I had the honor to be invited to a prayer breakfast this morning by a good friend who knows I love football. Dan Reeves was to be the keynote and he thought I’d enjoy the conversation. He could not have been more right.
Dan Reeves is the former head football coach for the Atlanta Falcons. He was also the head coach at Denver. He played professional football for Tom Landry in Dallas who he spoke of as a ‘Christian Coach’ and one of his early inspirational mentors.
Dan Reeves has played/coached in 9 Super Bowls, more than anyone else. Quite an impressive resume. But through it all, he has remained grounded in who he is as a man, coach, husband (of 50 yrs to his high school sweetheart), father (of 3) and grandfather (of 7).
Coach Reeves spoke of his early years and his ‘drug problem’ where his mom ‘drug him to church and Sunday School’ while his then absent father, an alcoholic, would be off on a weekend bender. However, as Dan Reeves spoke of his father’s decision to get clean he broke down in tears and thus made me cry too. His father knew he would need someone to hold him up on his journey to sobriety and turned to his faith to help make it happen. His father turned his own life around and the life of Dan Reeves would never be the same.
Reeves went on to college at the University of South Carolina where he was a quarterback for the team and broke numerous records. He was undrafted out of school but was picked up by the Dallas Cowboys. He only played about 8 years before he turned to coaching. He was mentored by Tom Landry, one of the classiest guys in professional football who taught him to be himself and tell the truth.
As a coach for the rest of his professional life, Reeves often relied on his faith and used it to inspire players. Clearly he had great success. He has an overall winning record in his 23 years as a head coach along with 4 more Super Bowl appearances. But beyond that, he is an overall classy guy, a gentleman and a gentle man with a big heart.