Tony DeMeo

TD Philosophy of Coaching

Aristotle said “The purpose of education is to pass on values”, football is one of the best vehicles I know to pass on values. A good football program at any level is built and based on fundamental values. The Four Pillars are: Character, Courage, Class and Integrity.

Integrity is the price you put on yourself – it’s what you stand for. Integrity is keeping your word even when it’s inconvenient. A person with integrity is someone you can trust and trust is the foundation of any relationship.
Class is the hardest to define but the easiest to see. Class is civility; it’s grace under pressure, it’s taking the high road. In a society where self-aggrandizing is an art form someone with class is easily recognized. Anyone who has seen Michael Jordan play hoops, Derek Jeter at shortstop, or Joe Montana under center knows what class is. These players stand out by their performance playing the game and not playing a character.

Character is what you do when no one is looking. Character is what you do in the dark. Character is what you do when you know you can’t get caught. Abraham Lincoln said “Character was above intellect.” How important is character? Ask Bernie Madoff’s clients or the stockholders of Enron. Character counts.

Courage is the foundation of all the other values for with courage you have nothing. Vince Lombardi said;”Everyone gets knocked down but champions get back up.” It takes courage to get back up. It takes courage to feel fear and go forward anyway. It takes courage to give everything you have and lay it all on the line when you know the odds are against you. It took courage for Michael Jordan to continue to pursue his basketball dream after being cut from his high school team. It took courage for Spud Webb to play in the NBA at 5’7’’ defying “the experts”. It takes courage to risk it all, to push yourself out of your comfort zone, to stretch yourself to become all you can be. It takes courage to face your “Darth Vader”.

These are the values that form the core we that build our football program. But there are other values that football teaches. Football is the greatest teacher of the values of discipline, teamwork, and work ethic. Football is a sport that if you have a great work ethic you can develop the talent to maximize your potential. Walter Payton, Jerry Rice, and Terry Bradshaw are all in the NFL Hall of Fame and arguably the best ever at their position yet none of them played at a Division I school. Tom Brady led the New England Patriots to 3 Super Bowl Championships yet he split time at QB at Michigan. Kurt Warner didn’t start at Division IAA Northern Iowa but led the St. Louis Rams to the Super Bowl Championship. Barry Sanders received only one scholarship offer but became one of the most exciting runners in NFL history. The list goes on and on.

The job of a football coach is to maximize the potential of every student athlete and teach the values that will be the path to excellence regardless of the endeavor. Excellence knows no bounds; the same values that pave the way to football fortune will pave the way to excellence in the classroom, the community, in business and in life. Wins and losses will fade away but the values you’ve taught are forever.