The three greatest words a coach can hear is … “Thank You Coach” and my 49th and 50th “Thank You Coach” commits are just as nice as my first one!

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Recently one of the dad’s of a high school kicker who I am working with and hearing that my 49th kicker/punter (Collin Barber) UGA incoming punter for 2012 and my 50th kicker/punter (Jimmy Hutchinson) who just signed with Auburn as a high school Junior for the 2013 year and both who I have been training for about three years, asked me the following question. “What is the most fulfilling thing that comes from helping a young man attain his college dreams of getting a kicking scholarship?”

My answer was simple. “Thank You Coach” which kind of shocked this dad because many know I am a talker! I explained that over thirty years I started to work with young men who were looking for anyone who could help them get better as a kicker/punter, and I can tell you with almost 100 percent that each time I would work-out with these kids, they always walked away, with saying, “Thank You Coach”.

That always meant a lot to me, because I was hopefully building in them (and which I have always asked) that someday, when they are done their playing days, they too pick-up the coaching gauntlet and can help in any small way to guide and shape not just the kicking careers of these great student athletes, but as a whole person when they come out to the community as a Coach and Father someday themselves.

I believe that I have been blessed with a God-Given opportunity to help young men as a “kicking coach” but having reached my 50th football player who has work hard to gain a chance to play college football, I am humbled by those three words “Thank You Coach” (and yes the occasional parent section tickets to watch and cheer on some of those skinny goofy kids who I now see turn into great young men) is something that is a special moment in the world of a “special team’s coach”. I am also humbled when I see them return to a Friday night football game they come over and say “Thank You Coach”, and yes even on TV!

In parallel to my coaching career, I have spent the better part of my 30 years in the corporate world, as a sales person and then sales manager turned software “junkie” who developed our software products here at VAS. And while my LinkedIn profile might have some great recommendations from people I have help train to become better salespeople and sales leader, my passion and focus has been in the area of assisting college (and professional) bound football kickers and punters!

Further, each of the parents I have come to know and be friends with always stated “Thank You Coach!” Many times it came at the end of a cold, rainy, hot or windy day, and did not seem to matter to them (that like other parents who make the sacrifices in time, and money) that the true sentiment they expressed further showed just how blessed I have been. Hopefully, each young athlete who reads this also says “Thank You Mom/Dad”, along the way, because they have played one of the most important positions – the role of a parent!

In contrast to the corporate world most Moms and Dads are just glad their children are out of their house and productive “citizens” working and paying their taxes. (Boy won’t it be nice if the Government said “Thank You”- but that another whole discussion).

Lastly, I am fairly certain that I won’t be on this planet to have my 100th punter/kicker say “Thank You Coach” but maybe – just maybe one of the first 50 I have helped out, after reading this blog and the biblical message from Luke 12:48 which states… “And to whomsoever much is given, of him shall much be required: and to whom they commit much, of him will they ask the more.”

Hopefully one of them will hear from one of his kickers/punters those three great words I have always enjoyed…
“Thank You Coach”. ++++

Coach Nolan

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