This is the first speech I give to the team. It happens at the start of the first practice and sets the tone for the kind of culture they’re going to be in for the next 3 months.
I’m going to tell you that you that I love you, each of you unconditionally. Does anybody know what unconditionally means? It means that no matter how bad you screw up, no matter how frustrated I may get, no matter how poorly you perform, I still love you. I may not be happy with you at that time but I still love you. You may have cost yourself some punishment with what you’ve done. I love you before, during and after the punishment. There’s a verse in the Bible, Hebrews 12:5-6 (the Message), My dear child, don’t shrug off God’s discipline but don’t be crushed by it either. It’s the child he loves that he disciplines; the child that he embraces, he also corrects. So we see that if I truly love you, I will correct you. I will make you get it right. I will not let you coast. We have a lot of games to prepare for. If we just came out here night after night and goofed off and had a good time, we would get killed on gameday, wouldn’t we? So by being tough on you and disciplining you and preparing you for the battles ahead, I am proving to you that I love you.
Now what I expect of you is to extend that kind of love to each other. No matter how bad your team mate messes up, you forgive him and love him. I define the word “love” as being set to do what is right for someone else. Hollywood and the music industry have given us a distorted version of the word love. That’s not what I’m talking about.
As a start to the discipline, we practice respect for your coaches. The way we will do this is to address the coaches as “Coach” or “Coach Dave” or “Sir” but never as “Hey Dave”. When you respond to one of us, it will be “yes sir” and “no sir”. If you do not, you will drop and give me 10 pushups. I will give you one night, tonight, a night of grace to learn this. You will never talk back to your coaches. Every coach has the right to deliver punishment to you. You know and understand the rules. When you break rules, you are punishing yourselves. We, as coaches, are just carrying out the punishment.