ChiefSmoke's Avatar
I like to plan for everything(Bill Walsh influence).... even "what to do if I am getting ready to get fired." In September of 2012, we had lost 7 games in a row(going back to 2011), and #7 was the ugliest of all. John Combs was a sophomore and I began to be concerned that I was not going to be able to be his coach all through high school because we were performing so poorly.

So, the thought went through my mind, "If I am about to get fired, how am I going out and how do I want to be remembered?"

This is what I came up with:
1- I wanted the kids to say that I never blamed them for the losses.
2- I wanted my players to say that I was positive and believed in them until the very last day.
3- I wanted them to say I worked like a dog to help them be the best they could be until the day I was fired.

When I would walk into the lockerroom after loss #7, I focused on being the coach that made all of those things happen. It helped me know what I needed to do.

The Wednesday morning after loss #7 (we practiced at 6:25 am before school every Wednesday) our water system was not working, the humidity was near 100 %, and, according to John Combs, we ran at least 100 grass drills that practice. It was rough. But, one thing about it, if you continue to do things right and hold your kids accountable, the only ones left after a 7 game losing streak are great kids who are tougher than nails. All the weak ones have jumped ship.

We finally ended the streak at 7 with a win over Harrison County. We played our tails off at Highlands the next week, but we were in over our heads. After that, we WON seven games in a row, won our district championship, and reached the state quarterfinals! Then, in 2013, those guys became the first team in school history to go 12-0 and made it to the state quarterfinals again.

We got things turned around because we had great kids and assistant coaches. There is no substitute for surrounding yourself with great people. But, I could have derailed their success with a poor attitude. I was glad that I had prepared to get fired. It made me a better coach.

One of my favorite books is Man's Search for Meaning by Victor Frankl. In telling about his survival in a Nazi concentration camp, Frankl makes it clear that no circumstance can ever take away our ability to choose our attitude and to serve others. No one, no circumstance, can deny that freedom that we all possess.

The next time you are in a tough spot, think about how you want to handle it and how you want to be remembered. Be that person. Who knows.... it may turn out alot better than you think!

Photos included at: Black Shoes and White ShoeStrings: My plan for getting fired