When it comes to teaching his players hard lessons, Coach Prime pulls no punches.

University of Colorado football coach Deion Sanders took his athletes to task for poor academic performance and classroom behavior earlier this month, video circulated by ESPN shows.

Renowned for his frank pep talks, Sanders read aloud a disparaging note he had received from a professor, calling out every student named therein.

“What bothers me severely is that all the guys we’re about to see [don’t] have a draft grade,” Sanders hammered home, referring to the ranking college players receive reflecting their likelihood of playing in the NFL.

“Guys, you’re going to get something out of this,” Sanders closed his stinging rebuke. “You’re going to be a man or you’re going to be a great football player. Since you choose not to be a great football player, we’ve got to make you a man.”

Some might balk at Sanders’ approach. Others might call it old school. Sanders says its part of turning his players into men.

“I’m a little frustrated right now,” he addressed the press following the team meeting. “In this new [name, image, likeness] state of mind, we’ve got youngsters that’re all in on one side of the game. 90- or 95% of your roster isn’t going pro, so coaches we’ve got to emphasize education. We’ve got to emphasize life. We’ve got emphasize the next step if [the game] doesn’t work out.”

Consistent with his belief in Jesus, Sanders takes responsibility for developing his players’ character, not just their athletic ability. His unorthodox methods surely incentivize students to develop foresight, diligence, and discipline — if only to avoid being publicly outed for slacking off.

We might need more of the former pro’s no-holds-barred approach. Young men are experiencing a widespread identity crisis — a lack of understanding about what a man is, and how to become one. The resulting confusion and lack of direction leaves unprecedented numbers of young men beholden to porn, gambling, drugs and other vices.

Biblical male role models beat back this malaise by enforcing structure and providing an example to follow. Fathers are young men’s first, and most important, resource, while coaches and male mentors provide critical support to parents. Sanders performs both rolls at CU — coach to his football players and father to his two sons, who also play on the team.

Coach Prime’s willingness to eschew the glitz and glam of lucrative college athletics in favor of training up young men calls to mind one of the Bible’s most cited commands to parents:

Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it (Proverbs 22:6 ESV).

Be inspired today to reinvest in training your own kids for the rest of their lives.

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