Whenever I talk to a high school coach who quit, they always say the kids were great, but the parents drove them crazy. Doesn’t matter what sport.
But when I coached the Ann Arbor Huron High School hockey team, I was lucky. Yes, getting to know the players was the best part, and now, seven years after I stepped down, I’m going to their weddings. What I didn’t expect, though, was becoming lifelong friends with their parents, too.
The team we took over hadn’t won many games, but after we had a decent first season, three hot shots showed up at our door. They had all been coached by Fred Fragner, who once played for the Junior Red Wings.
Whenever these boys blew a great scoring chance, or received a bad call or got whacked with a stick, Fred always told them, with a grin, “Three words: Be a man.” By the time they came to Huron, all three were just that.