A coach has the incredible power and privilege of shaping and mentoring young people to develop, mature and grow in all areas of their life. They are not only fine-tuning skills and training athletes to excel, but they are investing in shaping character and lifelong skills that can be applied in all areas of life.
For our men’s issue, I want to honor a man who has been an outstanding male role model and has made an immeasurable impact on my oldest son’s life as well as countless other teenagers throughout his years of coaching. My son, Clayton, has so many great men in his life including his incredible dad, grandfathers and uncles, so he has had no shortage of positive male role models, but there is something unique about a mentor outside of the family that invests in your kids and calls out greatness in them, expecting and challenging them to rise to the occasion. Finding someone who looks at your child with intentionality and the will to encourage them to reach their personal best is invaluable and is something that I have seen on a regular basis this year with his cross-country and distance track coach, Glenn Daniels.
It is evident that coach Daniels knows what is important in life because above all else, he cares most about the well-being of his “distance family” as he calls them and treats them as such—a family. He lets them know his door is always open to them no matter what, which is evident, as most lunch periods his boys can be seen eating lunch in his room. By example, he teaches these boys how to show respect to everyone, calls out greatness in them, and, at the same time, shows compassion and care for them. He teaches them to strive for goals, both short-term and long-term, so that they can reach and experience those small successes but also have something to strive for.
I have watched my freshman change so much over the course of this year due to the constant influence of this man, and from being part of a team that has such a healthy, encouraging and supportive environment in which he felt welcomed and called upon to be more than he was when he began. The drive to be a better runner of course, but also a better person, striving to do his best in all areas of his life came out of being under coach Daniel’s leadership. There is no one that motivates my son quite like coach Daniels. It is extremely evident that he looks up to him immensely, and wants to do well for him because he knows his coach believes in him.
To all the men out there who are making a difference in someone’s life, no matter how big or small you think it is, keep it up. You are making a lasting impact that you may never fully know, but it is well worth it.