30 years coaching experience/Worked Camps/Clinics on 5 Continents

Friday, September 28, 2012

My Friend, Mark Pangburn

(Mark is back row all the way to the left)
Last Thursday, the 27th, a friend of mine passed away after a ten month fight against cancer and its complications.  Mark Pangburn was a grandfather of three boys and the father of three sons (Micah, Matt, Dustin)  Those sons were former athletes at Henryville H.S. playing many different sports.  Mark was a loving husband to Patti who sat by his side until the end of this life.  Mark was an assistant baseball coach at Henryville High School for many years, an engineer, an avid golfer and fisherman.  Mark lived a happy life, one with mistakes and problems, but one full, happy, and content to the end.

Mark was a friend of mine since I was young, and I remember him in my late teens and early 20's, but I started helping Jeff Schroeder coach baseball at HHS and Mark was an assistant.  He had three boys that played and were pretty good players, respectful and hard workers.  Mark was usually in a good mood and excited to be around and helping kids and was excited about anything that he talked about from baseball to the current political situation to his fath in Jesus Christ.

About seven months ago as I was preparing to embark on my mission trip to Indonesia with Athletes in Action, I sent letters out to people to ask for prayer and financial support (I hate doing that, but it is part of mission trips).  I received a text message from his son Matt who told me to contact his father, Mark.  I did and I went out and spoke to him and his wife for about 3 hours.  We spoke about how I had grown in my faith and we talked about everything else that came up mostly centering on our faith.

Mark asked me to come to his church and to give my testimony both on my soon to be trip and dealing with the March 2nd tornado.  I did and the people there were nice praying for me multiple times.  Patti called me one night and said to come out to their house that the church had put some money together, so I obliged.  They gave me about a quarter of what I needed for the trip all because of the love and opinion of Mark Pangburn.

When I got back from Indonesia, I heard Mark was not doing as well and I went to see him.  He was tired of fighting and depressed.  After talking about my trip and experiences, I felt that he was ready to fight again, at least for a little while.  Then I was asked to attend Mark's church and give the presentation of my trip.  I did and Matt gave the sermon and had his father close the service.  Mark was the happiest, most content person I had ever been around at that moment and he took 10 minutes and said goodbye to everyone.  He knew he was dying, but he was happy to be going to heaven.  He wanted to spend his last few days making good memories for all those around who would be mourning his loss.

The last two weeks of his life, Mark Pangburn did what he loved to do.  He spent the time with family and friends on the golf course and fishing.  I received a text from Matt on Tuesday the 25th in which he said that his dad wouldn't be getting out anymore to stop by and see him.  I couldn't until Thursday the 27th, but clearly he had few days left.  I was there to tell Mark I loved him one last time and to help Patti, but how do you do that?  Say "I know how you feel"?  I didn't.  So I just sat and talked to her about how inspiring her husband had been to me the last seven months.  I told her that I had learned so much about my faith and about life just being around him during this time.

I got home Thursday night, just a few hours from my visit, spoke to my wife about Mark and then received a text from Matt that said "He is rejoicing now.  No more suffering."  And like that his battle with cancer was over and his trip home was complete.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

See You at the Pole 2012

Today was the Global Day of Student Prayer at Henryville H.S. and for any school who wanted to participate.  Our FCA made sure that it was announced and despite rain, lightning, and thunder, 42 students and staff participated in our Spurgeon Gym.

It was encouraging to me to see so many young people take the time out of their day to particpate in this student driven event.  It was just as encouraging to see the staff members that came to the gym to observe and support the students.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

See You at the Pole

Wednesday, September 25 is a global day of student prayer.  See You at the Pole at 7:35 AM at HHS.

Monday, September 24, 2012

"Go and Do Likewise"


 Luke 10:25-37

New International Version (NIV)

The Parable of the Good Samaritan

25 On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
26 “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”
27 He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind', and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”
28 “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”
29 But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
30 In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. 31 A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. 32 So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. 34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’
36 “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”
37 The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”
Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”

Fellowship of Christian Athletes (Anybody)

I am the FCA sponsor at my school, and I have been encouraged by doing it so much so that I could never explain in typed words.  I hope that I have influenced a couple of students in the time that I have done this sponsorship, but I guarantee you they have influenced me.

We meet this year every Tuesday morning at 7 AM and once every four weeks at 10:20 AM during school on our "black" days which is when clubs can meet.  We cover scripture, check out some music, and help the Christians at our school not feel isolated.

I look forward to the many things we will do this year from feeding the varsity athletes to doing Angel Tree for a child or 5 who may not be able to celebrate Christmas.  Every year I have been associated with students who are quality people and strengthen my faith.

Friday, September 21, 2012

For King and Country

The Proof of Your Love is a great new song by a new band with a great message, check it out. 

