Keith Burns was my college football coach at San Jose State. He was one of my biggest fans. And he was someone who impacted me and my life forever.
It's been 8 years since I have strapped on my helmet and played for Coach Burns and the "CODE".
Coach Burns was a Coach of mine for 2 seasons but wasn't my actual position coach until my senior year. There was a day that went by that he wasn't excited, prepared and ready to go to work. He walked, talked, and backed it up and then some. He was a great father and husband. He has 3 boys that have become my family. He was the best coach I could have ever wished for.
I could go on and on about how amazing it was playing Safety for a legend like KB. I can share all the funny phrases he used to keep practice fun and keep the players interested and on their toes. Or how he would drink a 12ver of Dr. Pepper but would only do so with the crushed ice. No cubes. Or even about the way he could literally tell the entire defense to run onto the 280N into on comin traffic and no one would even blink. They would do it.
I never had a Coach like Keith Burns.
He taught me so many lessons. I want to share the biggest lesson with you right now.
It's 2007, I was in my junior year at San Jose State and I was playing on the offensive side of the ball in a broke down offense that had no fuel in the tank and a coach that I didn't necessarily see eye to eye with. I loved playing receiver as my brother was a Quarterback and I had always had a dream about him throwing me Touchdowns in the league. But I knew that this system, the coaches, the smoke and mirrors didn't feel right.
One day at our facility after my junior season, I was walking in the hallways and Coach Burns who was the Secondary Coach sparked up a conversation with me about what I was thinking on the upcoming season. I told him that I had thought about transferring or possibly hanging it up. I had lost my passion, my purpose, my drive to play football. He responded to me "Kyle, TOO GOOD for that. You should be playing every down at this school.
I was so discouraged about my first season at SJSU I responded "I don't think I have it in me coach, I'm not playing on that offense again."
He responded "Bullshit. You don't have to play for those guys. Come play defense for me and I promise we will have some fun. You're big, fast, strong and have a great work ethic. That's all you need, we're gonna have some fun whooping their ass all spring. You literally have nothing to lose. Come out to defense this spring and if you don't like it, quit."
I smiled, felt the connection with Coach Burns and immediately knew he was right. I had nothing to lose...
3 months later when spring practice started I told the coaches I'd no longer be playing offense and would be making the switch to safety. Ballsy move and the staff did everything they could to keep me on offense. There were 15 practices for spring ball and I was having the absolute time of my life. I wasn't even starting, second string. Coach Burns led a brotherhood. He gave us something to buy into and feel good about. Most of all, he cared.
Fall camp rolled around and everyone was battling for a starting job. At this point I had never been so dialed into football in my life. I was living, breathing, walking, talking football and my senior season as I knew it was probably my last. I took pride in every hit, sprint, lift, film session and was having more fun playing than ever.
It was game week and Sunday night we met to go over film and study. That night they announced who would be starting week 1.
Before they made the announcement to the team Coach Burns called me into his office and told me how proud he was of me and that I earned a starting spot on which ended up being the 4th ranked defense in the country. I didn't even know how to respond. It felt like it were yesterday where I was ready to hang up my cleats. Fast forward 8 months later and I was starting for a Two time Broyles award winning coach and was waking up every morning chomping at the bit to get to practice.
Before our first game as we walked out onto the field Coach Burns grabbed me and said "remember, you're TOO GOOD to be anywhere else other than here. Go kick some ass and have fun."
Think about that. TOO GOOD.
Are there things that you may be TOO GOOD for?
Maybe it's in business (too good to slack)
Leadership (too good to not speak up or lead)
Communication in your relationships (too good to not express your feelings)
Being on your phone 24/7 (too good to be that person)
Not being focused on the right things in life because you're distracted with unimportant things
Your fitness and nutrition (too good to be unhealthy and not conscious of what you're putting in your body)
Following through with promises you have made to yourself or family/friends (too good to let people down)
One big thing I learned from KB was to check myself at times and realize that I'm TOO GOOD to not give my best effort. I owe it to myself and the people I surround myself with. To not let myself slip and always know I can do better! What is the one thing that you may be slacking on and know you're TOO GOOD for?
I'm busy working on my blog posts. Watch this space!