To a 16 year old boy, there is nothing in the world more important than football. There are few better feelings than putting on that jersey on a Friday morning before school and not taking it off until it is covered in blood and sweat that night. To a 16 year old boy, football is more than a game, it’s a way a life. It consumes every thought throughout the day even when you’re not on the field or in the locker room. I was one of those 16 year old boys about 9 years ago, but the game of football was taken away from me. Long story short, I played football my Freshman year of high school and loved every minute. Unlike Basketball, I even enjoyed the practices, and the games were the highlight of my week. The feeling of “going to war” with my teammates was unlike anything I’d ever experienced. At the end of my freshmen season, I found out that I had a brain tumor that would require surgery. I would not be able to play football anymore due to the risks of injuring my brain.
I had just been stripped of the thing in my life that was most important to me. I would never again to put on the pads and play the game that was dear to my heart. I cried for several nights straight when the doctors told me I couldn’t play anymore. I went in to the locker room to tell Coach Mac & remember the conversation like it was yesterday. “Coach, they said I can’t play again. It’s too dangerous.” I expected a pat on the back, a half-hearted apology, and a push out the door. “I want you to stay on the team. I don’t care what you do, I wan’t you here. You can run drills, watch film, get water. I want you to be a part of this team. It needs you.” The pain in my heart was lightened for the first time since I found out the bad news. Coach Mac was both my Tammy Taylor and Coach Taylor at the same time. I realized at this point that he was a special man. He knew that I needed the team and he made me feel like they needed me too.
For the next three years, I was able to spend countless hours with Coach Mac. I got to spend every hour that the players did, but I was also able to see inside the coaches room, where I was allowed to hang out at times. It was often the time in the coaches room that revealed Coach Mac’s character the most. He genuinely wanted the best for and out of everyone around him. He wanted to win football games, but that wasn’t his primary goal. Coach Mac wanted to make boys into men. He wanted to use football as a tool to teach us about life. He always preached doing things the right way. If we play the right way, then “Mustangs win every time”, regardless of what the scoreboard said.
All of these things to say about Coach Mac, and I haven’t even mentioned X’s & O’s. He won over 300 games, three State Titles, and four Runner-Ups trophies in his 30+ years with Lipscomb. It was even more remarkable how it did it. Lipscomb did not have consistent elite athletes through the years. At times, a physically gifted player or two would come through the system that was worthy of building a team around, but more often than not, Coach Mac won with a bunch of average Joe’s who believed in the man leading them. He was often criticized by players, parents, and other coaches for his steadfast system of sticking to the running game. He didn’t believe in the shotgun, but instead believed in out-executing the opposition. He wanted you to know what was coming, but there was nothing you could do to stop it. Lipscomb always ran the Jet Sweep, Pitches, and other misdirection plays, but the bread and butter was always “30” and “31”. These two plays were smashmouth at its finest, and nothing lit up the old man like gashing teams with 7 yard chunks running 30/31. These two plays represent how Coach always attacked life, head-on with nothing to lose.
Favorite Coach Mac Sayings & Memories
The only thing that Coach Mac is known more for than his winning is his ridiculous sayings and stories. He had quite the arsenal of them, which kept even the most dreadful summer two-a-days entertaining. I’ve compiled a few of my favorites, in no particular order.
Hay in the Barn
This was by far his most used example, but continually struck home with players through the years. This is especially strange given that 90%+ of his players have probably never been to a farm except on field trips. For whatever reason, it sure helped when everyone was sick of spring practice/summer workouts/etc/.
This was his second favorite metaphor, but once again never seemed to lose its impact. His body motions of pushing the invisible snowball up the hill were always appreciated. Funny that his two favorite metaphors were about barns/snow, things that young men in Middle TN know very little about.
Whenever a military plane flew over practice, Coach halted everything as everyone stopped to honor the plane. There was always a debate about the validity of the “military” aspect of each plane and I’m pretty sure we saluted plenty of commercial flights, but the man loved this country and the men who serve.
100 Million Chinese Couldn’t Care Less
I always thought this statement was ridiculous, but somehow it rose above it all and did a pretty remarkable job of calming a lot of pre-game jitters.
When Coach would get going about something, he would start mumbling until it was utterly incoherent. This was naturally followed with laughter by everyone around, which was another specialty of his. He made everyone around him laugh.
“Girls are like the mountains. They’re pretty to look at, but you don’t wanna climb them.”
This was a one time occurrence I believe, so only a select few were privy of this one. He was giving us a speech before homecoming on making good choices with our dates when he dropped this little gem. Naturally, everyone burst into laughter and likely will never forget it.
I’m sure I’ve missed plenty of other great ones that I couldn’t remember or did not experience. Feel free to share others that were your favorites through the years.
Farewell for Now
I’ve never met anyone who has impacted as many lives as Coach Glenn McCadams. He has impacted thousands of young mens’ lives over the past several decades. Countless players view him as a mentor, friend, teacher, and (of course) coach. He was often a father figure to those who did not have a father at home. He loved the game of football and he loved to laugh. Coach, I know you are laughing now because you are finally home. “Love the Brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the King.” We miss you, but will see you again soon. Farewell for now, Coach.