Stapp Inspires-The Heart of a Coach

“I can meet you at 10:00 am, that’s when practice is over. Do you know how to get to the field?” After receiving directions to Everly Montgomery Stadium I was all set to meet up with this month’s Stapp Inspires Teacher Highlight, Doug Johnson.

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I touched base with Brion (our dealer principal and Longmont High School graduate.) before our meeting. Both Doug and Brion started at Longmont High about the same time. Doug as a coach and Brion as the quarterback. As we chatted about days gone by, Brion said how proud he was that Doug has continued the strong tradition of LHS football.

I arrived at the field just as practice was winding up. The relief of practice being over and plans for later in the day were being made as I passed the athletes leaving the field.  Doug is spending a little extra time with a few players and soon he is ready to meet and get out of the sun.We settle into his office and I can’t help but notice the pictures of all his teams, I saw a few from more than 10 years ago. We chat for a few minutes to get a little background information. He started coaching at Lyons High School with his dad in 1990 and 1991 and at Skyline High School in 1992 before winding up at Longmont High School 1993. He is a math teacher when he isn’t coaching. It’s worth noting that he also coaches basketball and track. Oh, and in his spare time a sponsor to FCA.

Doug’s concern and love of his players and students is his heart. For him the greatest thing to see his kids over come challenges and succeed. To have students and athletes reach out and update him on what’s going on their lives is the best part of working with high students. Because he cares so much for his kids the hardest thing for him to do is to correct them. “It’s a lot easier to let it be.”, he said.He stressed to this team that they are a family and that love of your teammates is more important than hate of opponents.

He wants to see his players be contributors to their communities and that this can happen in many different ways. he last Saturday of football camp Doug sets up an opportunity for his players to help others out in the community. This year the team was headed up to Lyons to help out 6 homeowners who were effected by the flood with their landscaping. He tries to either provide materials needed or have them donated for their projects. If this isn’t possible, they take care of the difference.Doug started this tradition in 2007. He admitted it started as a mentality of “coach is making us do this” but over the years it has transformed into “we are going to do better than last year.”  He wants to teach these young men how to show love to others without saying it and how they have the ability and power to give hope to those around them. Of course the football team has goals they want to meet each season. But at the end of the day, we all have a bottom line that defines us and if the team does nothing else but this outreach… That is a successful season for Doug and the team.

As much care he has for his players there are a few things that hold more importance to him. He has 5 kids whom he loves dearly and a wife he adores. He still dates his wife every week. ” It’s so easy to become roommates, especially with kids.” he comments. Doug has coached a few of his kids in different sports and had a blast spending time with them in that way. ” I’m more concerned with the person my daughter becomes than how she performs as an athlete.” he said while talking about coaching his daughter in pole vaulting.  He places a huge importance on family time, not just in his family, but his athletes too. He prefers to not have team dinners and let his players have dinner with their families because that kids are away from too much as it is.  

Doug, when we first spoke on the phone you mentioned that you were unsure of why you were chosen for this highlight, you didn’t think you were doing anything special or extraordinary and that there were plenty of others who were more deserving. I hope I have been able to show why you were chosen. Your heart for not only your athletes, students and your family is seen by all.  You see that there is more to life than football and you help your players see beyond the field. You give hope and encouragement to everyone you meet. I want to thank you for your time, just meeting with you was inspiring to me. We wish you and the team good luck this season.

Go Trojans!

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