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G7D Spotlight: Western Kentucky Football Spring Game

Game7Dads and family were on campus for the 2013 Western Kentucky University Red/White Spring football game. I wanted to share the event and spotlight some of the outstanding student-athletes we were able to meet.** It was a fantastic Saturday afternoon, spent with my wife and 3 sons:

Family_Crash01      Family_Smash01     Family_Slash

Crash*                                    Smash*                                  Slash*



Family_Kawaun_01The boys started the day sharing seats with some greats from the 2012 senior class, QB Kawuan Jakes (left) and RB Bobby Rainey (right).


We caught some of the action from the game.


The Bobby Petrino era has begun at Western Kentucky. Coach Petrino called the offensive plays for both teams.







QB Brandon Doughty (12) drops back for a pass.






RB Antonio Andrews (5) looks for running room to the right.






The Red defense, anchored by DB Tyree Robinson (22), gets set up.




The afternoon concluded with an opportunity to meet the players on the field for autographs.



One of the nation’s top running backs, Antonio Andrews. Andrews led the Sun Belt Conference in rushing yardage in 2012 with 1684, good for 8th-best in FBS.






Following the game, the boys met DB Cam Thomas right away. Cam signed his receivers gloves and gave them to the boys.



07_smith_autoSlash 07_smith_auto_SlashMeet our family’s new favorite Hilltopper. Quarterback Demarcus Smith comes to WKU as a transfer from the University of Central Florida. Smith, a Louisville, KY native, is a former four-star recruit. Demarcus not only gave his autograph, but request autographs from Crash and Slash, as well. Demarcus was truly a class act! Read more about his journey to WKU here.


22_robinson_auto 22_robinson_auto02One of our sons’ favorites, DB Tyree Robinson. So glad to have this guy in the defensive backfield one more year. Check out some of his handiwork here.




32_jones_thumbsupOne of my favorites, FB Kadeem Jones. Kadeem did not dress for the game and I did not find our why. I thought I was being slick taking this pic from behind the autograph line, but KJ caught me. Check out the ring … that’s what you get for LOSING the Little Caesar’s Bowl. Can’t wait to see this year’s Orange Bowl Championship ring!



autotable_LBs02_CrashSlash autotable_LBs01_Crash


The best linebacking duo in the country: senior Andrew Jackson (sitting, right) and senior Xavius Boyd (sitting, left)



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To put a period on the day, we bid the Sun Belt Conference a fond “adieu,” and got a famly pic in the end zone.




We had a great day getting to know the 2013 Hilltopper team. We appreciate the coaches and student-athletes who gave the crowd an awesome experience. We’re ready for Septmeber!

We’d like to hear about your spring game experience with your favorite college team. Comment below, or find us on Facebook and Twitter.


*No, these aren’t real names. See Game7Dads’ Privacy Policy

** A big THANKS to my fantastic in-laws for all the great photos they took at the game!

A Tale of Two Coaches or On Coaches In Big-Time Sports and the Fathering Role

Coaches at all level of sport take on a fathering role for the young men and women they coach. For far too many athletes, a male coach may be the only father-figure they will encounter on a regular basis. In his book Championship Fathering, Carey Casey identifies coaching as a major tenant of fathering:

We may never walk the sidelines of a professional football field or pace the hardwood floor in Madison Square Garden during an NBA game. But our coaching challenge as dads is infinitely more important. Teams come and go, and sports are just sports, but our children are for keeps. They are immortal beings whose destinies we help to shape.1

As a coach myself, I try to be mindful of that role whenever I step onto the court or field.

This role becomes bigger as athletes move into higher levels of competition, and, I believe, becomes most prominent at the collegiate level, when athletes move away from their homes and families, many for the first time. And it never ceases to amaze me how differently coaches choose to fulfill that role.

If you saw the horrific injury sustained by Louisville guard Kevin Ware during Sunday’s NCAA South Regional Final game, you no doubt also saw and heard the reactions of his teammates, fans, the CBS commentators, and his coach, Rick Pitino. Pitino, along with Ware’s teammates, as well as members of the Duke team, were visibly shaken, and with good reason. If you watched, you saw coach Pitino shedding tears for his fallen player.

Fast forward to some more recent news. On Tuesday, ESPN’s Outside the Lines aired video showing Rutgers University head coach Mike Rice Jr. shoving, hitting, verbally berating, and throwing basketballs at players during Scarlet Knight practices. The video, while definitely not comparable to scenes out of “Braveheart”, is, when taken in the context of a coach interacting with young men whose welfare has been entrusted to him, is appalling. Rice’s actions are simply the latest in a far too long line of poor practices and decisions made by coaches which include Bobby Petrino, Mike Leach, Billy Gillispie, Jerry Sandusky, and Louisville’s Rick Pitino.

