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A Positive Coaching Relationship: A Tribute to Coach Mike Max

September 13, 2021

Coach Mike Max was featured in an article by his friend and fellow coach, Luke Gideon, in the Fall 2021 Issue of "Nebraska Coach" magazine.

Check it out here: https://ncacoach.org/.../09/Fall-2021-Magazine_Web.pdf...

A Positive Coaching Relationship

A Tribute to Coach Mike Max

Luke Gideon – Burwell – Football

Being a part of the coaching community is a brotherhood

that many words can’t begin to describe and something I wish

everyone could experience once in their life. The relationships

that a coach develops with his/her coaching staff, parents, and

student-athletes is one that I will forever treasure, which is why

this article is so difficult for me to write. I am writing this in

honor of not only my fellow coach, but best friend, Mike Max

who passed away suddenly this spring. The insights I am sharing

in the article are a tribute to him.

Thirteen years ago, I was fortunate to have Coach Max walk

into my life and at the time I had no idea how big of an impact

he would make on not only our sports programs, but myself.

Coaching football and wrestling with Coach Max was truly an

honor and in that process we made many memories that I will

hold near and dear to my heart forever. A positive relationship

is one that influences the lives of countless people and Coach

Max did that. What Coach Max did for not only our school, but

for my family is something that I am forever grateful for. My own

children looked up to Coach Max like he was a second father to

them. He always made time for them, let them know he cared

for them, and was always COACHING them up in all aspects of

life and that simple action helped me out not only as a parent,

but also as a coach.

Our relationship was extremely close due to our willingness

to make each other better. We learned a lot from each other and

both felt that positive communication was the key to success

as coaches and friends. In fact, it could be compared to a good

marriage. We were always together, laughed together, solved

our differences in coaching behind closed doors, and made sure

that we both knew we would do anything for each other. A story

that highlights how much we would do for each other and one

that makes me laugh is our time together at the All-Star game

in 2019. One night during the week I fell under the weather and

instead of saying his normal “toughen up”, Coach Max took

care of me like he was my own mother. That to me is a perfect

example of who Coach Max was as a person and the heart that

he possessed.

One of the most important qualities a person can have is

loyalty. To me, this is a quality that Coach Max possessed and

displayed daily. Max was someone who you could count on

when times were hard, and you needed someone or a person

who would push you to be the best person you could be. Coach

Max was that guy that you wanted standing behind you or in

your corner in the middle of battle because you knew he had

your back in any way you needed.

Although Coach Max and I had different coaching

philosophies at times, they meshed well due to our willingness

to learn from each other. I always admired his fire, passion, and

motivational tactics that he brought to our teams. Max stressed

the importance of keeping your emotions up and if anyone has

ever been to a Burwell football game or wrestling meet, they

have heard the famous “GET YOUR EMOTIONS UP!"

“Don’t be afraid to do the hard work it takes to be successful.”

This was one of Max’s favorite quotes to live by and he

embodied this in every way. He was the man that was willing

to be at school every morning to support our weight program.

He did so many things in big and little ways to give students in

our program the opportunity to work hard to be ready for the

next step on the field, but also in the game of life. Coach Max

didn’t care what sport or school activity anyone participated in,

he appreciated hard work and heart and believed that was the

key to success. Coach Max would coach you hard, but love you

harder. He didn’t care if you were the star of the team or the

student manager. He held everyone to the same standard and he

did it with consistency and love.

A relationship is only a positive relationship if it is genuine.

You always knew where you stood with Coach Max. He never left

a stone unturned, and you always felt every emotion that he had.

He was the true definition of a “Big Teddy Bear.” He loved his job

and that was clear in every action he took.

The things that I will miss most aren't the wins or the

championships, it’s the hugs and the “I love ya man.” Coaching

is about building relationships and Coach

Max gave me one that I will never forget and one I will

forever look back on. Coach Max and I weren’t ever afraid to

give each other a hug whether we won or lost a game. This was 

a true testament of the bond and love we had for each other and

one that was recognized by our players, community, and opposing

teams. This to me is key to a successful program, life, and one thing

I hope you all are fortunate enough to experience one day. Coach

Max is a once and a lifetime friend and I am a better coach and man

for having him in my life.

A Positive Coaching Relationship

A Tribute to Coach Mike Max

Luke Gideon – Burwell – Football

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