I want to preface this letter by saying that I do not know Coach Brooks.  I’ve never met the man outside of a 15 minute phone call with him earlier this morning to get details on his career achievements.  I am a coach.  At certain times, we need to have each other’s backs.  I don’t support the language that was used in the recording.  I do support him as a fellow coach.  And I really got ticked off last night reading this hack job of an article.  I HAD to stand up for coaches, and for a respectable man with a storied, Hall of Fame career, Coach Brooks.

 

Dear Mr. Girardot of the Pasadena Star News,

I am outraged at the article you wrote titled “Baseball coach’s crazy rant at La Mirada should get him fired.”

What got me so ticked off tonight after reading your article? Your arrogant, classless statements about Coach Brooks, his career, and the choice of ALL high school coaches to be high school teachers and coaches.

I use the term “article” loosely, because all you really did here was pile on this man, a man who has obviously made a big mistake with his choice of language in my opinion.  He is being bemoaned by the media nationwide.  So, it’s very easy for you to sit there behind your computer screen to pile on this man, I get that.  Here are some of the statements from your article that really tick me off, italicized and bold below.

“And to what end? The Suburban League championship? I got news for you, Coach Brooks. No one cares.”

I have got news for you Mr. Girardot, there are a LOT of people who care.  And I will start with the twenty young men on the Matadores’ baseball team.  Those kids care a whole heck of a lot.  Did you not think of these kids at all when you were going off on Coach Brooks?  For these kids, and especially the Seniors, the Suburban League Championship means a whole heck of a lot.  It’s what these kids have been playing for all season.  So, thank you very much for minimizing the pursuit of these kids, and of kids nationwide as they plan, prepare and perform to win a Championship. 

The other student-athletes at the school care too.  They care about the League Championship.  So do the non student-athletes.  And teachers, administrators, coaches from other sports at the school, the players’ parents, their grandparents, neighbors, alumni of La Mirada High School, little brothers, big sisters, little league coaches of these boys, probably some media in La Mirada, cafeteria workers and janitors at La Mirada High School, should I keep going?

All of these people care about a Suburban League Championship.  You know why?  It brings pride to the school, it brings pride to the community.  And it makes the kids feel good.  It makes them feel great when they get to put a patch on their lettermen’s jacket after the banquet, and raise a banner in the gym.

So, you are quite wrong that “nobody cares” sir, quite wrong.  There are MILLIONS of teenage student-athletes pursuing League Championships every single school year.

“Tommy Lasorda not only played professional baseball, he coached his team to the World Series. Billy Martin coached several PROFESSIONAL teams to championships.  What has Kim Brooks done?  Bully a bunch of children. That’s it.”

            What has Kim Brooks done?  Did you do any research here?  I know it was very convenient to throw the word bully in here, the media LOVES this word these days.  Why would you compare a high school coach to Tommy Lasorda and Billy Martin?  That’s just ridiculous.  That’s not very good writing.

Since you asked what Coach Kim Brooks has done, I will give you a list.

  1.  He has a juris doctorate degree, did you know that?
  2. He passed the California bar exam, pretty impressive for a little old high school coach, huh?!
  3. He’s raised over $100,000 for the students at La Mirada High School
  4. He ran a multi-million dollar business in Torrance before becoming a teacher and coach; that’s multi, meaning more than 1 million.
  5. He’s been inducted in to the California Coaches Association Hall of Fame, while STILL an active coach.
  6. College coaches trust him so much that all he has to do is pick up the phone and tell them about one of his student-athletes, and they come.  You can’t say this about a lot of high school coaches.  His kids have gone on to play at the best colleges in the nation: Stanford, Arizona, USC, Oklahoma, Houston, you name it.
  7. In 19 years as the Head Coach, his teams have won 15 of 19 Suburban League Championships.  15 of 19!
  8. He has coached in 10 CIF Championship games – 7 for football and 3 for baseball.  Most coaches are lucky to coach in 1 or 2 in their entire career.  He’s been in TEN!
  9. He has won 3 CIF Championships, again, something most coaches would love to do ONE time. He has done it THREE!
  10. He has averaged 20 wins/season as a Head Baseball Coach; you will be hard pressed to find many coaches with this accomplishment under his belt.
  11. He has been appointed to the CIF Baseball Advisory Committee, something reserved for the most trusted and respected coaches only.
  12. Just about every newspaper in the La Mirada and surrounding area has named him their baseball Coach of the Year at one time or another.
  13. He has received numerous Coach of the Year awards from his league and CIF Section.
  14. He has been called late at night by parents that need HIS help with their son.
  15. He has consoled crying moms and dads and kids in his office when they come to him as a “family counselor.”  They can’t figure out their own problems, but Coach Brooks can.

I don’t know what you think about this list Sir, but I think it’s a pretty darn impressive one.  It’s filled with honor, prestige, glory and a life lived to serve kids.

So what has Kim Brooks done?  A whole hell of a lot, wouldn’t you say?

“In that light, perhaps someone should yell at Brooks for his lack of achievement in life.”

            A juris doctorate degree, running a million dollar company, passing the California bar exam – this equals a “lack of achievement in life” to you huh sir?  Wow!!

