Coach the Kid at the End of the Bench
Coached over 2400 athletes in THREE Sports
Baseball • Football • Basketball
Many believe Gordie was the greatest coach of all time.
Gordie Gillespie: Coach the Kid at the End of the Bench
The goal of the book is for us to learn how Gordie did it, how he motivated so many young athletes, and then pass on what he has taught us.
Gordie always said that the athletic arena is the best classroom there is: if you understand what Gordie is saying you’ll see many other “classrooms” around you in which you can pass it on.
Only once in the stored history of the ABCA (American Baseball Coaches Association) did a coach receive a standing ovation from 6000 mesmerized coaches. He had been preparing this speech on the philosophy of coaching for years and here was the perfect vehicle to give it, but he feared ridicule. He thought they expected his secrets to winning games; he wanted to give them his secrets to winning the hearts and minds and personal development of their athletes.
To do the speech justice you have to picture Gordie’s style. It is a cross between Billy Graham, Elmer Gantry and Mother Theresa. At times he’s calm, even quiet and whispering; but then he roars with passion. And he was passionate about this material, so it included a lot of fire and brimstone.
“I’ve never coached a player I haven’t loved. I’ve been blessed that way. It’s why we should be in this profession.”
How Significant are Gordie’s Achievements?
If you just look at the numbers and the championships, perhaps the four years from the summer of 1974 to the fall of 1978 are arguably the finest production Gordie had. His Lewis College baseball teams and Joliet Catholic High School football teams were overmatched, undersized and thought little of by the pundits, but they won seven championships in those four years against great odds…
Three National Championships/Winningest Collegiate Baseball Coach/ National Coach of the Year 3 times
Five Illinois High School Football Championships and fifteen league championships
I think the key for any coach to be successful is respect. The coach should be an authority figure, perhaps be a little intimidating to the player, but he must also earn the respect of the player. Two coaches who personify this idea of respect are...
Gordie and my St. Francis teammates had a tremendous influence on me, also. We suffered through a lot of low times but I learned how to bounce back from defeat through Gordie’s coaching. I hope that I can pass onto the young men I coach the same...