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Issue Date: September 2013


Why We Love Football: Chuck Kyle

As St. Ignatius' head coach, Kyle has won more than 300 games and 11 state championships. This month, he will be inducted into the Greater Cleveland Sports Hall of Fame.
Interview by Pat McManamon

  »  I just wanted to teach English and do a little coaching. I had no grand plan.

  »  One of the goals at the end of the class is just to be able to say, "Geoffrey Chaucer, William Shakespeare, I enjoyed that."

  »  Years ago all kids would eat would be peanut butter and jelly. And then, hey ... Chipotle. You had to take that first bite to find out.

  »  I would like to read more than I do. Being an English teacher, they forgot to tell you in college how much time it takes to check papers.

  »  I've given in to technology. It takes me 25 minutes to get here and 25 minutes to get home, so I can get a book on CD.

  »  I just finished listening to Founding Faith. So much is written about the Founding Fathers of our nation philosophically, but the Revolution had a lot to do with religion.

  »  George Washington, because who gave him a manual to do what he did? The poor guy. He had to figure it out. Then all the guy wanted, really, was to be a gentleman farmer in Mount Vernon. He had to go lead an army. Come on, that's an army? But he's the only one who could pull it together. Then he's got to be the first president. Who defined what the presidency was? Nobody gave him a manual.

  »  It's not a 9-to-5 job for me. It's more than that. I don't count hours. It's mentally, spiritually and physically — I always preach those three — a strong part of what I do. What I am.

  »  We don't talk a lot about winning. I talk about being mentally, physically and spiritually prepared for any challenge you face in your life. We're going to learn how to prepare for any challenge.

  »  We need to feel that we outwork people. Forty-eight minutes is not enough time for talent alone to win a game.

  »  Every school, every situation has the rock that you have to roll up the hill. There's nothing on the entrance exam — and it's an entrance exam — that says how big you are and how fast you are and how many years of athletics you played and what sport. You got to show you're a college-bound student to get in here. And there's tuition. This is pay-to-play. Big-time pay-to-play. It's always been pay-to-play.

  »  We hear the private school recruiting thing a lot, and it's a very big concern for me. When they separate public and private, the states that have done it, it hasn't worked.

  »  We have never lost to a private school in the playoffs. It's a matter of record. We have lost to public schools in the playoffs. Good programs, because we come prepared. We work hard to be prepared and so did they.

  »  I've always believed winning is an earned blessing.

  »  Each week, what did we do? Let's work on this. That's about all I can handle.

  »  At Magnificat, they'd have a father-daughter dance, and they used to have a dance contest. When I'd come home, [my daughters, especially Anne, would] put music on and we'd dance. We almost had a little routine by the time we got to high school.

  »  I take some pride in the idea that maybe people say, "Good guy, he's doing it right; it's not like he's looking to move on to college." No, I'm a high school teacher and I coach.


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