Brothers Joel and Luke are from Sydney, Australia.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

New Basketball Clinic in Southern Indiana

If you take the time and think about your life, I am willing to bet that through all of the problems, issues, and complaints of this life, we can count many blessings.  I also believe that those blessings are often situations or people that we take for granted.  Many of us have been given so much by people in our lives.  Somebody has helped us along the way to get where we want to be in our successes.

Once you realize how much you have been given or helped by other people you should feel a sense of giving back.  Providence girls' basketball coach Brad Burden is doing this very thing on Sunday, October 14th from 11:30 AM to 3:30 PM.

Coach Burden will be hosting a basketball coaching clinic with some local college coaches and high school coaches speaking.  IUS women's coach Robin Farris and Spalding's women's coach Charlie Just will be speaking about basketball from careers that have spanned many years.  Girls' state champion coach and now the successful boys' coach at Jeffersonville, Chad Gilbert, will also be speaking.  Finally, Providence boys' basketball coach Lou Lefevre will be speak on his thoughts and opinions about basketball.  Oh...some other guy will be giving a devotional (me) that hopefully won't bring the rest of the clinic down.

What these gentlemen and Coach Burden are doing is giving back to a sport that has given them so much.  They will be speak about something that they are passionate about (how often do we get that?) and have put many hours of thought and physical labor into.  I will speak, but I plan on being there early and staying after because how often do you get the opportunity to hear these guys speak about their lives and opinions on life and basketball?

You don't have to be a basketball coach to attend, everyone is invited.  You can be a coach of any sport or even a fan of the game who would love to hear what college coaches or Coach Gilbert or Coach Lefevre have to say.  There are a few things you can look forward to besides the knowledge of these coaches.

You will receive a free gift from Kratz Sporting Goods and Addidas and eat a lunch that is being provided by Roosers for $6.  A portion of the proceeds on the day will be donated to Catholic Relief Charities.  You can come for $25 or bring an entire coaching staff for $50.  The early bird deadline date is by the end of the day October 8th and then the registration fee will go up.  Take the time to come out and give back to Providence, to Catholic Relief Charities, to each other and also be able to take something away from the day also whether it be a gift or a greater appreciation for basketball coaches.

For more information, email Coach Burden at
or go to the website
for the brochure.




Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Public Speaking

Since the March 2nd tornado that destroyed our school at Henryville and I happened to be inside, I have been recommended to speak about my experience to many groups.  The Indiana University FCA rep Dave Hudson has done most of that recommending and I appreciate it.  Speaking in public is something that used to make me nervous and it still does to some point.  Because, I mean, why whould anyone want to hear what I have to say? 

When I practice a speech, it always seems to sound different in my head than it does when I actually give it.  I feel a responsibility to do a good job, whatever that means.  I probably am as insecure with that as anything I do because I feel that if you are recommended or asked, people should get their moneys worth (I don't get paid, so that takes some pressure off).

As I have spoken so much recently, I am finding that I have become less and less nervous before and during the speech.  I teach and have for going on 14 years, so getting up in front of people and talking is something I do for a living.  Speaking to a crowd of different kids and/or adults is definitely different and I am becoming more comfortable.

I have gotten to where I enjoy speaking to people.  I don't mind talking one on one or in small groups, so to move to larger groups seems natural and I enjoy it.  Again, I am not quite sure why people want to hear what I have to say, but as long as I am asked, I will prepare and do my best to do a "good job". 

I know that in speaking to basketball teams or other sports teams that I don't help coach, I can be much more honest than their coaches may be able to be.  I have no repercussions because I am just a volunteer brought in to speak.  It is actually refreshing to be able to say what I actually believe instead of sugar coating my words and I am smart enough when I am coaching to get right to the line of real trouble.  Some people it doesn't bother, me, it did.  I was able to get the point across without actually saying what most coaches believe.

I hope that speaking to groups is something that continues to present itself for me.  Not that I believe I have anything worth saying but because I enjoy it and maybe I can help in getting my faith across in some ways.  I can't think of something I enjoy doing more than speaking, sharing my faith, and feel that I have maybe said something that could inspire.  Maybe, just maybe I can do that.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Lee Strobel

You do not have to suspend intellect to believe.

Monday, September 10, 2012

It Won't Take 70 More Years

Silver Creek football defeated Eastern (Pekin) Saturday afternoon for a 44-18 victory.  It was unique because SC football hadn't won a game since 1942.  It is a little unfair to say it took 70 years to win because they just resurrected the program as a varsity team in 2010, but they still hadn't won a varsity game until the other day at Pekin.  The game had been called because of bad weather the night before, so SC had to board up and go back to Washington county with a 30-12 lead.  Not winning on a regular basis had quarterback Brooks Howell having nightmares Friday night before going back "every scenario was running through my head," he admitted.