            What an arrogant statement this is.  Again, did you do any research?  Did you talk with any of Coach Brooks’ players?  Former players?  Supervisors?  Or just pound away on your keyboard?

“Lack of achievement in life?”  A life spent in coaching will surely influence and have more “achievement” than being the editor of a newspaper.  Do you have former employees stop by, call you, email you about how great of a boss you were, tell you how much of an influence you had on them?  Do you get invited to the weddings of employees you supervised 10 years ago?  Have you had a baby named after you, by one of your former employees or writers that you supervised?

I love this poem by Grant Teaff, the Executive Director of the American Football Coaches Association.  Maybe this will give you a little insight in to the achievement of a coach.

            A Coach’s Influence

I dreamed a dream, but I had my doubts.
“You can do it,” he said, “I’ll teach you how.”
I tried and tried, he said I should.
I gave it my best, he knew I would.
Lessons taught on the field of strife,
Have been invaluable, as I’ve faced life.
When challenges come my way,
I always think, what would he say?
His inspiring words I hear even now,
“You can do it. I taught you how.”
Now, others dream, and have their doubts.
I say, “You can do it, I’ll teach you how.”
The influence continues.

“Seriously, who grows up wanting to be a high school baseball coach?”

            Wow!  This statement fired me up more than anything you said!

Who grows up wanting to be a high school coach?  Thousands of people!  Thousands!  What a horrible, offensive slap in the face to every high school coach in America!  You owe us all an apology Sir.  This arrogant statement really upset me.  I’ve coached high school football for thirteen years, and baseball for two.  I wanted to be a coach at a very young age.  When my dad coached me in little league baseball, that’s when I knew I wanted to be a coach someday. So, I grew up wanting to be a coach.  Am I some kind of “lesser” person because my life’s pursuit has been to teach and coach the next generation?  Your statement offends me.  Your statement disgusts me.

   Do you have ANY clue what it’s like to coach high school athletics? 

It can be a freaking nightmare these days.  We make next to nothing.  It’s honestly one of the biggest waste of times a person could make.  It really makes no sense to even coach high school athletics.  Most of us LOSE money as a coach.  We make $2000 or $3000 for an entire year’s worth of coaching if we are lucky.  Some simply volunteer their time.  And by time I mean 20-30-40 hours a week sometimes.  We get to school at 600 or 630 sometimes to grade papers, prepare for the day in the classroom, then we teach 4-5-6 periods.  Then we go to practice from 2:00-5:00 pm.  Then we leave at 5:45 when the last parent shows up.  We might stay to fix equipment, or write practice plans for the next day.  On game days, we work a good 7:00 am to 11:00 pm day.  And oh yeah, we don’t get overtime.

The more successful our teams are, the less we make.  Did you know that?  If our teams are lucky enough to go to the playoffs, we still work.  Most of our schools don’t pay us for that.  So, let’s say we coach for an extra 1, 2, or 4 weeks in the case of playing for a CIF Championship, that’s all unpaid work for the great majority of us.  But that’s the choice we make.

Most of don’t get a dime for the summer programs we run, we don’t make a penny for the offseason weightlifting program.  We usually don’t get reimbursed for gas traveling to scout games, or driving kids to games because schools don’t pay for busses.  We spend an average of $486 in our classrooms on a yearly basis too.

So, I can see why you arrogantly asked “Who grows up wanting to be a Coach?”  I know, it’s a ridiculous, stupid choice we have all made.  We are a bunch of idiots.

“Seems like he settled somewhere along the line now he’s taking it out on the kids.”

            So, now high school coaches have “settled?”  Wow!  Have you settled in your job there as an Editor for the Pasadena Star News?  I checked to see where your paper ranks in the 100 Top Newspaper Circulations In The United States.  According to the sources I checked, such as MondoTimes.com, your newspaper doesn’t rank in the Top 130 papers in the nation.

Pasadena, a town of 137,122 people according to the 2010 census should have a paper that ranks a lot higher than papers from West Palm Beach, Florida (102K), Allenown, PA (118K), Roanoke, VA (97K), or Walnut Creek, CA (66K).  But you aren’t beating these cities with your publication.  Are you settling for that job sir? Wouldn’t it be so much better to be working for a better newspaper?  One in the top 10?  Or top 50? Or at least top 100 newspapers in the nation?  I mean, the Contra Costa Times is ranked higher than you guys, and you’re in one of the largest markets (Southern California) in the world.  Are you settling for that job?

 “I say, stay classy La Mirada. Show this loser the door.”

If the district does “stay classy,” whatever that might mean to you, I will say that they will be much more classy than an editor sitting behind the safety of his own desk calling another grown man a loser.

I mean, that would be like a grown man cussing at kids wouldn’t it?

Respectfully,

Chris Fore, MA, Certified Athletic Administrator

 

Chris Fore is a Certified Athletic Administrator and thirteen year football coach from Southern California.  He has a Master’s degree in Athletic Administration.  He maintains a popular blog at CoachFore.org; consulting business can be found at EightLaces.org. He helps coaches nationwide at both the high school and college level with their career search and program development.  He is the author of Building Championship-Caliber Football Programs, An Insider’s Guide To Scoring Your Next Coaching Job and the Shield Punt e Clinic.

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