More than Sports: Life Advice from Chapman Coaches

The lessons coaches impart often help young people become not just better athletes, but better people too. Coaches teach us lessons about accountability,  persistence, sportsmanship and responsibility that the players they oversee take with them, long after they’ve stopped playing sports.  Prowl asked some Chapman coaches who give others advice about  the best advice they received.

Augustino Adams: Wide Receiver Coach, Football

Augustino Adams (left) and Monroe (MoneyMo) Alexander (right) playing college football at the University of Charleston in West Virginia. Photo courtesy of Augustino Adams

What is the most helpful piece of advice you have received? 

When you are young and in a new situation where you have superiors like your boss, coach, etc.  and they are talking to you and criticizing you then it means that they see potential in you and want to help make you be better.  You have to take criticism as a positive: The person critiquing you sees more in you and wants to help you grow out of your comfort zone.  Coaching and critiquing is helping turn a weakness you have into a strength.

What motto do you live by?

“The good get great and the great become unstoppable.” Keynado Hudson, a former defensive back coach at Chapman and current coach at Florida Atlantic University told me this.  When you’re good you are one of many people who were able to come out of high school and become a college athlete.  When you’re great you are the guy who is getting the pre and post-game interviews.  When you’re unstoppable you don’t really have to say much.  People will just check in on you and make sure that you are good and at the same time they will ask you to mentor others and be an example. When you are unstoppable – that’s when you know you have arrived.

How did you overcome struggles you had as a player?

I could never pass “the eye test.”  I was always an undersized athlete and I guess that it is ”little guy’s complex” when someone tells you that you can’t do something you want to make sure they know that you can do it.  Whether it’s dunking a basketball or returning a kick for a touchdown.  It is just the overall competitive spirit and it doesn’t die. It just morphs to your career in what you do.  Everybody always told me I was too small and that drove me to be better than those that were bigger than me.

What is the best advice that not only applies both to the field but in life?

You have to have competitive spirit and self-motivation.  Being an undersized athlete and even not a top level athlete you work and grind harder than anybody because you did not get that division 1 scholarship.  I thank everyone that I’ve met that has continued to push me.  For me being the underdog has always pushed me in many aspects to be the best that I could be both on and off the field.  Always accepting a challenge has helped me in my career.

DeAndra’e Woods: Track and Field Head Coach

DeAndra’e Woods running track at Cal State Fullerton. Photo courtesy of Matt Brown

What is the most helpful piece of advice you’ve received?

If you’re not passionate about it, don’t do it.  Make sure that anything that you do, you are going to do it full heartedly.  Whether you are doing it to get a reward from it or you are doing it because you truly love it, make sure that you are giving it everything that you got.  Don’t give anything half effort.

What motto do you live by?

To get through tough times, take  things one step at a time.  If I go one step at a time then that will help me be more productive.  If I understand that my attitude is my decision then that helps as well.  Being in control of my attitude towards any obstacle I face and taking it one step at a time has really helped me get through tough times.

How did you overcome struggles you had as a player?

I came from a very structured high school and was coached by a lot of amazing coaches who had a lot of experience.  Some of them were former Division I coaches and athletes.  When I left high school and went to college I was expecting something similar, but unfortunately our coaching staff did not have that.  That was a challenge for me and it made it harder because my level of seriousness was different than my teammates.  I was a walk on and did not receive a scholarship coming out of high school.  I had to prove myself every day and had an extra chip on my shoulder that pushed me to earn a scholarship by my junior year and be a team captain my sophomore through senior year. Through those challenges I kept reminding myself that I need to enjoy myself and have fun because being an athlete is not forever.

What is the best advice that you would give one of your players that applies to the field and in life as?

Control what you can control in life.  You can have all of the concerns in the world but out of those what can you actually control and how can you control things.  Usually you can only control yourself.  Everyone wants to have fun with what they are doing but if you are not working hard you will not be able to reap the benefits of that hard work.  You have to enjoy the moment and you have to be passionate about what you are doing.  If it is not something you want to do then don’t do it if you are just going to complain.

Pam Gibbons: Head Athletic Trainer

Pam Gibbons walking an injured Chapman athlete to the sideline.  Photo courtesy of Pam Gibbons

What is the most helpful piece of advice you’ve received?

