t is indeed an honor to have this oppor-tunity to address the American FootballCoaches Association membership. The fel-lowship of Christian Athletes is the onlyother organization that can match the rapidgrowth of the American Football CoachesAssociation in this country. Our member-ship is well over 8,000 to date and growing.Under the leadership of Grant Teaff and hisstaff, this organization and the coachingprofession have undergone a tremendousfacelift in image. The young and seasoned,male and female, politician to blue collarworker has accepted the coaching profes-sion as a positive difference-maker in oursociety. I tell my coaches all the time, thatwe must be better than the guy next door toour players. They want you to be, and youmust be better.Our theme for this 2000 convention isVictory with Honor. More than anytime inour existence, this theme is very appropri-ate. Winning at any and all cost has astranglehold on the psyche of societytoday. We want to cut corners, look forshort cuts, avoid the process, and diminishthe work ethic. What they don’t know won’thurt them mentality provokes cheating,cover-ups and a lower sense of morality.The word character is treated like the wordBaptist — you must be careful who you arewith before you decide to bring it up.We accepted the head coaching posi-tion at Hampton University in January of1992. Since that time, we have won fiveconference championships and two Sheri-dan Broadcasting Networks nationalchampionships. Hampton has advanced topostseason play six of the last eight years.This year, our eighth, Hampton played in apostseason game — The Heritage Bowl.This tenure certainly shows consistency,it shows job security but more than any-thing, the foundation for our accomplish-ments has been the time and effort spentdaily on teaching and driving home theimportance of character to everyone in theprogram. We have a very active Fellowshipof Christian Athletes huddle that meetsevery Friday at 7 p.m., whether at home oron the road. Our chaplain, ReverendJerome Barber, travels with the team andattends every practice. Offensive coor-dinator Donald Hill heads up a group of 17players that comprise a gospel choir.Thischoir performs on campus, local churches,high schools and other concerts. We attendchurch as a team the first three Sundays offall camp. We pray before leaving the fieldwhether it’s practice or game day. Eachweek in our scouting report, the first threepages deals with:
Awordof wisdom sheet;
Asheet on characterbuilding. We put in a lot of time to choosethe appropriate sheets for the upcomingweek based on where we fell short the pre-vious week. As the head coach, I take itupon myself to follow the pulse or“Zeitgeist” of the team.Over the years, players have told methat they look forward to getting them eachweek because they use them to do papersfor home assignments. That’s not exactlywhat we had in mind, but at least they areof some use.The word character as defined byWebster is “behavior typical of a person orgroup; moral strength.” Behavior is eithernegative or positive based on your attitude.Your attitude is regulated by your percep-tion of the experiences you have had in life.Too many failures in life suggests to anindividual that maybe he or she is a failure.Setting and accomplishing goals tends todevelop positive self esteem individualswith stronger moral values and a positiveattitude. Our job as coaches is to create anenvironment conducive to developingstrong ethics and character.An environ-ment conducive to success in the class-room, socially, spiritually, and on the play-ing field. The organization of our programwas developed by a fear factor. We areafraid not to see them both in and out ofseason.In the off-season, we have plyometricsbefore classes start; weight training afterclasses end. We invite quest speakersevery Friday from the community to helpconnect the real world to college life:bankers, superintendents, city councilmen,professors, Doctors, etc. On Saturdaymornings, we have speed school from 8a.m. to 9 a.m. It helps to temper Fridaynight activities. Study hall is mandatory forall freshmen and any upperclassman undera 2.4 grade point average. Ms. Sonja Stillsis our academic advisor and she does agood job of monitoring this academicprogress. Ms. Stills also has developedactivities associated with the social skills,life skills and community involvement.We interview our players routinely withthe segment coaches as well as myself.We want to know them as people, not justfootball players. Relationships are built ontrust and accountability.The better yourrelationship with your players, the more
• • • •Joe TaylorHead CoachHampton UniversityHampton, Va.
No Character, NoConsistency, No JobSecurity