Mike Sherman: When winning isn't the only thing in coaching
(Mike Sherman photos courtesy of Boston Herald)
Talk of Fame Network
Nobody said it would be easy. And you know something? It wasn’t.
Not for former Green Bay and Texas A&M coach Mike Sherman, it wasn’t. After coaching in the NFL and major-college football, Sherman returned to high-school coaching last season for the first time in 39 years – taking over the Nauset Regional High School team in Cape Cod, Mass.
He wasn’t successful. In fact, he won just one of 11 games. But success isn’t always measured in wins and losses – not at the high-school level it's not. And Sherman rediscovered that last season.
"I knew when we started the season it was going to be a rough season," he said on the latest Talk of Fame Network broadcast, "just because we didn’t have the numbers, and we didn’t have the size we needed. But we had a lot of good, tough, tough kids who would give it everything they had. So they had to get something out of it."
And what they got was a lesson in living.
"Winning is winning, " said Sherman. "Winning is fun. Being in that winning locker room … there's nothing like that. That’s always been a motivation of mine. I always want to be in the winning locker room because that’s a great time when you connect with ...and build ... relationships with people. But halfway through the season I realized that was not going to be something we were going to be able to enjoy on a weekly basis. (So) I said, 'These kids better get something more out of this than just losing a football game.'
"We did a lot with character development at the beginning of the season, and through the course of the year tried to explain to the kids the adversity that they're facing … the tough times that they're facing … they're going to pass. We just hang together and fight through this and you become better men because of it ... and (because of) how we handle he adversity. So I think there were a lot of lessons to be learned.
"A lot of times your players are like your own kids. They look at you (to see): How do you respond to it? How are you handling it? And they kind of follow suit to how you react. So I think character development at all times should be high at the high-school level where you're really teaching these kids loyalty, trust, respect, discipline, integrity, honesty, accountability – all the things that you want in a football team and you work toward, whether you win or lose."