Counter-Cultural Courage

Counter-Cultural Courage

Last week I wrote about the courageous decision of Coach Adam Steinwachs. This week the honor goes to former Xavier Associate Head Coach Pat Kelsey (far right in picture). After helping lead the Musketeers to a 50-17 record the past two seasons, Kelsey resigned this week in an effort to keep his wife and two daughters as his first priority.

My role as a father and husband is everything to me, and the rigors of this business can make that challenging. —Pat Kelsey

I’ve never met Pat Kelsey, but here’s what I appreciate about him:

  1. He values excellence: Pat has worked hard to become a great coach. His high energy, coaching knowledge and recruiting savvy have earned him the respect of his colleagues and the eye of athletic directors looking for up-and-coming head coaches. But Pat wants excellence at work AND at home, and realized he couldn’t meet his high standards in both places. He had to choose what was best, and he honorably chose his family.
  2. He evaluates regularly: since the 2007 death of his mentor, Skip Prosser, Pat intentionally takes time annually to evaluate life—particularly family and career—and determine what adjustments may need to be made. Stepping back to see the big picture pulled him up out of the day-to-day grind and gave him the long-term perspective that led him to make this tough decision.

Now, lest you misunderstand my point in these last two posts, I’m not implying that college coaches can’t have life balance or that coaches should leave their jobs in order to find it. I’m simply noticing two men who made tough, counter-cultural decisions they deemed best for themselves and their families.

Both are gifted coaches and loved their work. Even so, they recognized that their identity is not wrapped up in coaching. It’s what they do, not who they are. And the radical decisions they made showed that there’s a lot more to Adam and Pat than their coaching talent.

So here’s my point: no matter what our profession, we must have the courage to make counter-cultural decisions for our greater good or that of our friends and family. For this is the pathway to true satisfaction in life.

Agree? Disagree? Feel free to share your thoughts below.