Monday, March 3, 2014

Coach Frank Hall: A Man of True Character

An unforgettable episode aired recently on the CBS show, 60 minutes. Without question, it’s my favorite one to date, highlighting a man whose life will inspire you to be a better person.

Coach Frank Hall was on duty in the Chardon High School cafeteria on the morning of February 27, 2012, when a 17 year-old student walked in and fired 10 rounds into the crowd of students. Six students went down, and Coach Hall immediately chased the student even as the gunman fired his weapon at the coach. The student ran out the building and was caught shortly afterwards by police in the woods. The coach returned to the cafeteria to comfort the injured students as best he could until the medics arrived. Three students had injuries so severe, they did not survive.

No doubt, the coach's actions saved many other lives that day.

Many viewers, as I did, probably thought this story would move into a political statement about stronger gun control laws or a study of why our schools are less safe today.

But that’s not the direction it took.

Instead, we were given a very special gift: the picture of a man whose very being is a finely tuned work of character.

Coach Hall had prepared for this day by the way he lived every minute of his life. He and his wife have four adopted sons, and they're raising these children in a loving environment with clearly stated boundaries, expectations and values.

He was the beloved assistant coach of the football team, inspiring his players daily to give their best effort.

But the memories of that day haunted him. And then he decided to leave that school to become the head coach of a nearby school where the kids “needed him more.”

The turn-around in the lives of those football players was dramatic. One incident in particular illustrates the ripple effect Coach Hall’s leadership had on each player on that team.

One of the football players had “smarted off” to a teacher in the school. Coach Hall required every player on the team to apologize to that teacher, not just the offending player. Two of the players talked about this on-camera and you could tell that they agreed with the coach’s mandate. All the players developed a sense of accountability – individually and for each other. The entire dynamic changed, and they went on to win all but one of their games that season.

Invest 13 minutes to watch this segment (13:26). You’ll discover the power of one human being to touch the lives of others in a profound, lasting way.

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