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  • Writer's pictureKatie Madyun

A Coach Who Inspires: Coach Romeo Crennel shares words of wisdom.

Original article written by Rachel MacPherson and published by Time for Kids. See original article here!

A supportive, instructive coach can make all the difference when someone is learning a sport. Coaches are often former athletes who want to share their love of the game with the next generation. Great coaches strive to foster their players’ enthusiasm, skills, and confidence. 

One of these great coaches is Romeo Crennel, who coached football for more than 50 years—39 of them in the NFL. He has five Super Bowl rings to his name. 

Your Hot Job spoke to Crennel about his journey. He offered inspiring tips for anyone interested in becoming a coach themselves. Read his words below.

“Football is not about who you are, it’s about what you do.”

Crennel was drawn to football at a very young age because it was all about how he could support his team—first as a defensive player, and later as an offensive lineman. He says that he measured his success by what he could give back to his colleagues.

Crennel thrived when surrounded by others. This was especially true on the field, where he earned the trust of his teammates and coaching staff. He knew then that helping others excel, while recognizing their true potential on and off the field, was what he wanted to do.

“With extreme honor came immense pressure.”

On February 1, 2005, Crennel speaks to the media at Alltel Stadium, in Jacksonville, Florida. He was defensive coordinator for the New England Patriots at the time. A few days later, the team went on to win the Super Bowl.

Crennel graduated from Western Kentucky University in 1969. There, he began his career as a graduate assistant coach. He was the school’s first Black coach—and, he adds, the only Black individual on staff.

While Crennel says this was an extreme honor for him, he adds that it was also a lot of pressure. “I felt as though I always needed to be at my best to help others realize that the color of my skin, as well as the color of the skin for all who aspired to be a coach after me, had nothing to do with the game of football or coaching,” he says.

Crennel later went on to become the first Black head coach in Houston Texans franchise history. He wants people who feel like there are roadblocks to success to know that they can overcome those obstacles. He also wants those same people to know that they are worthy.

“We help others—teammates, fellow coaches, aspiring players, and fans—recognize what it takes to be successful, both on and off the field.”

Are you interested in becoming a coach? Crennel says that loving the game isn’t the only important thing. You must also thrive in what he calls a “people environment.”

He explains that coaches support players in all aspects of life, including overcoming obstacles. “We celebrate their success,” he adds, “and we challenge their perspective.”

On December 18, 2011, while interim head coach for the Kansas City Chiefs, Crennel stands on the sidelines during a game against the Green Bay Packers, in Kansas City, Missouri.

“Follow your inspiration, and value yourself and others. And remember, there is no substitute for hard work and a winning attitude supported by honor, character, and integrity.”

Crennel encourages students to find their purpose and pursue it with great passion and conviction. If being a coach is something that inspires you and you are motivated by helping others, he says, you should work toward your dream. 

A job as a coach can shape players more than most people realize. Crennel says that many of his athletes have gone on to become great parents and role models. It’s rewarding to see players grow to be people “of strong character, honor, and integrity,” he says.

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