What does a NFL Head Coach, a College Head Coach, and a high school Head Coach, have in common? Age! That’s right, age! Obviously there is more these three men have in common than just coaching, but we will be focusing on the ones that matter.
What we have seen recently in sports from the pro ranks down to the high school level, is younger coaches who are highly knowledgeable of the game they coach become the lead man for a program. When an administration or front office makes the decision to hire these coaches they are usually the youngest head coach in the nation. I took a look into three specific coaches and wanted to find out what separated them from the average person in their sport who is coaching at their age.
The first stop is in the pro ranks with Head Coach of the Los Angeles Rams Sean McVay. Coach McVay grew up in football and it has been his passion his entire life. McVay has been around football since he was a child and his grandfather (John McVay) was the General Manager during the glory years of Bill Walsh and Joe Montana with the San Francisco 49ers. When McVay was on the Rich Eisen Show this summer he recalled of times riding on the bus to a game with his grandfather to a game and seeing Jerry Rice, Ronnie Lott, Bill Romanowski, and Joe Montana. McVay also played Wide Receiver at Miami University (OH) and quickly got into coaching. McVay is known for being a prolific offensive coordinator for the Washington Redskins in the 2016 season. So far this year McVay is getting high praise for turning around a talented Rams team and making former number one overall pick Jared Goff look worth the pick. With this, McVay is considered in the NFL as one of the brightest minds in football and is marveling people around the NFL.
Next is Coach Will Wade who is the new Head Basketball Coach at LSU. Coach Wade did not, like McVay, have a grandfather who was General Manager for a major league team but this did not stop him. Wade new very early in life coaching was his calling, as early as high school. After graduating Clemson, Wade was able to work his way to his first assistant job at a early age at his alma mater as a grad assistant. Wade has stated the only way he got the gig was do to his knowledge of the game and his passion. From Clemson, Wade would make some brief stops at being an assistant and along the way helped mold NBA Point Guard talent Jeremy Lin. Wade would then find his way getting Head Coaching positions at Chattanooga and VCU before landing in Baton Rouge. At both locations Wade was the youngest head coach in the NCAA for men’s college basketball. For people in Baton Rouge and sports fans in general, Wade has a “Sabanisk” feel to him from people who are inside of the program. LSU fans feel the same way they did when Alabama coach Nick Saban came to Baton Rouge years ago. Recently Wade has been dominating the recruiting trail stating “we are going to get the best, because we are the best.” Wade’s relentless pursuit for gaining more knowledge of the game and being the best is always evident with how much passion he shows in his news conferences. Wade lead his VCU teams to multiple appearances to the NCAA tournament. When Wade was hired at LSU he was the youngest Head Coach at 34.
Last but not least is my personal favorite and it comes with extreme bias. This would be (former) Head Coach Clay Tageant. Tageant who, like McVay, grew up in the game of baseball from birth. Tageant’s grandfather was a state champion at his alma mater (Franklinton High School) and his father has also coached at the same school for over twenty years. Tageant was always around the program which is known for winning and being a top class. Tageant played college baseball at LSUE (Eunice), Delgado, and Southern Miss. After graduating Tageant took over the roll as the head man at Varnado High School. Although Tageant was one of the youngest coaches around, if not the youngest, he did not back down from the challenge where his team went all the way to the Quarter Finals. Tageant now is back at his alma mater and is considered a rising star.
What we have learned is it may be more about your vast knowledge and passion for the game which will show you may be elite. Although these coaches may be the youngest in their profession at a time, do not tell them this. It is extremely evident they have more on their mind about being great than being a younger coach. Be knowledgeable… have passion… and above all have the love of the game… Are You Serious?