Yes, I am well aware of Coach Pitino’s character flaws. Not only is there adequate documentation of the 2009 case of extortion against Pitino which resulted from his infidelity with the wife of the team’s equipment manager, but I have personally heard eyewitness account of the coach’s less than amicable behavior.

I am equally sure that Mike Rice Jr. would be described as a likable person by his family, players, pastor, etc. Keep in mind that I’m not judging Coach Rice himself, only his actions. I am sure that if the roles were reversed, Coach Rice would not stand over a player who had 6 inches of bone protruding from his leg and call him a “s–sy b–ch.”

Rick Pitino is no saint. Neither is Mike Rice. But guess what …neither am I, as a coach, a father, a husband, or a Christian.

Coaches bring different levels of intensity to their jobs. As a coach, I would fall under the description of “firey,” but a different kind of firey that Rutgers AD Tim Pernetti applied to Rice, i.e., I don’t put my hands on my players, outside of your standard high-fives or motivational smack on the bottom. You have your Rick Pitinos, your Mike Ditkas, and your Coach Ks. And you have your equally successful Tony Dungys, Phil Jacksons, and Les Mileses.

Dads, if you coach your son or daughter’s athletic team(s), then you are very blessed. Next to “daddy,” there is no title I would rather wear than “coach.” If you are a coach, you may provide more of a fathering role to your players than you know. Even if you aren’t a coach, you still fill that role for your sons and/or daughters, and possible to kids not biologically related to you. A coach is simply a teacher, a teacher of sports. And none of us would argue that we don’t play the role of teacher to our kids.

Someday, I will no longer be a coach to my kids in their athletic endeavors. God willing, one day I will relinquish that role to a young man or woman (or an old one) who will sit in my home and promise me that he will look after my son like he were his own. And I will hold him to that promise, to as high a standard as I hold myself when looking after my kids, and those who have been entrusted to me, if only for a couple of hours a week.

Hold yourself to a high standard, dad. And remember: while you may not have the YouTube machine watching you, someone very special is. Always.

1. Casey C. (2009). Championship Fathering. Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Books. Retrieved from

UPDATE, 4/3/2013:

Coach Rice had been fired by Rutgers.

UPDATE, 4/4/2013:
Video coverage of Coach Rice’s comments on his firing have been released. I commend Coach Rice for owning up to his actions and expressing a desire to change. Part of being a dad is admitting when we are wrong and making a commitment to change unhealthy habits.

Let The Madness Begin!

Join Our Bracket Challenge at

Selection Sunday is just 2 days away!

That’s right, just 2 short days until the kickoff of a 23-day holiday for college hoops fans. At around 5:30 p.m. CDT this Sunday, fans across the country will begin a series of excruciating decision-makng processes that include, but are not limited to:

  • Do I take the 5 or the 12 here?
  • Will all the #1 seeds make it through?
  • When did they get 68 teams? … and finally,
  • Is this the year a 1 goes down to a 16?
Coins will be flipped, eeny-meeny-miney-moes will be incanted, and office production will shut down nationwide as fans everywhere strive to become “Bracket Champion of All Time!”
Game7Dads is joining the madness by hosting a CBS Bracket Manager group, and all are welcome! If you have not received an invitation via Facebook or email, you can do so by following this blog, liking us on Facebook, or emailing us at You can also join directly at Password to join is oneanddone. Scoring will be as follows:

    • 1st round – 2 points per game, plus team seed bonus, i.e. if you correctly pick #10 over #7, you get 2 points + 10 points for the seed bonus
    • 2nd round – 3 points per game, plus team seed bonus
    • Regional Semis – 4 points per game, plus team seed bonus
    • Regional Finals – 8 points per game, plus team seed bonus
    • Final Four – 16 points per game, no seed bonus
    • National Title Game – 32 points, no seed bonus
    • Tie-breaker will be total points scored in title game
    • (Note: “1st round” refers to the round of 32 games … I personally do not count the 4 play-in games as a “round”)

But wait, there’s more … prizes, sort of. Runner-up of the G7D challenge will receive a copy of Carey Casey’s Championship Fathering, and a $25 donation made in their honor to the National Center for Fathering. The winner will receive a copy of the book and a $75 donation. So please sign up and help us benefit the NCF.

The only rule is: dads, involve your kids. This shouldn’t be difficult if they are basketball fans, but even if they aren’t, get their input, and watch the games together to see how your picks unfold. The whole idea here is to enjoy the games together. You may have to endure your child picking a 16-seed over a #1 because they like the mascot, but that’s how it goes!

Subscribe to the blog here and join us on Facebook for updates and insights as the tournament unfolds. Have fun and enjoy the madness!