On The Importance Of Sportsmanship

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Question:  You are often praised for promoting things that speak to the betterment of the game at a higher level, such as sportsmanship, a coach’s demeanor on the sideline during games and player safety. Why do you feel it’s important that football coach’s show themselves as leaders in these areas?

Ott Hurrle:  “Well, I’m sure that you could find a player or two who might testify that I don’t always keep myself composed and calm on the sideline during games. But as far as sportsmanship goes, I just feel that it’s a great way to show respect to the great game of football.

“I’ve told my players that Scecina Memorial – as a program – is going to do things the right way. We’re going to play the game the right way, we’re going to behave the right way and we’re going to win the right way.

“I’ve had seasons where we’ve had 50 or 60 points scored against us – and it didn’t feel very good. So when we get a big lead on someone, I always look to substitute our backups into the game because a) it helps protect your starters from injuries, b) it gets your backups and young players some much-needed snaps during live-game action, and c) it shows respect for the feelings of your opponent

“Like I said, we’ve been on the bad end of a blowout, where an opponent was running the score up on us and it was a bad situation for everybody involved. And the following year, we had a chance to get revenge on an opponent and do the same thing to them. And some coaches on my staff were encouraging me to apply some payback. But I told them that we don’t do that to an opponent, no matter who they are or what they’ve done to us. Poor sportsmanship is not how we carry ourselves as a football program.

“Football is too great a game to let your ego get in the way and tarnish it by disrespecting your opponent.”

Ott Hurrle is head coach of Scecina Memorial (Ind.) High School and winner of the American Football Coaches Foundation (AFCF) 2014 Power Of Influence Award. Make sure to check out the cover story in the November/December 2014 issue of This Is AFCA magazine to read more about Coach Hurrle. We Go Big!

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