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Two longtime South Jeffco coaches teach players about life

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By Deborah Swearingen

If you’re ever looking for Brian Goodwin or Lee Adkins, chances are you’ll find them on the football field.

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They live and breathe football and have for most of their lives. Both men played as youngsters and went on to compete at their respective high schools — Chatfield Senior High School for Goodwin and Bear Creek High School for Adkins. After graduation, both played at the college level.

Football is part of them, but the game is much more than a sport. It’s an opportunity to teach players discipline and respect and to mold young boys into men. And for more than 20 years, that’s what they’ve been doing as youth football coaches with the South Jeffco Sports Association.

“(Football) offers some great things as far as learning how to deal with adversity in your life,” Goodwin said. “ … Hopefully they become good stewards of the community. We try to teach them to respect women, girls and children and to be, just, good boys and hopefully one day become good men.”

“Twenty, 30 years from now, they’re not going to remember the score of the games,” Adkins added. “They are going to remember being on time, being where you’re supposed to when you’re supposed to, being accountable to someone above them.”

Both said they were inspired to coach from experiences they had with coaches early in life. They see coaching as a means of giving back.

And while the players may not realize what they’ve learned until later in life, it’s certainly apparent to the parents.

“They taught how the team is above the individual. They taught that everyone on the field has to do their job in order for the team to be successful. This isn’t just true about football, but in life,” said Meaghan Stuhr.

Two of Stuhr’s children played with Goodwin and Adkins. Her younger son, Keegan, 9, currently plays on Adkins’ third-grade team. Her 16-year-old son, Colin, now plays football for Dakota Ridge, though he played with the pair of coaches from second to eighth grade.

That’s one of the benefits of coaching in this particular league. The coaches have the opportunity to witness growth and development — not only as players but as people.

It’s particularly special to see former players succeed later in life.

“It sends a pretty clear message that you did a lot right. A lot more right than wrong,” Goodwin said.

This was the case with Tyler Magana, a former South Jeffco player who went on to play for Dakota Ridge and now leads a South Jeffco team alongside his former coaches.

In Magana’s mind, the pair of coaches certainly achieved their goal of teaching players life skills. It was always apparent to him that it was about much more than football.

“(Lee and Brian) taught us more how to be gentlemen than anything else,” he said.

Now, it’s a totally different dynamic, but Magana is able to use what his former coaches taught him on the field with a new generation of players.

“It’s definitely different to see how their minds work as a coach rather than just being a player,” he said. “It’s pretty cool.”

On one September evening, as the setting sun fashioned long shadows out of tiny bodies, Adkins called out plays for the team that will almost certainly be his last.

Though he’s been coaching for much of his life, Adkins finally has the opportunity to coach his son, who plays on the third-grade team. He will guide his son every step of the way, but when his team makes it to eighth grade, Adkins plans to call it quits. Goodwin said he will likely do the same.

On and off the field, the longtime coaches are now more like brothers. They’ve learned a lot from each other, coaching for each other, with each other and against each other.

The end of South Jeffco football may be approaching for the two men, but one thing is for certain. When coaching is in your blood, it never really leaves.

Contact reporter Deborah Swearingen at dswearingen@evergreenco.com or 303-350-1042.