Coach Edwards embodies military makeup by creating opportunity with Soldiers to Sidelines
by Jessica Carnivale, a junior Maryland native who is pursuing a degree in sports journalism and minoring in business.
Discipline, determination and organization are traits that one can attribute to success. These traits are acquired through experience and adversity. Whether such adversity was experienced at a young or old age, or a mix of both, the lessons of hard work and discipline are embedded.
Sun Devil head football coach Herm Edwards attributes his father to instilling these traits in him early on.
"The discipline, attention to detail, have been a part of my life since a very young age. Also understanding that there is a chain of command. The trust you have to have with the chain of command, and you don't question it," Edwards said. "You understand that there's things that sometimes you are going to be asked to do and you might not agree but when you're on this team, whether it's your family or if it is through the service."
Join the @the_USO and former @NFL Head Coach and current @ASUFootball Head Coach Herm Edwards for a livestream discussion with service members and their families on October 19 at 5:30 p.m. PT. Register here: https://t.co/benTX0ouNV pic.twitter.com/Y3tuIXkZjT
— Soldiers to Sidelines (@Soldier2Sidelin) October 16, 2020
Herm Edwards Sr., Edwards' father, served in the military for over 20 years. In the service Edwards Sr. was a master sergeant and served in both World War II and the Korean War.
The shared similarities of discipline and focus in the service and in athletics has become an outlet for retired military and veterans following their time in the service. Due to this the organization Soldiers to Sidelines was created. The organization's mission is "to provide a path for current and former military members to become great coaches through training, development, and networking in athletics" according to Soldierstosidelines.org.
Soldiers to Sidelines executive director Harrison Bernstein said Edwards "is an icon, he is exemplary of the characteristics, the traits, and the leadership that we want our service members and veterans to espouse when they begin coaching in their communities.
"Freedom's never free, and I think sometimes we don't realize that and I learned that from my dad."
— Chierstin Susel (@ChierstinSusel) November 11, 2019
"Coach Edwards comes from such a big military family and some of this military training is embed in the way he coaches. He is just the perfect representative and inspiration to all of our future soldier coaches."
Edwards and Soldiers to Sidelines have paired up to explore the possibilities for service members after duty. In a webinar hosted by the United Service Organization, Edwards was able to connect with active duty and explore the possibilities for soldiers after service.
Edwards highlighted opportunities including coaching, recruiting, scouting and front office jobs that are perfect for retired military and veterans. In each of the roles all core values remain the same. "More games are lost than won due to the fact that the details aren't quite right. You organize, be detailed, be efficient," Edwards said. "Kind of sounds like the military doesn't it? There is a chain of command, there is how it goes. I love personalities, as long as the personality isn't bigger than the team."
Edwards advises the service men and women about how to get started in sports by saying "college football, high school football, however you get started you need an opportunity. For those men or women [service members] I don't want them to think there are not opportunities. It is just a matter of the connections you make along the way to give you that opportunity."
Team-oriented style can easily be identified in the military but on a much larger scale. "In war you are dealing with people's lives, people don't come home if you make bad decisions," Edwards said. "In the game of football, you survive it. You lose, you survive it."
Edwards shared his respect for the troops and the service they provide. "I appreciate what they do, what they stand for, and they are always in my prayers, no doubt about that," Edwards said "Our freedoms are due to their sacrifices. It is not said enough."