The Real Rewards of Coaching…

Earlier this week, I heard a knock on my door.  I looked up to see a young man proudly standing in my doorway adorned in his Marine Corps Dress Blues. 2018-11-08 Rich & Nck

Two years ago, this young man lacked confidence in himself and his abilities.  He questioned what he could accomplish and couldn’t see the potential our staff knew was buried deep within him. Even though he was a varsity starter on our offensive line, his lack of self-esteem often negatively impacted his game-day performance. We worked hard on teamwork, interdependence, and conveying our team’s reliance on the offensive line’s (and his) performance.

I’ll be candid: I made it very clear I expected more from this young man. When Senior year presented itself and we had a chance to speak one on one about expectations, I tried to make it clear: “If I hold you to a higher standard, it’s because I believe in your potential, and the greatness you can accomplish.” By his senior season, he gained confidence in himself and took personal pride in his teammates’ reliance on his performance. He became a two-way starter on dominant offensive and defensive lines ultimately leading our team to a state championship.

As he stood in my kitchen this week, he thanked me for the impact football had on him and how it prepared him for the rigors of Marine Corps’ boot camp.  He talked about how his training at Parris Island opened the view to his potential and helped him realize he was far more capable than he originally thought.  Then he informed me that he had a goal to become a Drill Instructor so that he can help others realize their reach, far exceeds their grasp.

As Coaches with careers spanning decades… some years you win, some years you don’t.

Some seasons end with championships, and even if you’re lucky, many end with playoff losses.

But every year comes with the blessing of having the opportunity to positively impact lives beyond football… (as my coaches did for me, and countless other do for student-athletes nationwide.)

Best wishes young man. You raised the bar of what you thought possible for yourself, and in doing so, set an example for others. Your leadership matters, and if in some small way, the staff here at St Johnsbury contributed to helping you find that potential, it was our privilege.

Now go do good things!

Coach Rich Alercio is available to discuss coaching philosophy, X’s & O’s, or teach his O-Line “techniques in the trenches.” Contact Coach at and share with your colleagues and friends. Thanks for your time!

2 thoughts on “The Real Rewards of Coaching…

  1. Rich – thank you for a beautifully written piece. I struggle to articulate why I find personal inspiration working with students in higher education. Although my role is not specifically in coaching, you capture here the real essence of why we do what we do. Thank you for remaining a positive influence in so many young men’s lives.


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