By Elliott Jones, USA TODAY
Special to MaxPreps.com
In the spring of 1994, Susan Myers' husband, Richard, showed her an ad for Emmitt Smith's football camp. The Dallas-area resident instantly had an idea.
"I called them up and said, 'I'm about 20 years over the age limit and the wrong sex, but I have to learn football!' " Myers said.
She was allowed to show up but could only watch from the sideline. Thirteen years later, she is the passing-game coordinator and receivers coach at Prince of Peace School in Carrollton, Texas, a first-year varsity program in the Texas Association for Private and Parochial Schools (TAPPS). Not surprisingly for a new program, the team is struggling with a winless record.
Myers' path to coaching is an unusual one, beginning on Wall Street and winding improbably into the heart of high school football, highlighted by coaching on the staff of the TAPPS 5A state champion, Dallas' Bishop Lynch High, in 2003.
The Kansas City, Mo., native worked in New York and overseas as an investment banker for 14 years. A move to Dallas introduced Myers to football, and she was hooked.
Football became Myers' vehicle to identify with her new surroundings. Before long, she was just as obsessed as the next football-crazed Texan.
"I was fascinated by it. I wanted to understand everything - why the players were doing what they were doing, what the strategies were," Myers, 55, said.
She jumped headfirst into a career in football, attending clinics and college practices. She met former NFL quarterback and current Dallas Cowboys offensive coordinator Jason Garrett at Smith's camp, and he helped establish her foundation in coaching.
"The No. 1 quality that (Myers) has is a passion for the game," Garrett said. "She's obviously a very smart woman, and she picked things up quickly. It's a testament not only to her intelligence but her desire to succeed."
She landed her first coaching job the next fall at a middle school in Carrollton. The following summer, she worked as a coach at Garrett's summer camp. By 2000, Myers was coaching at the high school level.
She also joined the male-dominated American Football Coaches Association. Spokesman Todd Bell says they have other female members, but they don't track how many.
Myers' ascent did not come easily. She has occasionally encountered a frosty reception from parents and colleagues.
"I wouldn't say there was resistance (to her coaching), it was more of a big chill. I was on one coaching staff where a fellow coach went one whole year without speaking to me," Myers said.
Though, when it comes to overcoming obstacles, none was more daunting than being diagnosed with breast cancer in 1994.
"Just like in football, I believe in an attacking defense, not just read-and-react," Myers says half-jokingly. Attack, she did, having extensive chemotherapy, radiation and a double mastectomy. Now, she is cancer-free.
All the while, she drew strength from applying the lessons acquired from football to battling her illness. "Football taught me that all the things that I would tell my players . I learned to really do those things," Myers said.
Now the wife, mother, cancer survivor and football coach can add the title of author. Earlier this year, she published The Complete Handbook of Coaching Wide Receivers under the pen name S. Chuck Myers, adapted from a childhood nickname.