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Introduction - Overview

A Coach's Influence:
Beyond the Game



 

Introduction:

The Social Issues Initiative and Background

 

     It could be said that I have lived a lucky and charmed life. If you pose me a question about my life, I would say that I have been blessed. It was probably all three, being born to William Garland Teaff and Ruby Inez Grant, two young adults who met in Hermleigh, Texas, about 11 miles east of Snyder, Texas. Snyder is 80 miles west of Abilene and 80 miles south of Lubbock. For someone just driving through on Highway 84, they would think of it as a lackluster, dusty little west Texas town. The trees in town, because they had been planted, were very few compared to the Mesquite trees that covered the landscape. My dad, Bill Teaff, was a farm boy, who actually wanted no part of farming. My mom was raised on a farm by a widowed mother. Mother had two sisters and they became fatherless when their dad, Oscar Grant, died from smallpox while studying mechanics in Kansas City. Inez, my mom, at seven, was the oldest of the three girls, and her mom, Lola Huddleston Grant, raised the

girls. Fortunately there was an abundance of aunts and uncles – hard-working farm people who gave the girls a strong value system and an amazing work ethic. My mom is 96, lives by herself and until last year, drove her own car. A very independent woman, she worked at a shoe store for 50 years.
     After graduating high school and unable to afford college, dad worked on the farm with his father. Bill met Inez, they fell in love, married, and raised two children. My sister, Juanez, is six years younger.
     The Depression was supposedly over when I was born, but jobs were still hard to find. Dad worked for the WPA (Works Progress Administration) building roads until the job ran out. With no jobs available, my father did what he had to do. He showed up at 6am at a local automobile dealership, picked up a broom and started sweeping the building. When the owner came in, he was impressed with my dad's tenacity and hired him on the spot. Dad worked his way up from sweeping the building to General Manager. For many years, my father would work seven days a week for the entire year

without a day off, finally retiring at age 89. Both of my parents worked throughout their adult lives, providing for the family and helping others in need. They were great examples of parenting and what a marriage should be. I was taught values at an early age, and my character developed around that value system. No one in my family had ever attended college, but as long as I can remember, my parents had expected me to go to college. Because of that expectation, I attended and graduated college, and since then, every child in our family grows up expecting to graduate from college.
      My training in a value system started early, as I was taught to say "yes sir", "no sir" or "yes ma'am" and "no ma'am," because those simple words were a sign of respect. I learned early on to respect authority. When I started first grade, my father informed me that getting a spanking at school, would result in another one when I got home. I never received a spanking, however I did get my mouth washed out with soap for uttering a "no-no" while in the second grade. Yes, my mom was waiting when I got home with a bar of soap. My folks never used profanity, so by example, I learned

to develop my vocabulary so that profanity was not needed to communicate.
      Honesty and integrity were taught. The following quotes carried a distinct message, spoken to me and my sister hundreds of times: "If it's worth doing, it's worth doing right." "Respect people's rights and their property." "Give a day's work for the dollar you are paid." "Your word is your bond." "A lie will be found out." "If you think you can, or if you think you can't, you're correct either way." And my favorite, "Your willingness to do what it takes to get the job done, will get the job done."
     My mom was my model for a positive attitude. Even to this day, when you ask her how she is feeling, the answer is, "Mighty fine." Until my junior year in college, mother made every shirt I wore. Not once was I ever ashamed that I did not have a store-bought shirt because I was proud of the time, effort and skill mother used to make my shirts. When a family teaches and lives a value system, you never want to disappoint them. For me, doing something that could get me into trouble was out of the question, I never wanted to

disappoint my folks. I found the same true for our three daughters as they grew up. Their behavior was always acceptable, whether they were in our presence or not. Years later, one of the girls told me all three were thankful they had a crutch to lean on when someone in their group suggested they do something counter to what they had been taught. "My parents would not approve," the girls would say. The crutch was trust and high expectations.
      Yes, I was blessed to have a family that gave me a value system to live by, but I was just as blessed when I entered the educational system in Snyder, Texas. When my father sent me off to school with a warning of duplicate-punishment received at school, it was clear I was under the authority of my teachers, my coaches and the administrators. For me, there was never any question about who was in charge. When in my freshman year sports became a part of my life, my coaches and teachers had a life-changing effect on me. Prior to my sophomore year, Snyder High School hired two new coaches that had actually played football at Texas Tech: Speedy Moffitt, the head coach, and Mule Kaiser, the line

coach. Both had an impact my life. Because of them, I set my goal to become a head football coach in the Southwest Conference. My teammates and the folks in Snyder must have thought, "What an absurd goal." The announcement, as I look back, was driven by my ambition and desire to emulate my high school coaches. However the announced goal motivated me to seek ways to achieve the goal.
     My teachers and coaches realizing I was serious about my goal helped me develop a philosophy and a system to achieve success on and off the field. When our dreams and goals are greater than our ability to achieve those goals, we must find within ourselves the capacity to rise above our limitations and reach the goals we set for our life.
     Coach Kaiser was a renaissance man, loved classical music, wrote poetry and was overall a brilliant man who happened to be one tough football coach. Coach Kaiser recognized my commitment and said to me, "Your mind is the key to all success, learn to control it." Because I loved him and hung on every word, that day my "personal key to success" was born, mind-control.

