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Coach's Corner

My Name is Coach

by Scott Rosberg

My son, Morgan, calls me, Dad. It is my favorite name that I am called. I also realize that there is no more important name than Dad that I am called. While to just about everyone else in the world my name is Scott, I am Dad to Morgan, and I have taken the responsibility that comes with that name very seriously for the last 23 years. Other than Scott, Dad, and probably a few choice names people have called me through the years, the other name that I am most often called is Coach. Many years ago, the great basketball coach John Wooden wrote a great book called They Call Me Coach. The book is filled with many lessons that he learned throughout his life that made their way into his teaching and coaching of young people. The title, They Call Me Coach, is a good title, for it makes the reader zero in on the concept of who he is and how the title that people called him shaped his life.

While this article is titled “My Name is Coach,” I am not claiming to be able to make John Wooden’s title or his ideas better or even add to them. Rather, this is my response to a thought that hit me numerous times over my career. It hit me especially hard quite a few years ago, when I was informed by our school’s athletic director that I would not be re-hired as the varsity boys’ basketball coach. One of the thoughts I had after being told that was that for the time being, I would be considered an Ex-Coach.

As that idea hit me, I realized that there really is no such thing as an ex-coach. Once you are a coach, you are always a coach. This was made clear to me at other points in my life when I stepped away from coaching for short periods of time. I started coaching at age 20, and for over forty years, there have only been a few years where I have not coached in some fashion. Each time I stepped away from coaching for a while, I never felt like I was out of coaching. I was constantly watching sports with a coach’s eye, reading books by coaches, watching coaching videos, attending coaching clinics, and thinking of ways I would incorporate the things I was reading, watching, and learning with my future teams. I realized that even though I wasn’t coaching at those particular times, it didn’t make me feel that I wasn’t a coach.

But there is something even more powerful that hammers home to me the concept of “Once a coach, always a coach.” People call me Coach whenever they greet me. Other coaches, teachers, administrators, parents, community members, and of course players who I have coached through the years all address me as Coach. When I talk to former players, the greeting is pretty much always, “Hey, Coach.” This happens often with players who have graduated and moved on with their lives. To them, I am not Scott; I am Coach. I have only had a few ex-players in my life ever address me by my first name, even those who are in their 30s, 40s, & 50s now.

I would have no problem with my former players calling me Scott. After all, it is my name that everybody else calls me. However, just about every one of them still calls me Coach. I think there are a few reasons why this happens. One is that they are uncomfortable calling me anything but Coach due to the respect that they have for me and our Coach/Player relationship. Another is that they also have a level of respect for the title of Coach. Finally, one of the main reasons players still call me Coach is that is my name to them. That is all they have known me as, and that is all they would ever consider calling me.

I still remember the first time I was ever called Coach. I imagine the young man who called me Coach for the first time doesn’t even remember me, but I have never forgotten the moment it happened. I even remember the young man’s name—Matt Schuning—because of how powerful the moment was for me. I was student-teaching, and I was helping coach the freshmen boys’ basketball team. Matt was on the freshman team, and he was in my freshman English class. It was the day after our first practice, and Matt walked into the room and said, “Hey, Coach.” I was stunned. Here was a kid calling me Coach after one day of me being his coach.

I thought, “That’s cool! I’m a coach!” And then it hit me—“Whoa! I’m a coach. These kids are looking up to me. They are taking their cues from me. They are listening to what I have to say and watching how I act. Holy Cow! I better do things the right way. I better behave properly. I better be a good role model. I better not screw this up!” I was 20-years-old, and the concept of responsibility had just hit me square in the face with one 15-year-old boy calling me Coach.

That was 1981. For 43 years, I have never taken lightly the title, the responsibility, or the importance of what I do for kids as a teacher and coach. I have never taken the name that I am known by to so many people—Coach—for granted. No matter how much longer I coach, I know that my name is Coach to thousands of people out there, and I have a huge responsibility to live up to being called Coach. Other than Dad, there is no greater name that I will be called.

I have always loved and will always love being called Coach, and I will always keep in mind the great responsibility that I owe to that name. I hope any of you who are fortunate enough to be called Coach love being called Coach as much as I do. I also hope that you, too, will do all you can to live up to the name Coach with the dignity and responsibility that it deserves.

To check out more materials from Scott, go to his website You can email Scott at


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