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“If you haven’t been on a yellow school bus then you’re not a coach”

Chip Kelly really values the perspective and problem solving that being a high school coach brings to the table at the college level.

Look around social media and there's not shortage of hot takes among veteran coaches like "if you haven't lined a football field in 90+ degree heat, you can't call yourself a coach."

Typically, I'm not a fan of those outdated, "glory days," kind of takes. Also, in the interest of full transparency: I've never had to line a field, period. 

In Trent Dilfer's latest Beyond the X's and O's podcast, Chip Kelly was on as a guest and shared a line from a veteran coach that resonated with him as a younger coach while he was traveling around the country trying to learn from older coaches at higher levels.

Kelly didn't share that you have to line fields to be a true coach, but he did share some good perspective on the value that guys that coach at the high school level bring when they get an opportunity at a big time college program.

Then, Dilfer talked about how he know so many guys that have gotten the "logo" job before they're really ready for it, and they last a year or two before they're ultimately shown the door because they're not ready.

Dilfers advice for those guys? "Go coach JV high school football. If you can teach those kids football, you can coach."

Then Chip offered up this nugget. 

"I don't remember the coach's name, I think he was the running backs coach at Louisiana-Monroe, he asked me if I had coached high school ball because he didn't really want to meet with me unless I had coached high school ball."

"I said, 'Well, why would you say that?'"

"He said, 'If you haven't been on a yellow school bus, then you're not a coach, and that always resonated with me.'"

"It always made a ton of sense to me because you have to think about, whose bringing the ball today? Do we have enough water on the sideline? Those are the little things that when you coach at a 'logo' school, that you never have to really think about those things but those are critical in terms of what you're doing."

Kelly went on to use examples from the film The Karate Kid (which he calls one of the greatest teaching movies of all time) on how Mr. Miyagi used tasks like painting a fence to teach big-picture lessons.

"You learn details when you get an opportunity...when you have to do it all. That's one of those things that when you jump into that high profile GA job, you don't really get to figure that part of it out."

"Part of being a good coach is being a good problem solver and being able to come up with solutions, put yourself in a situation where you have to come up with solutions then."

Hear more from Kelly and Dilfer's conversation in the video.