The score was 42-14. East had the ball on Olathe North’s 40 yard line. With only enough time to run one last play, there was no chance they could pull out this playoff win. After an off-tackle play, a blow of the whistle, and a congratulations to the victorious Eagles, Chip Sherman’s first season as head coach- and the 2010 seniors’ last season- was over.
Most coaches wouldn’t work with their senior players ever again. But not Sherman.
Even though his season is over, Sherman hasn’t stopped coaching. Now, though, he’s preparing 23 players for a different kind of challenge than running a multiple set offense against tough D. He’s preparing them for college.
Sherman has offered to help his seniors with their college applications this year should they need assistance, making himself available as a source of information and guidance.
“I’ve kind of put coaching and counseling together,” Sherman said. “My season’s not over ‘til we get [the] kids settled. My job is to get them through the end of the school year.”
If a player needs a letter of recommendation, he’ll write it. If a player wants to play football in college, he’ll make the required phone calls, send the tapes and arrange the meetings. If a player needs to take the ACT or SAT, he’ll make sure it happens. He’s even got booklets with sample questions, and will pay testing fees if necessary.
Players and parents are grateful for the assistance, and think it reflects on the type of person Sherman is.
“I think it shows that he’s not just a football man, but that he’s really concerned about our future and about developing us into men,” senior lineman Jake Fleming said.
Jake’s dad, Mike Fleming, agrees.
“The first semester of senior year, football players spend more time at school and practice than they do at home…and by having Sherman, who I consider to be an excellent role model, [help out] it’s a win-win situation for everybody.”
While Sherman appreciates the kind words, recognition and praise are not the reason he chooses to offer his assistance.
“When I started coaching I always thought that when a kids signs on with you, they sign on for the long term,” Sherman said. “I’ve always felt I could help kids make that transition from my program to the workforce or college or the military or whatever they want to do.”
While this is a new experience for the football team, it’s nothing new for Sherman. He’s made it his business to lend a hand wherever possible in all 30 years of his career as a coach and teacher- whether it’s getting glasses for a student or buying insurance for a kid in need of dental work.
“In 30 years you’re going to run into everything,” Sherman said. “Many, many situations you can never plan for.”
And that’s why Sherman likes to remember this saying: “In a world of billions, in a country of millions, one person can make a difference.”
In the coming months, you can be sure to find Coach Sherman working with his seniors and making a difference in the next four years of their future.