      For the next two years, I practiced the technique of controlling my mind. I was amazed at how it had helped me become captain of our team, student-body leader and an overall good student.
      After graduation, my problem was to find a way to play college football on scholarship in order to get an education to reach my goal of becoming a football coach. My lack of size and speed was obviously a deterrent, but I was determined to find a way. With time running out and no apparent opportunity to attend college, Coach Moffitt gave me hope. He drove me to San Angelo to "try out" for a football scholarship at San Angelo College, a Junior College coached by Max Baumgardner and Phil George.
     San Angelo College had a few scholarships left, which provided a ray of hope for me if I could excel in the try-out. For me another advantage of "controlling my mind" was developing physical and mental toughness. How could I know that those two attributes and a high pain threshold would become my ticket to an education.
     The way I earned the scholarship would not be tolerated

today, nor would it be legal under NCAA rules, but on that day, it was a God-send for me. Instead of suiting up in pads and going to a football practice field to display our skills, about 50 prospects were taken to the old gym on campus and issued a pair of boxing gloves. The instructions were simple, "Boys, we're going to play a game called 'Boxer Ball.'" There was a pause, then I heard these words, "There are no rules." We were to be judged on how we played this game with no rules. One of the other try-outs leaned over to me and said, "If you're still standing at the end of the game, you'll probably get a scholarship." That was motivation enough for me. You bet I was still standing – my goal was to get a scholarship. Being highly motivated and having an asset of physical and mental toughness, I fit the game perfectly.
     My college coaches at San Angelo College and later McMurry College in Abilene, Texas, were very influential. I took the parts of their philosophy I liked and integrated it into my own. After playing for two years at San Angelo College, the rules allowed me three years at McMurry College, where I received my undergraduate degree and was

within six hours of finishing my Master's degree. My first teaching and coaching job was at Tom S. Lubbock High School. Though I was only there for nine months, I met and married Donell Phillips, the head cheerleader at Texas Tech, and together we started our coaching journey when I was asked to return to my alma mater, McMurry College, as one of three football assistants. Finishing my Master's degree that summer opened the door for me to coach on the college level, which was my goal. Arriving back on campus, the athletic director pulled me aside and said, "Oh, by the way, you are the head track coach." I was just 23.
     Becoming the head track coach allowed me to implement the "success system" responsible for me reaching most of my personal goals. The position also allowed me, as a head coach, to implement my own recruiting philosophy. My goal was to build a great track program and we did.
     In 1960, I was also named the head football coach. I immediately applied the success system proven with a successful track team. Over the next 31 years of coaching, the system was taught to my staffs, teams, my children, and

thousands in the coaching profession, education and the corporate world.
     Having learned, applied and taught self-motivation and personal leadership, I am passionate about teachers and coaches mastering these attainable skills and techniques, then in turn teaching those they teach and coach how to be self-motivated leaders.

     The book celebrates the way football coaches learn from each other. As players, we learned from coaches who learned from their coaches and on it goes. The power of influence never ends. Players who become coaches give back to the game by teaching players and other coaches what they were taught. That is exactly what this book is all about.
     The title of Chapter One is "Consequences of a Changed Society." Through statistics and testimony, a vivid picture is painted of the American society now and the problems created by that changed society.
     The fatherless home is a major contributor to the change

in our society. I can honestly say, growing up in West Texas, that I do not remember a classmate who did not have a dad in the home. I am sure there were some, because many fathers never returned from the battlefields of World War II. The fatherless home has influenced many of our social changes and unfortunately, the fatherless home trend is not subsiding. One of the many statistics revealed in Chapter One indicates that over 21 million children in America do not have a positive male role model in the home. Without the father in the home, peer pressure becomes a dominant force in a child's life. The fatherless home can create a negative environment that causes attitudes that are lacking in respect for others, have a lack of accountability and questionable character traits. Even when there are fathers in the home, poor parenting contributes to many of today's social issues.
     At this point, let me make it abundantly clear: there are hundreds of mothers who have raised their children in a fatherless environment and have produced some of America's finest leaders, husbands and fathers. Statistically those successful moms are the exception, rather than the rule.

Many fatherless homes have been blessed to have a family friend, a relative, a teacher or a coach that has helped fill the void created by the absence of a father.
     Over time our nation ensured every child the opportunity to set goals and work hard to reach them. Every child in America is subject to three major influences in their lives - the home, the church and education.
     The home develops the character of the child, teaches values and sets guidelines that can help them succeed in life. The influence of the church relates directly to the family's attendance. The father most often sets the example and insists his family attend church. So if the father is not leading the family to church, the church's part of the child's development is limited. In America, all children are provided the opportunity for an education through high school. With the consequences of the fatherless home diminishing the role of the church, then the significance of education on the lives of America's children is magnified. Teachers, coaches and administrators are on the front lines and have an opportunity, through the power of their influence in the

classroom and on the football field, can and do make a difference. Most teachers and coaches coming out of our colleges and universities feel ill-prepared to deal with the consequences of a changed society. This book gives teachers and coaches the gift of the experience, knowledge and techniques of those who have found the solutions to today's social issues.




Go to www.AFCA.com and click on Grant Teaff's New Book for the overviews of all 12 chapters.

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