Coach T Coaches Character
On January 8, 2018, many of us experienced a CLASSIC College Football Championship game, watching Georgia play Alabama. There were several moments that made us scream and cheer, but I would like to highlight something that stood out loud and clear to me. A 19-year-old freshman quarterback named Tua Tagovailoa had just completed one of the most unforgettable performances in college football history. A kid who hadn’t played much throughout the season showed up in the second half and led the Tide to their sixth championship. He became a legend in a matter of minutes – an overnight celebrity. This was his time to shine and soak up all of the adoration our great country offers to a hero. However, this “new generation” kid took this moment to shake the world with faith and positivity. During his sideline interview he said, “First and foremost, I’d just like to thank my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. With him, all things are possible. That’s what happened tonight…all glory goes to God….I can’t describe what He’s done for me and my family. Who would have ever thought I would have been here, right now in this moment. So, you know, thank God for that, and I’d just like to thank my teammates and coach Saban for giving me the opportunity.”
What MAtters here
In a world where parents fear a lot of what our kids are exposed to, there stood a teenager exhibiting the finest, most humble, servant character at the highest level. He expressed his faith and thankfulness to his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. The beautiful thing about his response is that it is “learned behavior.” At some point in his life, someone must have shown him the importance of character, ethical decision making, and leadership. Somebody caught his attention and influenced him to view this crazy world through a lens that is different from the average 2018 teenager.
That being said, we have a tremendous opportunity at Mount Vernon School to mentor, teach and coach our youth on being different for the right reasons. How might we teach our students to be “Mavericks” in this new-age world? How do we teach them to step up and stand out? I have found that the best formula to achieve this, is transparency, brutal honesty, getting real.
My memories from middle school and high school (in the early 2000s) have influenced the approach I take with my beloved students. Over the past three years, I have shared stories about my past: the mistakes I made, the lessons I learned, and the people I met along the way. This transparency has provided an environment that enables the development of authentic relationships. These relationships have allowed me to reach some students on a level that I hope one day will influence them to make wise choices, lead courageously, and live unashamed for the right reasons.
Men of Valor
Our Mount Vernon Boys basketball program has been labeled this year as Men of Valor (MOV). Our coaching staff takes pride in this name because we feel it is absolutely imperative that our young men are taught to exhibit quality characteristics. As a program, we focus on principles which we hope will equip them to be leaders of their households, companies, and social circles. We focus on four ideals: Accept Responsibility. Reject Passivity. Lead Courageously. Expect GOD’s greater reward. Again, being transparent allowed me to instill these ideals because I learned the same ideals in 2012 when I was striving to be a better man of God. I shared my stories of young adult manhood with my young men, and it has allowed us to blur the lines and close the gap. It is not just relationships between players and coach; it is more so brothers in Christ. We grow and learn together. Mount Vernon’s leadership is to thank, because they have fostered an environment that allows me to dig deeper in our youth as they navigate these confusing, awkward, but extremely meaningful and formidable teenage years. I am so very humbled to work with such great kids and amazing people. I know that there are several Mustangs who will shake he world in a gentle way, with faith and positivity just like Tua Tagovailoa.
Listen on MVstories
With a new semester underway–Mount Vernon’s Upper School’s Varsity Basketball program is full force. This year the School welcomed new Head coaches to both the boys and girls varsity teams. In this episode of MV Stories, we sit down with Head Coach Tarrik Mabon (otherwise known as Coach T), Head Coach Rita Williams, and five varsity players. The group talks about how the season is going so far, what the teams are focusing on, and how our fans can get involved.