door” that presents itself. I will let you know that the door isn’t always going to be easy to open this year. There are going to be some bumps along the way. Do me one favor and CONTINUE TO HAVE EACH OTHER’S BACKS!! Fire hard! Double team with vengeance! Cherish the ball! And most of all…Make them play at our tempo! You will have worked too hard to give the ball back or not push it when we have it. If you accept this challenge with conviction and show this through actions, sweat, and effort, I promise you that you will be the fittest team on your schedule. Make them play defense against us all over the field. Force them to make decisions. Wink when they think they have us where they want us, ‘cuz we have another gear! RUN!!!! Get your head up! Hit the open person! And finish!!

I think you get the point. This season will be something to remember. Every last drop of sweat on the field, the first game, the first conference title, and a hunt for “DESTINY”! Be prepared for a battle come day one. It begins with a successful run test and it will end in tears. Tears of “it’s over” either way you look at it. Make this pledge though, when you look back be sure to end it with “I wouldn’t have done it any other way or without any of my teammates.”

Get your minds right, because this year matters! Take care of your schoolwork, make the right decisions before and after practices and games, and let’s put this program back where it belongs…AMONGST THE BEST IN THE COUNTRY!! One step at a time. One goal at a time. One defensive stop at a time. And most of all… AS A FAMILY!!

Thank you for being great people. I am sure it will be an awesome ride and this is only the beginning.

Always in your corner through thick and thin,