CCS Connections Spring 2021

CCS Football

T he first thing you notice when you meet Coach Chad Walker is his size. He is tall - really tall. The second thing you notice about Coach Walker is his demeanor. He is reserved, thoughtful and unusually focused. Director of Athletics, Mark Butler, explains, “He exhibits a professional, organized and intentional approach to his coaching. He is methodical and purpose driven, and everyone knows where you stand with him. He isn’t ruled by emotions and provides a steady, even leadership style that the players can count on and inspires confidence. Players are willing to take risks and know if they make mistakes, or if they do something great, it will be dealt with appropriately. He has safe team boundaries and that takes the pressure off the players and allows them to excel.” We sat down with Coach Walker to find out more about his philosophy, coaching style and those who influenced him most. CoachWalker Q: We still hear that people think student athletes must be part of a large program to get recruited by Q: How have the following been different for you in a Christian school: Parenting? Teaching? Coaching? A: I grewupwithmy grandfather as a Lutheranminister,

colleges. What are your thoughts about that position? A: Don’t believe that at all. If a student athlete excels, it doesn’t matter where they’re at. College coaches are able to evaluate athletes online, through film, in person, in a camp, or even visit campus. This year CCS athletes have played more division 1 prospects, than when I coached at Land O’Lakes in a division 6A program. Q: What has surprised you about CCS? A: That people aren’t that aware of the school.We seem overlooked. Q: Some say you run your program like a college program. Would you agree? If so, why is that your approach? A: Any successful program should be run the same way. We develop our athletes in the offseason, promote them to do 3 different sports (which is different than college.) Most of all, we have high expectations to try and develop them as the whole person. Q: How do character development and performance on the field go hand and hand? A: There is definitely a correlation. It’s important how they live their life off the field, to learn to be self-motivated, disciplined, etc. If it’s important to them to be respectful to teachers and those in the community, then on the field they are respectful to teammates and coaches and excel all around. Q: Being at CCS, faith is part of everything we do. How do you make sure it’s part of your program? A: We have a coach devotion every Sunday that is shared with players, coaches and parents.We have a staff coach’smanual on how to develop men through Christ. The player handbook has Bible verses, goes into detail about overall philosophies and ties it in to dealing with adversity and building a brotherhood on and off the field.

so faith has always been part of my life. At my first job I was called in and got in trouble for praying with the opposing team after the game. As a coach, being here and being able to talk aboutmy faith and its teachingswithmy players is so important. As a parent, bringing my daughter here and having the faith building aspect for her is a huge selling piece. I’m so happy to be in a place where I can say “Merry Christmas” and be with a group of people focused on building relationships through Christ. Q: You have a lot of connections with NFL players and coaches through the nonprofit you helped create. Tell us a little more about that. A: As of this writing, I’m in the middle of preparing to do a virtual (because of COVID) football clinic through our foundation called Lauren’s First and Goal that I’m part of and helped start in 2004. It’s led bymy friends John andMarianne Loose in honor of their daughter, Lauren, a pediatric brain tumor survivor. The Loose family started the foundation as a way to help other families who are battling childhood cancer. The foundationwill host over 2100 college kids and 400 volunteer coaches (175 are college and NFL coaches). Through our work, I’ve developed strong relationships with many coaches that are as passionate about this as I am. Q: We’ve heard from parents that you relate well to your players and their struggles. Why is it important for young men to be prepared for life beyond CCS? A: Certainly, there were times inmy life when I wasn’t as devoted as I could have been to my beliefs, times when I was tested, but rebuildingmy faith is important tome. I understand first-hand how the transition fromhigh school to college is tough and your faith can and will be tested. This is an important time in anyone’s life and so I take it seriously to reach out to these young men at this critical time and help them develop a strong foundation for college and beyond. Preparation for life is important, and that’s what CCS is all about. Spring 2021 - Connections | 13

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