Making Winners for the Long Term

Coached for Life: Making Winners for the Long Term
How the lessons of one winning season lasted a lifetime

What is the legacy of a great coach? When the players of the Great Falls Central Mustangs arrived for the first day of practice in the fall of 1962, they had their sights set on the unlikely goal of the state championship. But what their coaches delivered was far more lasting than a championship ring; it was life-changing truths that transformed these boys into men, instilling character that would span their lifetime.

Coached for Life, by Ed Flaherty and Jack Uldrich, is the true account of how two high school football coaches, Bill Mehrens and John McMahon, molded an undistinguished group of young men not only into state champions but also into men with integrity that would follow them the rest of their lives. The book includes a dramatic 40 year retrospect from the players themselves (including Flaherty, a former team captain) describing how the biblical values as well as the hard earned principles of football instilled in them during the 1962 season continued to shape their lives in positive ways long after they left the football field.

Bobby Bowden, head football coach of the 1993 and 1999 National Champion Florida State University Seminoles, says, “Coached for Life captures the essence of what it means to be a coach. It describes the philosophies that work in the arena of sport and the philosophies that work in life. I recommend it to everyone who wants to succeed in either—or both.”

Great Falls Central High School was a small private Catholic school in Montana, a town made of blue collar working people who held to a strong faith, the same strong current of faith that underscores the lessons of Coached for Life. The authors incorporated the teaching moments from the theology classroom with their teacher, Father Livix, whose forward-thinking, ethical discussions regarding race and equality along with his biblical teaching helped build these men’s character. The 1962 Mustangs went on to distinguish themselves as entrepreneurs, bank presidents, school administrators, multi-million dollar home builders, and even songwriters. Perhaps the greatest testament of the coaches’ lasting influence is the large percentage of players who have followed in their footsteps to become coaches themselves.

Flaherty and Uldrich have organized the life lessons into twelve memorable principles, each illustrated by the true stories of players who have put those lessons into practice. These real life applications include:

· Setting the Bar High: how establishing and fulfilling clear goals shaped Ed Flaherty’s career as the consummate entrepreneur
· Extreme Perseverance: how enduring “hell week” during the 1962 season prepared Dale Roos to survive for five days alone in the jungles of Vietnam
· Responsibility is the One Thing that Cannot be Delegated: how Bruce Campbell broke the cycle of absent fatherhood and stepped up to the plate to parent three young children alone
· Passing the Torch: how the coaches developed a legacy of leadership that continues today

Each chapter concludes with a summary of the key point and a set of thought-provoking discussion questions, making it the perfect vehicle for corporate leadership studies, ministry volunteer meetings, and teacher professional development.

Coached for Life is not just another feel-good football story. Rather, it is an amazing testament to the profound impact that any leader—the coach, the teacher, the boss, the minister, or the parent—can have on someone else’s life, particularly when he or she is leading young people. This book clearly shows that the words and actions of any leader can transform a person, instilling core beliefs that will last a lifetime. With a foreword by the winningest coach in NCAA history, Coached for Life has drawn rave reviews from noted leaders across many fields including the President Emeritus of the University of Notre Dame, the CEO of RE/MAX International, the owner of the Minnesota Timberwolves, and the former governor of Montana. Coached for Life provides much-needed encouragement for weary leaders who sometimes wonder if their hard work really makes a difference.

Coached for Life by Ed Flaherty and Jack Uldrich
Bronze Bow Publishing/March 2010
ISBN: 978-0-615-27882-7/383 pages/softcover/$19.95

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