- Publisher Coach Mike Gottfried's professional life took him from college football coach to TV sports analyst. As you read stories of great moments in football, you'll feel like you're in the press box with Coach. Coach's desires to also score big in his personal life led him to found an organization to help fatherless boys. He encourages you to leave a legacy worthy of scoring those extra points in life.
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About "Coach's Challenge"
What Are You Doing Here? My heart thumped from excitement and anticipation as I walked into the White House. I could hardly believe it! Here I was, entering the home of the president of the United States of America. The arrangements had all been made, the time for our official appointment had come. It was truly amazing. So, of course, at precisely that moment, the loud opening fanfare for ESPN sports came jangling from my pocket -- the ringtone for my cell phone. I felt a little embarrassed that I hadn't turned the thing off, but I hardly ever do. I stopped our little procession of guests, took out the phone, and looked at the screen to check the caller ID. If it had been from anyone else -- an NCAA coach, a ballplayer, someone from ESPN -- I would have flipped the off switch and not taken the call. Whoever it was could wait and call me later. But it was from one of my boys, Andy. I looked at the guard at the gate, turned around to my entourage, and said, "Hold on just a minute. I've gotta take this call." And White House security personnel and the people with me waited while I talked to Andy. "Hey, Andy. How are you doing?" "Coach! Where you at?" My boys always ask me that question, because I could be anywhere. They like the idea that they can call me anywhere, whether I'm in some big city or in a small town of some state they've never visited. In my work as an ESPN college football commentator, I cover eighteen games a season, so I travel a lot. "I'm getting ready to walk into the White House," I said. "No. You're kidding me! Where you at, really?" I had a hard time convincing Andy of the truth. "I'm at the White House," I insisted. "I'm gonna talk to Laura Bush's people." "Really? Laura Bush? You really there?" He still sounded skeptical. "That's right. I'm right here at the gate, ready to go in." "What are you doing there?" His question caught me up short. Without knowing it, Andy had asked me exactly the right question. What am I doing here? I began thinking. How did I end up at the White House with an invitation to speak with staffers for Laura Bush? How did all of this happen? One thing was for sure: I wasn't there because of sports. I love sports -- I always have -- and I've been both a player and a coach. I get to talk about college football on ESPN every Saturday during the season, and I make good money for doing so. You could say I live sports. But that's not what drives me. It's not my passion -- at least, not anymore. I had not come to the White House because of my connection to sports. I was there for the boys. Through my work with Team Focus, I take personal responsibility for more than six hundred boys who share one thing in common: they lack a functional father. I know them all by name and they know me. They live all over the country, from Washington, D.C., to Los Angeles, from Detroit to Mobile. They all have my cell phone number and my toll-free office number, and they all know they can call me, any time of the day or night, and I'll be there. I will answer. Today I got eleven calls, all of them from boys ranging in age from ten to seventeen. Eleven calls is about average for me in one day. I always take their calls, because if they had dads, their dads would answer. But since they don't, I answer. Visualize with me for a moment. Take a picture of your family, an old-fashioned family portrait. You have your grandmother, looking a little serious. Your grandfather is there, with that stiff, little smile of his. Your mom is standing in front of you because just last year you got an inch of height on her. Your brothers and sisters are there, some down in front, some behind you. And your father is in there, standing just to your left. He has his big, firm hand on your shoulder and a big smile on his face, brimming with satisfied, wholesome pride. As you visualize that famil
Coach Mike Gottfried's professional life took him from college football coach to TV sports analyst. As you read stories of great moments in football, you'll feel like you're in the press box with Coach. Coach's desires to also score big in his personal life led him to found an organization to help fatherless boys. He encourages you to leave a legacy worthy of scoring those extra points in life.
Meet the Author
Mike Gottfried is an ESPN college football analyst for"Saturday Primetime". Gottfried began his sports career as a high school football coach in his early twenties, then eventually moved to the college level where he served as head coach for twelve seasons with Murray State, Cincinnati, Kansas, and Pittsburgh. In 1990, Gottfried left the sidelines with a winning record to take up his new career with ESPN.ýBut Gottfried's story is not only about football -- it's also about filling the "father gap" for fatherless boys. When he and his two brothers lost their father in 1957, Gottfried longed fo