Monthly Archives: August 2013

Out Of Chaos Comes Order

Ever wonder how these spiffy blog posts come to life? Do you even want to know? Do you even care?
That’s where most of them begin. An idea, an emotion, an event will trigger some stream of thought on a subject. Usually sports, but sometimes I branch out. Really.
The idea is set in motion. The brain fires and I scribble down its ideas. The ideas are chaos.
Here is an example of the brainstorm of chaos from my last post, Step By Step.

Not so pretty, huh?
I love chaos. I love creating chaos and finding the right threads inside that chaos so when those strings are pulled together, something pretty cool is created.
The ideas are on paper. They get filed together in one folder inside my brain. They begin to play nice together and form into some sort of logical order.
Finally, with the Sisters of the Order of St. Benedict who taught me at Christ The King School smiling happily upon me from heaven, I yield the Hammer of Grammar and pound out the errors to give the post it’s final shape. A few more edit passes to shine it all up and there you have it, a The Coach Hays blog post.
Not bad for a lineman?

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Step By Step

Everybody wants to win.

It’s human nature.

What distinguishes success from failure if we all initially desire the same thing? In other words, how did we get to the results we got?

It’s the staircase philosophy.


Think of a long flight of stairs. My own visual staircase is an isolated utilitarian concrete set of stairs anchored to the ground in the middle of nowhere. Now visualize a shiny, rather gargantuan gold trophy at the top. This is the victory, the goal which is the pinnacle of your chosen endeavor. When you reach that top step, you’ll sit down next to that golden trophy and put your arm around it like it’s your best friend in the whole world. It’s Nirvana.

Here’s the problem that separates the “everybody wants to win” people from the winners. You have to start at the start. You have to start at the bottom of the stairs and work your way up one stair at a time.

The first step is not so bad. It’s usually just a simple hop up.

The second step is a little higher and it takes more skill to climb.

And so on and so on…

Until you get to those final few steps. These steps are the separators, these are the monster steps. Hard work is the magic on these steps. The prize is within reach, you can almost taste it.. One must decide on doing the work and making the sacrifices to make the next level or stay and give up.


Successful folks understand the staircase philosophy. Constant work builds upon a solid foundation each step of the way. There are no shortcuts. A lot of money is spent on magic bullets and pills and supplements trying to find a shortcut.

There are no shortcuts.

It’s like learning the alphabet. We didn’t learn “A” and jump right to “Z”. Too many people want to make a grab for the “Z” right off the bat. It doesn’t work that way.

It is a methodical learning curve, A to B to C to D…, one letter at a time, all the way to Z. It’s like Mrs. Hays is often (always) saying, “If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right.”

A wonderful group of local Clay County people are starting a project to bring life back into our baseball field, Kelly Campbell Field. We are going to follow the staircase philosophy. We are going to work our way up to have a playable small town high school baseball field. We are going to follow a staircase philosophy while being extremely financially responsible and respectful.

(So, if you see folks working on Kelly Campbell Field, thank them for their effort. And, if you find yourself with an extra dollar in your pocket, I’m sure the Clay Center Parks & Recreation Committee can find a good use for each dollar designated to Campbell Field.)

Everybody wants to win. Winning is a way of doing business, a way of life.

The joy is in the journey. The joy is climbing one step at a time. The is earning your way to the next step.

Step by step.

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Touch The Sign

When I was just starting out as a Rule 10 football coach at Clay Center Community High School back in the year 2000, I was a mild mannered, timid, and completely clueless football coa…SCREEECHHH.

Sorry boys for the stretch of the truth, please let me start again.

Okay, when I was just starting out as a Rule 10 football coach back in the year 2000, I was an excitable, raving lunatic, who was completely clueless as a football coach. There, I said it. Then something happened. I read the Blackie Book and I read Coach Otto Unruh’s book, HOW TO COACH WINNING FOOTBALL.

The Blackie Book is a compilation put together (and updated each year) by Coach Blackie Lane. It contains virtually the entire historic record of high school football in Clay Center. It is an incredible piece of history and if you haven’t seen it, you should make the effort.

HOW TO COACH WINNING FOOTBALL by the long time Clay Center and Bethel College head coach is a valuable slice of wisdom, both in the schematic football knowledge of the day and in the timeless methodology of coaching young boys into young men.

I read these two documents and became transformed by the tradition of football in our town. I realized what a heavy responsibility fell on one who coaches in this program and I vowed not to be a disappointment. I worked and read, and read and worked. I research and studied football coaching, football theory, especially offensive and defensive line play. But most of all, I studied strength and conditioning.

