With the fatherless crisis on the rise, young students are trying to find parental guidance in other forms. Often that strong guiding hand can be seen through their coach.  Eugene Robinson, 16 year veteran of the NFL and high school athletics coach has seen this first hand

“Can you imagine not having God to be the father of Adam, Eve, and humanity? Can you imagine a kid growing up without a dad?”

Nearly 70% of youth, and young adult coaches across America are male. So when a father leaves the home, and kids struggle to find direction, coaches are often fill that vacated role.

“When dads abdicate their role as father and take themselves out of the house, they leave a major void. Now you’ve asked kids to fend for themselves. I believe it is unfair to ask someone young to fend for themselves. To go ahead and be guided, and try to make the right moves and the right steps as a kid, without having a blueprint to do it.

“People are looking for direction, and for men, the greatest office you will ever have is giving your child direction.”

Eugene experiences the opportunity to reach troubled kids each day, and presses other coaches to recognize their impact on the development of the American youth.

“Coaching and teaching are ministries. You gotta believe that, you gotta be called to be a coach.”

“I am with kids every single day. I am with their issues every single day. I had a senior track athlete whose parents are going through a divorce. He’s trying to provide for his younger siblings while his parents are struggling. I told him if you need time off, if you’re having a bad day, let coach Rob know. You need to pray? Let’s do that. I take my role as a high school coach very seriously because you get the chance to minister, and speak into the lives of kids, who may not have anything spoken into them at home.”

“I’ll tell you the story of another kid, who was trying to get a job but he was a big, black kid. He was really intimidating looking. He’s trying to get a job so that he can afford the bus home. He had to take 3 buses to get home each day. He lived 30 minutes away. I talked with him, and I offered to drive him home, but none of that is the issue. The issue was that when I offered, he asked me, ‘Why do you care? Nobody cares about people like me. Nobody cares.’ I bought him food, and he refused to eat it because he wanted to bring it home for his mother.”

“It’s heartbreaking that he would ever be in that situation, but kids are, and each day I have the chance to do something about it.”

The father’s role in the family isn’t an optional benefit, it’s a necessity. Biblical manhood demands it. But when fathers fail, it’s up to the community to step in. Many of us can share the names of coaches who helped us through hard times. In this day and age of fatherless families, coaching is an opportunity to minister to lost kids even more than it is teaching them to throw a ball.

Eugene Robinson is a former professional football player who played free safety. In his 16-year NFL career, Robinson played for the Seattle Seahawks, the Green Bay Packers, Atlanta Falcons, and Carolina Panthers. He won Super Bowl XXXI with the Packers over the New England Patriots. Eugene is the color commentator for the Carolina Panthers, and coaches high school football, wrestling, and track in North Carolina.

Coaching is a Ministry - Eugene Robinson