Compassionate Coaching Provides More Than Championships

Right: Coach Kane (Mount Michael Basketball history Website

Right: Coach Kane (Mount Michael Basketball history Website

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Coaches are a key part of developing ourselves. Each day we are encouraged by our coaches, who push us to our limits. They have an uncanny ability to find something wrong, and then they are able to encourage change and bring about improvement. Coaches are figures who want the best for us.  

So what defines a coach? Is it a scary figure who pushes people to the max, and seems harsh,  like Coach “Killer” Kane? Kane was the legendary coach of Mount Michael basketball and football in the 80’s, track in the 70’s and cross country in the 60’s. He is one of 10 coaches in the state of Nebraska to win more than 500 games in basketball. He also taught in the classroom and was known for his discipline and his intensity.

Coaches come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. Sometimes the coach is gentle and quiet, not stepping in until needed and giving reassuring guidance.

When the word “coach” is used, the image of an athletic coach is typically envisioned. However, take a second to look around. Everyone can be a coach in their own way. Especially teachers, siblings, and our peers. Coaching is defined by the action, not the coach. Anyone who tries to assist you is a coach.

The coaching we see is mainly about the word “help.” They prepare you for the future, help you in the present, and help you in difficult situations. All coaches have their own way of coaching. Killer Kane had a scary reputation, but there is a true story that shows who he really was. At a recent father-son banquet, a player of Coach Kane’s related this story to those in attendance.

Coach Kane asked an athlete if he was involved in doing something wrong. The athlete lied out of fear, and he later regretted his decision. The athlete could not sleep as a result of feeling guilty. The next day, even though he was scared of the consequences, he went up to coach Kane and told the truth. Instead of punishment, Kane just said something like ”I didn’t know that.” There was no punishment, just respect by Coach Kane for the fact that the student was able to go humble himself. Killer Kane had compassion. There are countless coaches in our lives, and each one wants the best for us.


Left “Killer” Kane protests an official’s call. Kane had been coaching the Knights since 1964. (Reprinted in the Wahoo Spotlight

At Mount Michael, there are good coaches, and we see them everywhere. We see it in you. Thanks to all the coaches in our lives; you make a difference and keep us going on the right path.

For example, Coach Gathje has been coaching for over 20 years. He is considered to be one of the best coaches in the state. In Cross Country, he lays out a detailed work schedule of runs, workouts, and races. He is always good about addressing injuries and helps as soon as possible. He sets up a schedule for the whole summer and always cares. I have been influenced by coaches my whole life. In Boy Scouts, my leaders have coached me to become who I am. They taught me respect, how to be trustworthy, how to lead, and much more. My family has been the best coach of all, helping shape me to know what is right, how to act, protect what I believe in, and always encouraged me to achieve success.

Coaches are the face of a team, and they are not always the reason for a team’s success or failure. We have to accept that coaches want the best for people and try their hardest. Coach Mike Riley for Nebraska has been ill received by many. People want him fired. Would you fire your coach if his team was having a bad streak? First of all, no one is perfect, you can not fire your parent if they make a mistake. Why fire someone who is trying to do the best for their team? It is not all about winning, it is about how the team is together, how there is an improvement. Nebraska is tight-knit. Look at the brotherhood in the huddle and tunnel walk. He is not tearing the team apart, he is trying to build it.


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