On Friday, Jan. 6, I attended the National Football Foundation’s Champion’s Luncheon. I am a member of this organization, and now that I’m retired from coaching football, I have become more active in it. For years I have had the opportunity to attend the Champions Luncheon and the Scholar Athlete Banquet as a coach accompanied by some of my athletes.
At this year’s luncheon I had the honor of presenting the Earl “Tiny” Putman Award for coaching. The award was presented to Notre Dame Prep’s Coach Scot Bemis. Because Coach Bemis is battling cancer and could not attend, Coach Gary Gregory, his Defensive Coordinator and friend, accepted the award on his behalf.
I have known Scot since his sophomore year at Mesa Community College, my first year coaching there.
I have known Coach Putman since I was in high school. Coach Putman was the first coach at Moon Valley High School, while I was attending St. Mary’s.
Both of these men have been successful as coaches, both of them have won State Championships; more importantly, they both “got it”.
What do I mean by “got it”, they understood that football is a people business, it is more important than X’s & O’s, more important than schemes. They realized that IT is relationships – the cultivation of dependable, honorable, and loyal relationships – relationships between players and coaches, coaches and coaches, coaches and parents, coaches and communities.
It was sincerely and movingly evident that Coach Bemis has accomplished this sometimes elusive and overlooked endeavor – there were 100 people in attendance from Notre Dame Prep. Players, coaches, parents, and staff all came to honor the man that they call “Coach”.
Never have there been 100 people from one school at the luncheon or the scholar banquet. Obviously something special has happened at NDP this year. This is a credit to all of the N.D.P. community. Maybe, just maybe, there is more to this game than the score on the scoreboard at the end of 48 minutes.
Maybe the real score comes when we’ve finish playing this game we call life. If so, I want to be on Coach Bemis’s team.
For more information on Team Bemis visit http://www.teambemis.com/.