Have had many requests to blog about the ongoing basketball season. That’s coming but that will wait for another day. Suffice it to say, it’s been a great ride thus far and the teams and student body have made it a lot of fun.
But that will wait for another day.
The Black Crowes and Jealous Again are on in the background.
The big man has left the building.
Now former Dordt College football coach John Heavner finished cleaning out his office, and, if all goes according to plans, is on the road heading south at the moment.
Seven years ago Heavner arrived on campus fresh off a stint at Southwest Missouri State where he as an assistant coach. Before that he was at East Central in Ada, Oklahoma, his alma mater, serving on that coaching staff. A football coach that believed Reformed doctrine. A rare combination, to say the least.
John took on the monumental task of building a football program at a campus where the idea of football was a foreign one to many. Shoot, just getting a team on the field to play the club season of 2007 was a major accomplishment. The first year he was here by himself, doing everything from interviewing for a coaching staff, ordering the practice gear and uniforms, finding players that would come and join the endeavor, the list goes on and on.
Then there was the first conference win, a shocking decision over Concordia in year one of varsity football. It all culminated with a pair of wins this season and a pair of close games in conference that really, could have gone either way.
There were also the signs to those watching that there was progress. Fewer three and outs, more yardage on offense, sustained drives and fewer turnovers this season.
This coaching business isn’t for the faint of heart. Watching John he literally poured everything he had into his job. Decisions he made were not for his good, but for the good of a football program that he was sweating over for five season—four of them varsity campaigns. I got the sense that he just didn’t have much more to give at the conclusion of this season, and he did what he thought was best for the program and stepped aside.
Now some may debate whether that was for the best of the program. And you know what? When you are dealing with a group of 110 young men and families, opinions are going to be varied but I don’t think anyone can dispute the fact that Heavner met many challenges and passed many tests.
And now he is gone.
The big personality, high energy coach will take his talents elsewhere.
And he will probably coach again.
Because that’s what coaches do.
They love the competition.
They love the practice.
They love the players they coach–even when it’s difficult.
They love the process in each season.
And they love doing it over and over again.
It’s what they do.
There will be challenges.
And I have no doubt he will meet them.
Sometimes through the course of the season or a career we don’t thank people enough for the work they do, oftentimes in the shadows and out of the limelight. That’s the challenge I am making to myself this season–thank people who need it and deserve it.
John, thank you.
It’s been an honor and a pleasure.