Write Again … He’s earned the name ‘Coach’

Published 5:59 pm Monday, September 3, 2012

Through the many years of being a high school coach, and being aware of many other coaches, I recognized the sterling opportunities that were before us.
If being a coach, at just about every level, from little league through the college ranks, offers a special opportunity to be a positive influence upon the lives of those in their charge — and I truly believe it does — it should be viewed as a special privilege.
Indeed it should. Almost all athletes want to think of his or her coach, or coaches, as a special part of their lives. As a genuine role model. As an example of a fair, if firm, someone to emulate. As someone to respect. As someone, in some instances, that is almost a surrogate parent.
Such expectations are set high. Really high.
My old and dear friend Harold Robinson is surely a coach who exemplifies those special traits and characteristics we want in a coach; for ourselves and for our children.
Harold and I talk frequently of how important a coach can be in the lives of young people. Most others in non-athletic capacities in schools and colleges do not have such a special opportunity. This sentiment in no way is meant to diminish the importance of just about everyone else who is in the school or recreation fields. Not at all.
It’s just that coaches are in an almost unique position to have a significant influence, in ways far beyond the realm of athletics.
Not all coaches avail themselves of such an opportunity. Not all coaches are positive role models. I would like to think most are. I would like to think that.
Harold Robinson was and is that. It’s who he is.
His record as a football coach in Williamston ranks him among the most successful coaches ever in North Carolina history. That is not opinion. It is fact.
Even now, after such success in the high school ranks, Harold is a valued member of the ECU football coaching staff.
To him — and to me — being called “Coach” has a very, very special significance. Even though I am long removed from my many years in the coaching ranks, I am still quite “touched” when one of my former athletes calls me “Coach.”
Even though every coach strives to be a winner, and to teach his or her athletes how to win, to be a winner, the truly good coach knows or comes to know that wins and losses are just a part of their obligation.
If a coach builds a good winning percentage, but doesn’t understand that regardless of how much they love their sport, that sport isn’t the main thing, then that coach doesn’t embody the full measure of the true meaning of “coach.” Regardless of the conventional view that winning is everything, it really isn’t.
Some coaches strive to be all those good things he or she can be.
Some do. Some don’t.
Harold Robinson is one of the really good guys in the profession.
He has every right to treasure being called “Coach.” That’s who he is.