We aren’t big in CC, we aren’t exceedingly fast, and never really have been. But tradition holds these truths; we play hard, we hit hard, and we come after you every play of every game.

Tiger Tradition.

Another thing we started doing back around 2002 (or one of those years) was having each player touch the Otto Unruh Stadium sign at the south end of the stadium prior to pregame introductions. Fans may or may not have ever noticed this, but they still do it.

I don’t coach anymore, mostly because of the excitable, raving lunatic descriptors I used earlier in this post. Out of curiosity, though, I asked a couple current players if they knew why they “Touch the Sign” before home games. They did not know, but they were eager to find out. So, here is the reason you touch that sign, boys.

We “Touch The Sign” before we take the field for home games at Otto Unruh Stadium as a tribute to all those who played Clay Center Football before us.

We pledge with that one touch we will play with honor, courage, intensity, and sportsmanship on our home field and in front of our community.

We promise we will leave the Clay Center mark on our opponent in defeat and in victory. They will know by their battered and tired bodies they played the Clay Center Tigers.

We play for 100+ years of Clay Center football:

  • 836 games, 453-337-46 record, a .542 winning %
  • 63% of all teams had a winning record
  • 10 undefeated seasons

We play for the early Clay Center Dynasties:

1. V.R. Vegades Era 1920-1926; 42-10-2, a .778 winning %

  • 1920 – 7-1 record
  • 1921 – 8-1 undefeated regular season. Lost to Topeka in playoffs.
  • 1922 – 7-1 Did not get scored on all season until last game, a 7-6 loss to Manhattan. Beat Concordia 101-0.
  • 1923 – 6-1, No TD’s given up the entire season. Lost final game to Manhattan 6-3 but only gave up 2 FG’s.
  • 1924 – 6-1, only gave up 3 TD’s all season.

2. C.A. Nelson Era 1930-1941; 69-27-13, a .670 winning % and 3 undefeated seasons.

We play for the Otto Unruh Era:

  • 1945-1966; 126-65-8, a .633 winning %
  • Won 3 Class A State Championships
  • 3 undefeated 9-0 seasons.
  • 1956 and 1957 teams went 18-0 and won 2 state titles.
  • 1963 team went 8-1 and won state championship. Only loss of year was to Manhattan, 7-6, on a missed PAT.

We play for the Larry Wiemers Era:

  • 1977-1994; 114-71, a .616 winning%
  • 1978, 1979, 1980 teams went 26-5, 2 District championships and 3 NCKL titles
  • 1980 team went 10-1, losing only to Andover in the regional final.
  • 1983, 1984, 1985 teams went 25-8, Substate, district and bi-district titles.
  • 1993 team went 10-1, NCKL champs, district, bi-district, regional runner-up

So, gentlemen, there’s the story behind why you Touch the Sign. Good luck and NEVER forget,

There is no #TigerFamily without #TigerTradition.



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Roll With The Changes

“So, if you’re tired of the same old story, oh, turn some pages”

-Roll With The Changes, REO Speedwagon

The moment you accept you are good enough is the moment you begin to lose.

Getting better is a constant, no matter the endeavor you have chosen. Whether it is as an athlete, coach, writer, scientist, teacher, trashman, welder, librarian, etc., it doesn’t matter. If you want to get better you have to work at it on a consistent basis. We have to learn to break out of our shells of complacency to improve. We have to learn how to turn the pages if we are tired of the story.


Getting better also means accepting change. Change pushes and pulls improvement. A refusal to change stops improvement dead in its tracks. Why? Because change often comes with failure and this failure needs to fuel the desire to improve. We used to call this concept The Fail Cycle.

In a perfect world, we would fail, back up a couple steps, analyze the situation and then make the changes needed to overcome the failure. But, being human, we don’t always accept the need to change our tact and we too often stay on the path of complacency and acceptance in our stagnate situations.

I had two standard speeches for football and baseball athletes when I felt we were not doing the necessary adjustments to be successful. Things like using the same swing every at-bat in the midst of a 0-20 slump or falling for the same QB pump fake and losing contain rush time and time again.

  1. Running into the solid, brick wall at increasingly faster speeds will not get you through the wall, it just gets you more pissed off and feeling a lot of pain. Change your plan of attack, take two steps over, and walk right through the open doorway.
  2. Don’t hit yourself in the head with a hammer time and time again and wonder why it hurts. Quit hitting yourself in the head with a hammer!

To me, part of the great joy in life is working to get better at the things that you love doing and the things that make you happy. The only way to do this is to change and move forward.

So, get up and get to work. Whatever you choose to do if your life, do it with purpose, pride, and passion.

Turn the pages and enjoy your new story.


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