Having spent my college years in North Dakota at Dickinson State and the University of North Dakota, there are some obvious lessons to be extracted from the current oil boom, but what I learned most about on our annual vacation to Dickinson this past week had nothing to do with oil.
As I do each year, I visit my college coach and we reminisce about the “glory days” and then turn our attention to our present reality.
Coach Biesiot will become one of the few college coaches in football history to amass more than 250 victories in a 34-year coaching career. He has already been inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.
But, as I watched and read about the dismantling of the Penn State football program, I was reminded of one of the lessons I took from Coach Biesiot — winning without integrity was worthless.
I remember players being dismissed from the team for both behavior and academic reasons.
As a player, I was sometimes quick to disagree with coaching decisions and second-guess the staff. However, the lessons coaches taught over the long haul were much more potent than wins or losses.
In my junior year, we went 9-1, losing only to our in-state rival, but it was enough to keep us out of postseason play and lose out on our third straight NDCAC Championship.
We were all upset after our final game, but Coach Biesoit reminded us that next season was right around the corner and that we had work to do if we wanted to regain a conference title.
But, what Coach said after each of his post-game talks is what I remember most.
He challenged us to be doing something to get better, to stay out of trouble and make good decisions, and to always remember what we represent as an athlete, as a student and as a football player.
While winning football games is a main focus of our Moffat County football staff, we are much more concerned with the values we pass on to players as we compete each season.
The Western Slope League 3A Conference is one of the toughest in the state and we will begin play this season as the school with the lowest enrollment in the 3A league of more than 45 teams. Coach Kip Hafey has challenged our players to look at this as an opportunity to show the state what we can do as a school and as a team.
But, the one part of our coaching I hope never changes is that the players know how much we care about them when they are off the field and away from the stadium.
I love football and what athletic participation has afforded me, but that there is a coach way up in North Dakota who still cares about me and is excited about how I’ve taken the lessons he taught into my profession is what makes me proud to be part of the football family.
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