SERVICE AN INTEGRAL PART OF BEING A BADGER, COACH SAYS
By John Hales
EPHRAIM, Utah April 12, 2006—The Snow College football program is trying to build a winning tradition off the field as well as on the field.
The team has done projects to benefit the community, but new head coach Steve Coburn says he’s trying to expand that. He says he wants to make ongoing service to the community an integral part of being a Badger. Since he took over as Snow’s head coach last December, the team has undertaken five different service projects.
“When I got the job [as head coach],” Coburn says, “one of my priorities was to get the players involved in giving back to the community in some way and to have our players seen as role models.”
He says the team was eager to score with the idea.
“We threw it out there to the players and the players’ council, and they’ve just run with it,” he says.
And last week they scored a big community-service touchdown by donating $500 to Palisade Pals, a program that provides recreational, educational and service opportunities for disabled persons.
Coburn explained that the money didn’t simply come from the coffers of Badger football. Rather, the players raised the money by selling the team’s own version of the colored plastic wristbands that have become something of a fad of late. Each player was given an allotment of wristbands to sell on his own from January through March.
“It’s been a great experience for them, and it culminated yesterday when they heard what Palisade Pals was all about,” Coburn said.
But several of the players have been busier than simply selling wristbands.
The team undertook a couple projects that involved donating textbooks to different places.
First, the team donated approximately 150 textbooks to the LDS Humanitarian Center, which were then distributed to third-world countries. The books were left over from a book club the team used to operate, but which ended in 2003.
Then, Chad Cameron, a freshman safety from Salt Lake spearheaded a project to collect all sorts of books, from elementary-vocabulary and early-reader books to novels, and then donate them to local elementary schools.
“Talking to faculty members at Manti,” Coburn says, “it’s been a big help. It’s really added to their reading libraries in their classrooms.”
Several Badger footballers also helped out with the Ephraim Special Olympics in March, something instigated by wide receiver Matt Huff.
“He brought it up to them, and they were interested in us coming over and helping with the Special Olympics,” Coburn says.
About 10 team members accompanied Special Olympics participants to Sno-Cap Lanes in Ephraim for a day of bowling.
Another project that is Coburn’s own brainchild is having some of his players tutor at local schools, particularly for Spanish-speaking students.
“With all the returned missionaries we had that could speak Spanish that were willing to help in those areas, it was a great match,” Coburn says.
About seven of his players have participated in the program, where they go to a class for 30-45 minutes at a time, helping to interpret teacher instructions or give help with reading and math.
In recent weeks the team’s spring training has started, so the focus is more on football now and less on service, but Coburn says he plans to keep pushing service in the team’s off-season during winter.
“One of the big pushes of the program,” he says, “is to have a partnership with the community: campus students, faculty and staff, and the Sanpete area.”