HOLDING THE ROPE
CHAPTER # 1 !!!!!
# 1 > The second day of January 2010 started like any other during the last half century as the head coach of a college football team. I awoke at four o'clock in the morning, started a fresh pot of coffee, and was joined at the breakfast table by Ann, my wife of sixty years. Together, we spent an hour reading Scripture. Our ritual has always been to start with Genesis, and when we finish Revelation, we go back and read the entire Bible again. When we finish reading each morning, we spend several minutes praying together. God has answered so many of my prayers over the years that I'll never have enough time to thank Him for all my blessings. He blessed me with a wonderful family: my loving wife, six children and their spouses, twenty-one beautiful grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren. God also blessed me with the wonderful career He chose for me. I've always believed that God wanted me to be a football coach, that it was my calling. I believe God wants some people to be doctors, some to be lawyers, some to be teachers. I believe His purpose for me was to go into coaching and try to influence young men for Jesus Christ. He wanted me not only to teach them to be good people but also to surrender their lives to Him.
# 2 > But though it seemed a day like any other, January 2, 2010, really was different. For the first time in forty-eight years, I didn't wake up as the head coach of a college football team. But I'm hardly ready for retirement. As far as I'm concerned, my work is not done. God still has a plan for me, and it is to spread His word to as many young people as possible. It is what I tried to do as the head football coach at South Georgia College, Howard College, West Virinia University, and Florida State University, and it's what I'll continue to do during the final years of my life. It is no secret that I was not ready for my coaching career to end. I'd hoped to coach at Florida State for one more season. But after my team lost to the University of Florida, 37-10, in our final game of the 2009 regular season, I knew the end of my career might be near. We finished the 2009 regular season with a 6-6 record, and for the first time in my career as Florida State's coach, influential people were calling for me to retire.