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Building Champions, Building Men

(PALM SPRINGS) – Any organization can build a championship football team. For us, that’s just part of the territory. We’re more interested in something else.
The non-profit SoCal Coyotes Sports Leadership organization is building men.
From the time a Coyote player signs his Code of Conduct, followed by a Standard Players Contract, we ask him to be accountable, responsible and dependable. It starts with honesty before God, then the man in the mirror.  We don’t care about his past. If you know where you’re going, you’re less concerned about where you’ve been.
Listen closely to society, and you will hear a cry for men. It’s a cry so loud that we’ve made it the mission of this football team. This cry is in the culture rising up from our homes, our schools, our neighborhoods, our community, our state and from every shattered soul affected by the absence of Godly men.
Never has our nation stood on the precipice of adversity in such dire need of principled men of integrity. It is in the heartbeat of every child born or raised without a father; in the failures of high-school and college dropouts; in the lack of positive male role models who make significant contributions.
Of course, we all have a choice – we can do absolutely nothing. We can just live our lives, be content by just scraping by and paying the bills, and never say a word. Or we can open ourselves to criticism and make the leap to be in the character-building business.
When we look at the great young men from all over the nation who make up this football team, we realize that we have an opportunity to plant trees under whose shade we never intend to sit.
And their pedigree doesn’t determine their purpose. The game of football brings us together and unites as one. But once here, we can learn together how God’s kingdom transcends time, space, politics, denominations, cultures, and the realms of society. We can discover the impact a father can have on a home, the impact a husband can have on a marriage, the impact a man can have on his community, the impact a single person can have on the trajectory of all the lives around him. Can a AAA football team make a difference?
If we build 53 great leaders each season, and plant them in our local neighborhoods and communities around the country – I believe we can. No football team in the history of Coachella Valley has had an impact on its community as quickly as the SoCal Coyotes.
From inception, the team has set – and achieved – the highest standards in charitable work, job development, mentoring – and championship football. But we have far, far to go, and now is not the time for summer soldiers or sunshine patriots. As we embark on our third football season in the Coachella Valley in the past 14 months, it’s important to step back and look at the ‘bigger picture’ of the SoCal Coyotes.
At the end of the day, this journey is about adding value to others lives, which ultimately impact the organization for good and leave a legacy for God, starting within our own homes, rippling out to our community, and spilling into the world. We are determined to lead with character, courage and competence. We will cast a compelling vision and inspire people to work passionately and achieve a common mission. We will model the message and recognize the moment when we can make a difference.
We believe we can educate, equip and elevate the people around us, and that when it is all added up, we will demonstrate that leadership is not about trophies or fleeting treasures by which simple men gauge their worth – promotions, raises, accolades and awards. Instead of those ‘measuring sticks,’ we define leadership by true significance – are lives being changed around us because of what we do, every single moment of every single day? The Coyotes are a work in progress, but we’re taking some big strides.
Putting wheels on this vision in the Coachella Valley has been similar to building the iconic 1967 Ferrari 330/P4.  When complete, the P4 was absolutely beautiful, with no detail overlooked. The quality and craftsmanship were second to none. The great attention to detail and design made it a masterpiece. But don’t overlook that a single car took three and a half years to build and required over 3,500 hours.
When you look at our organization, when you look into the eyes of our players and, better yet, see the eyes of the little boys who now look up to them as role models – wow, we’re just beginning. Like our fans around the world, the Coyotes come from all walks of life. But whether your background is prison or the pulpit, we can still represent the King.  Seeking to serve God in all we do gives us a purpose far higher than merely our own, and impacts a sphere far greater than we could ever dream. Can a ‘little pro football team in the desert’ change the world?
If we stay true to the mission and answer the call, the results may surprise us all. Each day, it’s our job to give another young man the opportunity to discover a God-principled life.
Like the P4, he will turn the key, and the engine will roar to life, and he will rumble into a future he never dreamed he had. All around him – school, work, home, relationships and his community – will be affected by his influence.
Can you hear it? Can you feel it? As we hit the gas, this much is clear: If you’re willing to change your life, the windshield is always bigger than the rear-view mirror.
J David Miller, CEO and Head Coach  
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