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Mentors? Yeah!

Listen To The Podcast!     Coach L. Albaugh      DBLITY

Whether you are just beginning your coaching career as an assistant, taking your first head coaching job, or are a veteran coach, there is always more to learn and ways to improve. We here at Chiefpigskin will always be available to mentor you as needed. Take advantage of all our resources. I’ve had many mentors in my career and have learned all I know from other coaches and mentors.

Now remember, the last few weeks I’ve discussed the idea of teaching a college class to future football coaches. Guys that think they just might be interested in getting into the football coaching business. So, this mentoring stuff would be one of my early topics to discuss. First of all, what is a mentor? Webster’s dictionary defines a mentor as, “a person looked upon for wise advice and guidance.” Most coaches already have someone that they consider a trusted mentor and some may have two or three mentors. In fact, that’s just your your football mentor. You might also have a spiritual mentor (which is a pretty good idea), or a mentor on how to be a good man, father, husband…etc. With more than 40 years of experience coaching football – as well as other sports – Chiefpigskin can serve as a mentor to you in some way. I’ve heard it said that everyone should have someone they regard as a mentor and someone they are mentoring. So as you explore this option consider mentoring someone with less experience than yourself. If you’re a head coach, the ideal candidates are your assistant coaches.

I would also let my class know from the beginning that developing and maintaing a football program requires charting the best possible route with a clear destination in mind, then constantly striving to find the best way to achieve it. The head coach must have that clear vision in mind with the program goals at the forefront. Sticking to your plan and adhering to the basics are important, but remember to build enough flexibility to make necessary adjustments, and there are always adjustments to be made. It’s more than Xs and Os.

Ever notice how sports shows like ESPN or FOX sports love to try and rank players for all time greatest lists? They do it cause it’s fun. We sports fans love to haggle about who were some of the greatest no matter the sport. Even golf – Jack or Tiger? Tennis – Federer or Nadal or Laver? Football’s no different. They LOVE to compare pro QBs. But you just can’t do it with numbers. Teams throw the football so much more than they did 20, 30, 40 years ago. The passing stats are so gaudy now cause they’re throwing 30-40 times a game now compared to 20. Not only that, but the schedule is 16 compared to 14 years ago and only 12 games a year in the 50s and 60s. The numbers are skewed now so you can’t just go by numbers which is the easiest way to compare. For example, baseball is easy and pretty darn accurate when you compare all time greatest players. Players averaged 4 times at bat per game from the 1880s to now. It’s not like back in 1926 Babe Ruth got 4 times at bat per game but now Mike Trout gets 15 bats per game. Nope, the attempts per game are the same. And while the players from the old days played a 156 game schedule it’s still only 162 games today. That’s a slight increase. So yeah, baseball is apples to apples. Football more like appples to oranges. Drew Brees is great, but can you say he’s better than Unitas or Marino because he’s thrown for so many more yards? Maybe, maybe not. It’s more opinion. So who IS the greatest pro QB of all time? Brady? Brees? Manning? Montana? Elway? Favre? Staubach? Rodgers? Otto Graham? Slingin Sammy Baugh?…My gosh, this list can go for awhile. And I’ve left some off like Steve Young, Terry Bradshaw, Bart Starr, and many, many, more. So here I go with my opinion. The eyeball test – forget numbers. And I could change my mind next weak. But today – I’m going with …John Elway. Throwin, runnin, cannon arm, clutch play…yeah, ELWAY. Am I sure? No. But I’m sayin that today.

Congrats to North Centrall College and Coach Jeff Thorne from Naperville, IL on winning the D3 football championship. They knocked off Mt. Union in the round of 16 then went on to win it all. Their only loss came to conference rival Wheaton College, just down the road in Wheaton, Il. Wheaton lost by 1 in the quarterfinals. D3 football is really fun – they play good football. They run 4.5s and 4.6s instead of 4.3s and 4.4s like D1 football. That’s the main difference. When we talk about great coaches we always think of high profile guys like Nick Saban, Urban Meyer, Dabo Sweeney, Bill Belicik…but D3 is full of outstanding coaches that don’t get the publicity. Heck, some of ’em might be better – we don’t know. One of the notables just retired after 24 years as a head coach at Wheaton College. Mike Swider. My son played for Swider for a year at Wheaton, so I know him a little bit. In 24 seasons as Wheaton’s head coach, Swider earned 209 career wins, a mark that ranks 14th among active NCAA head football coaches at any level. He has a career winning percentage of 80.1% with a 209-52 record as head coach. He is ninth among active Division III head football coaches in winning percentage and 13th  all time in Division III in winning percentage. Swider guided Wheaton to nine CCIW Championships, a mark that is tied for-second most in conference history. He was selected as the CCIW “Coach of the Year” seven times, the second highest total for one head coach in conference history. This past season he guided Wheaton to the CCIW Championship with a perfect 9-0 record and 10-0 overall. Wheaton appeared in the NCAA Division III Playoffs 10 times in Swider’s 24 seasons as head coach. The program accumulated a 15-10 postseason record in that time, with one Semifinal appearance (2008) and four Quarterfinal games (2003, 2008, 20016 and 2019). He guided Wheaton to a pair of 12-win seasons (2003 and 2019) establishing school single-season records for victories in both of those campaigns. Congrats to Coach on a heckuva career and best wishes in retirement.

One more thing…the D1 football playoffs are just around the corner. Should be fun. I’m picking…LSU by 10 and Ohio st. by 1! Having said that, Clemson could win it all again! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Hey join us next week…

The more you sweat in peace, the less you bleed in war. G. Patton

Sweet 16 Countdown: 51. Alaska -9.2   50. Vermont -1.7   49. North Dakota 3.3   48. Wyoming 5.2  47. Rhode Island 8.4   46. District of Columbia 8.4   45. Delaware 14.7   44. South Dakota 15.3   43. New Hampshire 16.7   42. Montana 19.2  41. Maine 19.5   40. New Mexico 20.5  39. Oregon 24.2  38. West Virginia 26.3  37. Nevada 31.2  36. Idaho 32.2  35. Nebraska 32.6  34. New York 33.0  33. Iowa 34.4  32. Minnesota 35.9   31. Kentucky 36.3   30. Hawaii 36.5  29. Connecticut 37.3  28. Massachusetts 38.3 27. Wisconsin 39.9  26. Virginia 40.8  25. Oklahoma 41.5  24. Michigan 41.53 23. Kansas 41.8 22. Tennessee 41.9  21. Washington 42.6 20. Indiana 43.9 19. Colorado 44.4  18. South Carolina 44.61  17. New Jersey 44.63  16. Arkansa 45.0 15. Arizona 45.2 14. Mississippi 45.6 13. Alabama 45.8  12. Utah 46.0  11. North Carolina 46.7  10. Missouri 49.0  9. Pennsylvania 49.9  8. Illinois 50.3  7. Louisiana 51.9  6. Maryland 52.8  5. Georgia 57.2  4. Texas 60.8 3. Ohio 61.0  2. Florida 62.5  1. California 69.4

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Coach Albaugh coached high school football in Illinois for 28 years. During that time he coached at every level and on both sides of the ball. He was the offensive and defensive line coach for four undefeated teams and was a defensive coordinator in his last 11 years, twice reaching the semi finals of the Illinois state playoffs.