Can great coaches be great parents?


            Let’s be real, most college football coaches have to be a little weird.


            I mean, how else do they get the job done? They obsess. They over-prepare and over-analyze.

            But coaches don’t believe there’s such thing as over anything, except maybe oversleeping.

Bronco Mendenhall, Kyle Whittingham, Matt Wells -- the family guys.

Bronco Mendenhall, Kyle Whittingham, Matt Wells — the family guys.


            So last week, I asked first-year USU coach Matt Wells if a Division I coach can really be, you know, normal. Have normal priorities.


            This is what he said:“Most coaches, me included, have hard time taking vacation, and having cell phone not working, or your mind not still running at 100 mph. I need do a better job of that and a better job when I’m around my kids.

            “That said, I truly believe I’ve been around two mid-major programs that were able to flip the culture, flip the outcome on field, and to have done it in a way that allows coaches to be great husbands and great fathers if they so choose. That was at Tulsa with Steve Kragthorpe and (at USU) with coach (Gary) Andersen.”


            When reminded Andersen once passed out from overstress and under-eating, Wells laughed, “I don’t eat very good either,” but claimed both coaches had a formula for priorities.


             “I learned under [Kragthorpe] and Gary that you can still be a good dad and husband but still grind hard and win ballgames. I tell coaches we’re not going to burn the candle at both ends. We can come in early but when we get our stuff done, we’re leaving. When we’re in the office, we’re going to go  at it hard, we’re going to coach hard, and we’re going to go home hard. When you go home, you go home. I think you need to rest, rejuvenate, re-energize. A tired staff is a tired team.”


            He continued, “I will not, nor do I want my assistants to lose their family or to lose their sense of being great father and husband for the sake of football, I truly believe you can be good dad and good husband and win games.”


            Considering the stakes, do you believe him?

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