Video: Inspirational Minnesota place holder
See a kick holder from Minnesota who has overcome incredible odds.
If you are on Facebook, you should check out the MaxPreps Football Coaches Group
. It is a great group to be a part of. There is some great discussion between coaches, guys looking for advice, guys sharing ideas, etc.
I met Brian Sampsel in this group. He coaches at Northwestern High School West Salem, Ohio. We were sharing some ideas about special teams, as we both have a passion for this part of the game. He made a comment about coaching in one place for a very long time, so I asked him how long. Coach Sampsel has been at his for 21 years! One coach, at one high school for so long is most definitely a dying breed. So, I wanted to ask him about his longevity.
1. Can you walk us through the coaching stops that you've had, and how you got hired at Northwestern (West Salem, Ohio)?
Actually, I was a volunteer youth football coach for 10 years before being initially hired as a freshmen coach here at Northwestern. We ended up not having enough on the freshmen team so the head coach at the time just had me on the varsity staff. I don't work on campus. I work outside of the school system as a quality control inspector and before that I ran a pizza shop2. What do you like about being in one place for so long?
I like the familiarity of the things. I consider myself a loyal guy and I am loyal to these kids. I love these guys and that is why I enjoy being here so long. I have gotten to know so many awesome people. This is my second head coach that I've worked for, and I told him that he may be the last one I break in. Also, I have been through at least 10 athletic directors, four principals and three superintendents.3. It is very rare for a coach to be somewhere for 21 years in today's age. What are three or four key reasons that you have lasted so long in one place?
I would say that probably the biggest reason is luck and belief. When the head coach who hired me was let go, the incoming coach was told to purge the staff. At the time, we were in the midst of Ohio's longest losing streak. It was at 31 games lost in a row. He took a chance on me and 17 years later we are still going strong!
Another reason, as I said earlier, is that I love the kids. I have told my head coach and many others that I am not here for him, or the school or anyone else but these kids. To me they mean so much more than X's and O's. I look forward to every practice, getting to interact with these guys.
There is also passion for the game. I believe people need to be a part of something bigger than them, and give back wherever they can. In my way, it is football. I was a part of the longest losing streak in the state. Luckily someone else now has that record!
We went from cellar dwellers to winning our first league title in 30-plus years and have made five playoff trips since the turnaround. I am so glad I was part of that. 4. What's your best advice for someone who wants to coach 20-plus years in one community?
You need a thick skin! You will always have your critics where you are. And being some place so long you will hear it more often than not. Make sure your passion and love for what you do is louder to your ears than the words from the peanut gallery.5. Is there any downside to being somewhere so long?
For me, no. I love it here. I love the kids. I love the community. I love the school.
Though maybe you could ask my wife of 32 years. Sometimes I know too many people and her skin isn't as thick as mine when it comes to the peanut gallery, though she has only missed one game in the 21 years. The fact is she loves it as well as I do.
Chris Fore is a veteran Head Football Coach and Athletic Director from Southern California. He consults coaches and programs nationwide through his business Eight Laces Consulting.