PROVO — This coaching business is brutal.
As we head into the week of conference championships, College Football Playoffs' meaningful rankings and filing ballots for the Heisman Trophy, we are witnessing coach hiring circus acts unlike we have ever seen.
Tennessee is now courting the ever-affable Mike Leach from Washington State. The Vols made a hire, then un-hired the guy. Tennessee has searched for others, has conducted a multitude of interviews, gone through half a dozen prized pecking order candidate lists, and now there are allegations that all of the criticism is internal sabotage.
Former Tennessee coach Lane Kiffin has been making fun of every move in hilarious fashion on social media. It is warfare, a clash of egos and intrigue. You can’t make this stuff up.
This is Southeastern Conference soap opera at its best. And it is now a joke.
It’s actually kind of sad because when you really get down to it, coaching may be a job of high egos and a lot of money these days, but some of the best work in teaching young men is done by those in this profession, men who push others to the limits of their physical, emotional and spiritual abilities every week.
This is why the message of former BYU and NFL cornerback Derwin Gray, an evangelical preacher in the Deep South, has drawn viral attention on the internet.
Gray was recruited out of Texas by BYU linebacker coach Claude Bassett in the early '90s. At a coaches clinic, he wore his BYU gear and delivered a stirring message to those in the profession.
Gray was reminding coaches why what they do is so special and an art form that should not be taken lightly.
“One of the aspects of being a leader is this, and this is one of the things you’ve been tasked with,” proclaimed Gray. “As a leader you will see in kids what they don’t see in themselves.
“If somebody would have told me when I was a sophomore at 5 foot 8, 145 pounds, 5.42 forty, that one day you would be inducted into the Judson High School Independent Hall of Fame, that you’d be a BYU legend, that you would be a team captain in the NFL, that you would do the things you’ve done at 15 years old, I would have never have believed it.”
In a rising, quivering voice of a well-seasoned preacher, fully comfortable standing in front of congregations and speaking with power and emotion, he focused his spiritual mojo and brought it to a crescendo.
“What you have the privilege to do, and I hope you hear me ... What you have the privilege to do is to speak into a young person’s life and call out their destiny. You have that power in your hands to really reach into their souls and pull out what they can become.
“That is greater than any championship trophy. The greatest championship trophy you can ever have is to pull out of somebody what they were meant to be, that when you wake up, your why has to be bigger than a paycheck. Your why has to be bigger than wins and losses, it has to be the person, that all around you are walking treasures and the ones who are messed up the most may just have the deepest treasure inside.”
This week’s picks:
USC 34, Stanford 31: Trojans have more talent.
Memphis 42, Central Florida 41: Two prolific offenses clash.
Auburn 31, Georgia 28: Letdown after Alabama win? Nope.
Wisconsin 28, Ohio State 24: Badgers may the best in the land.
Oklahoma 36, TCU 34: Sooners too explosive for Frogs.
Boise State 27, Fresno State 24: ‘Dogs remarkable turnaround, but Broncos better.
Last week 12-1, Overall 112-47.