You never know where your next opportunity is going to come from, so take advantage of networking opportunities.  You might shake somebody’s hand and that’s the same person five or ten years from now that you’re going to be working for because you made a good first impression and they remembered you.  You never know where your next opportunity is going to come from.

What motto do you live by?  

“This too shall pass.” The sun is always going to come up tomorrow and it is going to be a new day and you will have a new opportunity to persevere or overcome whatever that current struggle is.  Hopefully you have the support of family and friends to make it easier along the way.  Having a good supporting foundation goes a long way.

What were some struggles that you went through as a player and how did you overcome them?

When I was in high school I was challenged by two male friends of mine to go out for the boys water polo team because there was no girls water polo team and it was a challenge that I accepted.  That was hard because I was the only girl and it was in a climate where girls were not necessarily welcomed in that environment so the coaches and players made it more difficult than it have ever been to be successful and to make the team.  They pretty much tried everything they could to make me quit because I was a girl on the boys team and it didn’t work.  It was nice to have friends that were on the team to help push me.  It was one of those things that I set my mind to and was going to happen.  Hard work and consistency and the want to prove to “you” that I can do this.  Hard work and determination goes a long way.

What is the best advice that you would give one of your players that not only applies to the field but in life as well?

I think it goes back to the first question that you are going to meet people throughout your life and you don’t know how that person is going to impact your life when you have that first initial interaction.  They may come into and out of your life without having ripple or they may have a profound impact on your life.  So giving people an opportunity to be part of your life and to get to know you and what your strengths and weaknesses are goes a long way in how those people are going to impact your life later on down the road.  It could be getting a job or it could be meeting your best friend, you don’t know until you give them an opportunity to get to know you and vice versa.

Kevin Ashton: Football Defensive Line and Strength Coach

Kevin Ashton as a defensive lineman at Humboldt State University. Photo courtesy of Kevin Ashton

What is the most helpful piece of advice you’ve received?

My dad always told me that if you are going to do a job you better do it right.  It doesn’t matter if it is something as small as cleaning the bathroom or as big as running a company you have to do it to the best of your ability.

What motto do you live by?

It all goes back to my father who I consider to be my mentor.  I always think what would he do in that situation no matter what it is.  Whether it has to do with my own kids, or the kids that I am coaching, or my wife.  I always think about and ask myself what would my dad do.

What were some struggles that you went through as a player and how did you overcome them?

Playing wise it was balancing academics and football.  Playing at the Division II level on scholarship they wanted you to be a full-time football player.  In the back of your head you know that your future is with your degree.  You have to find enough time to get all of your school work and studying done but also get all of your obligations towards your football team done as well.  At times it felt like there weren’t enough hours in the day when you are going through that stuff.  I had to take my work on the road and there were a lot of sleepless nights.

What is the best advice that you would give one of your players that not only applies to the field but in life as well?

A lot of what I preach here is grit, growth, intelligence and responsibility and if you stick by those four pillars it can help you succeed in life.  You are growing every day and always learning something new.  Responsibility is always something that comes with growth but it is also important to your character and who you are.  Intelligence is doing the right thing and being smart and especially thinking about situations before you say something or act on it.  Along with that realizing how valuable time is. There is never enough of it and we can never get it back.  Never be late because you are wasting someone else’s time and you can never get that back.  At the end of the day you have to find out the best way to utilize all of the time that you have.

Dallas Hartley: Men’s Head Lacrosse

Dallas Hartley coaching up two of his players during a regular season game. Photo courtesy of Dallas Hartley

What is the most helpful piece of advice you’ve received?

Surround yourself with good people with strong goals and good things will happen to you.

Is there a motto that you life by or something you tell yourself to help you get through tough times? if so what is it?

It’s not always as good as it seems and it’s not always as bad as it seems.  Try to laugh or make people laugh hard everyday.  Breathe, reflect, and make things better for yourself and those close to you.

What were some struggles that you went through as a player and how did you overcome them?

I was late to lacrosse when I started and I didn’t get much playing time my freshman year.  I had to believe that my hard work and studying the game would pay off with playing time.

What is the best advice that you would give one of your players that not only applies to the field but in life as well?

Hard work pays off and how you react and overcome setbacks are everything in life.  Most of my best friends are people I grew up with or played sports with.  Those people know the real you and can help you in bad times and celebrate with you in good times.  Keep them close and do the same for them.

Myles Garcia

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