First, let me say this is NOT what I envisioned when I said I’d have a blog for my website. I definitely thought I’d have a lot more info on Bracket coverages, and way less of this type of stuff, but alas...
I want to begin by thanking everyone for all the love and support over the past six months and beyond (and for the birthday wishes today). You have been with me every step of the way - from my mom’s diagnosis to her death, from the first podcast episode (RIP Deep Dive) to the last episode, for every webinar, CoachTube video, or dumb tweet. Your support for all of these things has inspired me in the best of times and provided comfort in the worst of times.
I have decided to move back to Orlando and take over my Mom’s home, the one I was raised in since birth and that I return every summer and Christmas. I will leave coaching indefinitely to put the pieces of my life back together. The freedom from a “traditional” coaching schedule will allow me the time and flexibility to clean, repair, and make it my own, as well as put all of her and my affairs into order. In addition, this will allow me to tend to my physical and mental health, which I have neglected since I’ve gotten into the year-around roller coaster of coaching, back at the University of Miami in 2006. Effective immediately, I am taking a leap of faith and will begin to continue to build and expand my business, making it my sole means of employment and source of income with a five-pronged approach:
My mom’s cancer diagnosis in August started to put everything into a different perspective and put my path forward at a crossroads. I never wanted to come back to Florida on a permanent basis, but as her condition worsened, I started making contingency plans to be able to be here with her and still be involved in the game, so I could take care of her. What started out as ideas to survive and care for her as a necessity, became options that I really started to get enthusiastic about. This all changed on December 17th, 2019. Even though 14 days prior they told her things were looking up - they were encouraged because her tumor and lymph nodes were shrinking, but she had a stroke and the tumor ruptured. Her cancer had spread everywhere and we were out of options. We lobbed a few Hail Marys and took our best shot, but life batted them down and she passed on Christmas morning.
Her passing meant I had a choice: Sell my childhood home for peanuts due to the fact that it was in such bad shape from decades of hoarding and neglect without any real-time to salvage much of my belongings and memories, or come “home,” consolidate my resources, and start my life over where my heart has always belonged. I didn’t have the money to support two households, and even if I could make it to the summer, the demands of coaching during spring, early and late summer meant I’d only have six weeks to fix it up to sell - something that will take much longer to do. As I weighed my options, those “contingency” plans I’d hatched to be able to stay here while caring for my mom made more and more sense..
After many conversations with family, friends, confidants, fellow coaches, and random strangers, the choice was clear: Come home to Orlando, take over the household, put my life back together and frankly, fight and defeat the demons that plagued my mom, her parents, and elders, and have started to creep into my own life (that’s a whole ‘nother blog post for another time). I love football more than is healthy for any human being, but the demands and interest in coaching a single team with a traditional schedule was not an option. To be candid, years of being a part of message boards, coaching group chats, “coaching Twitter,” Glazier webinars, in-person clinics, and now my true love, podcasting, I realized that I actually enjoyed the relationships with coaches as much or more than I did with my players. Plus, coaches never graduate…
A pivotal moment for me was back in November after our first-round playoff win. I was walking off the field, relieved we’d won, but already on to the next as BB would say. I went to grab my stuff and looked at my phone to see a tweet from a coach who I hadn’t interacted with much, but what he said next floored me. Whether it’s true or not, he credited me and the podcast with playing a huge role in his school’s first playoff win in school history. In that moment, I was THRILLED - I couldn’t stop beaming that I’d helped another coach and I was much more excited about that than even my own team. I remembered this often as I made my decision - that feeling of helping others and the gratification that came with the reach that the podcast had. I could help 60 of my kids, or I could help thousands of coaches reach their kids, and have a much bigger impact. Sure, I love the deep connection you build when coaching a team, but I started thinking about when I have the most fun and it’s learning from other coaches and passing that knowledge on.
With my current life situation and where my heart is, I decided to take a leap of faith and truly do what I love the most - working with you. I want to give back to the game by helping to educate and entertain coaches all over the world. I have no idea if this is going to work and frankly, part of me is terrified. But I got tired of betting on everything else - how a season would go, whether a certain administrator would like me if we had enough talent this year, would some chaos or outside influence beyond the game distract me. I want to bet on myself and make this happen. I’ve realized I have a passion for helping coaches and I am willing to bet everything (literally) on myself and on your thirst for knowledge.
While you are coaching your teams, I can spend time doing the things I wasn’t able to do when I was coaching - researching, watching film, studying trends, and be a fountain of knowledge while you’re still in-season and can use the information, instead of waiting until next season to use it. I can be free to help answer questions quicker, watch your film, watch clips of opponents for tips or ideas or just to complain about the next communist offensive trend coming up to ruin our weekends! I will have the ability to make the podcast even better because I can put my full attention on it. Lastly, I want to revolutionize the type and quality of information available to you digitally. I want to produce content myself and help others do the same. I know so many amazing coaches, with cutting edge ideas, that don’t have the time due to the demands of their jobs (I am looking at you college and NFL friends). I want to help produce the content that I am able to consume because I have the freedom to travel even before this lifestyle shift (single with no kids will give that to you).
I am excited to see where this journey leads. I hope that I am able to assist you in some small way. If you like what the content I am providing and you want to help me on my new journey, continue to enjoy it and spread the word! If you are interested in 1-on-1 Skype sessions, hit me up on the @MDGAPodcast Twitter account. I am doing 1, 5, and 10-hour session packages to start, but I am flexible with that. I will be taking on additional clients in-season and I am giving my old stomping grounds first rights of refusal relative to long-term positions, but if you are interested in working on some individual sessions in-season or if you’re interested about having me as an extra member on your staff via satellite, let me know. We can get into that more as the season gets closer!
In closing, I want to end how I began - I truly thank you from the bottom of my heart for all the support. It means more to me than you’ll ever know, and I remind myself daily to make sure that I try to convey the gratitude I have for everyone that has supported me in any way. Please keep in mind that if you ever need anything, please do not hesitate to reach out to me. I am going to need prayers and/or positive vibes for the foreseeable future, and I welcome them with open arms.
P.S. Always remember the Quarterback can’t see with tears in his eyes...