As a Henryville resident, Henryville student/athlete and a former Henryville varsity coach, it can be a little hard to writ this, but good for them.  Congratulations on a well deserved victory a long time coming.  Maybe it is because my mother in law Anita McKinley has taught at SC elementary for so long, that my wife is a 1997 graduate of SC, that my kids attend SC schools or that Silver Creek H.S. stepped up to help Henryville H.S. win the Lady Antebellum prom contest post tornado, but good for the coaches, players and community.

The football team can be seen in Sellersburg by Highway 31 in front of the school working to improve every day which isn't different from most teams.  But they continued to work and have good attitudes even though they lost their only varsity game in 2010, went winless in 2011, and hadn't won yet this season.  I know I am not going out on a limb when I say it won't take 70 more years for victory #2, but I think it will come sooner than many expect.

I don't know head coach Mike Donahue, but I do know the offensive coordinator Dave Rooney and the defensive coordinator Tony Garrett.  Coach Rooney and Coach Garrett helped coach my daughter's softball team this summer at Silver Creek Little League and I got to know them. I came away impressed that these were the type of people helping Coach Donahue build the Silver Creek football team.

I talked football a little with Coach Rooney, and seeing his and Coach Garrett's attitudes about the SC football program was inspirational to me.  The little we spoke about football, they were positive and not about to give up any time soon on the players in the football program.  They were fun guys that I had zero problems allowing to coach my daughter because you could tell they cared about the kids and weren't coaching for themselves.  They never said a bad word about Coach Donahue (trust me, it can happen especially when not winning) and created in me a new SC football fan.

Those guys along with players like running back Lane Taylor who during the spring baseball season got my 4 year old son out doing a sliding drill with the SC baseball team making his day and probably week, make you feel good for rewarded effort.  When you get to know personally the people involved in any sporting endeavor and when they are quality people, you find yourself cheering a little bit more for them....even if you are from Henryville and they are Dragons.

Friday, September 7, 2012

You're Not Really Mad At Me

(The Godfather of Indonesian Basketball)

In coaching, we deal with many, many issues.  The issues we deal with are so numerous that it can feel like a 200 lb. weight on your shoulders sometimes, most of the time.  But the issue that wore on me the most was dealing with other people who were negative.  And I probably, in 7 years, had two face to face confrontations.  It was the negativity online and veiled comments that you knew were about you on facebook and twitter that were brought to my attention that finally wore me down.  I decided that the negativity was something I didn't want to deal with anymore, no matter the reason for it.

Negative people who attack are often not happy with some other element in their life that they cannot control, so they take it out on you.  I would say that 95% of the attacks on me as a coach were because of this issue.  People who could not control some issue of their life or someone who controlled zero issues in their life and they felt attacking me either online, face to face, or spreading negativity to other people gave them power.

I know this because in coaching at a smaller school I knew what most of the parents or fans were going through in their own lives.  And what they were dealing with was hard, no doubt, we all deal with issues in life that are not good sometimes.  They were able feel strength doing this to someone who wanted nothing but the best for their child.  But it is part of it, it is part of coaching and you either learn to deal with it or get out, I chose to get out....for now.

It is interesting that many of these people who cause issues with their words, whether written or spoken, are also the first to get upset when it is done to them.  James 3:8 says no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.  I could not agree more.  I know that when I am frustrated with issues at work, I have to make a concentrated effort to not take it out on my wife and kids.  It is a weakness in every single human being.  Really bad things are done to people every day, but something that we all struggle with on a day to day basis is our words. 

As a coach, I tried to remember that people who attacked me in some way were dealing with something in their own lives and they felt they were able to vent on me, usually in a passive-aggressive way.  I tried to remember that people weren't mad at playing time, or shots taken, they were mad at ex wives/husbands, their children, or their own parents.  They were mad, all right, but they really weren't mad at me....or maybe they were.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Mr. Jeff Leister

Last Friday, a recently retired Science teacher at Henryville High School passed away.  Mr. Leister's death was shocking to both the faculty and staff as he retired from teaching just this past May.

However, in his passing there have been numerous people that have reached out online to express their condolences.  The most impressive thing about this, to me, is that it isn't just recent graduates that have commented or expressed themselves.  Mr. Leister started teaching my senior year of high school in 1988 and to see the hundreds of people's lives he touched over the last 30 years is impressive.

When we retire, or pass away, we can only hope that many people will say good things about us.  More than likely good things will be said, but will they mean them?  The compliments and effects of Mr. Leister's teaching career have been heard loud and clear.  And those "good things" are meant by each and everyone who expresses themselves.

Keep the family and friends of Mr. Leister in your prayers as losing a loved one is never easy, but he can rest easier knowing that his life and it's ripples will continue on for generations here at HHS, but also in the world.