Mad for…Rich

A good coach will make his players see what they can be rather than what they are. (Ara Parseghian)

Late last night, we had a family room full of sports lovers and we were watching the IU men’s basketball team pick up an overtime win against Nebraska. The group gathered here included my three sons, my husband, and some close friends we adore. The conversation turned to youth sports experiences– and it led us to a nostalgic chat about a fantastic coach named Rich Andriole.

When our oldest son Nick was in the second grade, so too was a another sweet boy named Nick Andriole. We had invited the sports-loving boys from St. Louis de Montfort to play on a hoops team over at the Fieldhouse in Fishers. We ended up with too many for just one team so we needed to recruit another Dad to coach up the little guys when we determined we had enough Cardinals for two squads. I can’t remember who it was that told me Nick Andriole’s Dad (who I hadn’t yet met in person) was a high school coach, but that was enough to get my attention, and I quickly snagged him for the job. We became great friends with Rich and his wife, Janet and our children grew up alongside each other. Still today, their three kids, Nick, Jake, and Allison are some of my favorite humans too!

That said, I still giggle thinking back to that Fieldhouse experience. You see, when one looks back now with the full understanding of what an UBER competitive human Rich Andriole is, it’s simply impossible to forget 8-year old Evan Brueggemann on the end of the bench eating his king sized candy bar and drinking his Gatorade mid-game with Coach Andriole at the helm, ha?!

Passionate, articulate and compeititve, Rich is the sort of coach who sees the potential in kids and inspires them to work hard to live up to it. He’s retired now from coaching high school baseball where he had well over 500 wins and multiple state championships. He’s got former players who have succeeded at the highest levels of college and also major league baseball, but more importantly, SO MANY young men he coached grew up to be husbands, fathers and men of integrity, guided in part by he lessons he taught them.

Last night, my husband and two oldest sons along with our family room full of folks were talking about their experiences in a gym and on baseball field with Coach Andriole. They were sharing with the two young guys in the room about how much he made them want to work hard, and how meaningful it was to play ball for him because the whole team achieved above and beyond what they expected in every season where he was their leader. They talked about how my friend Rich helped them see someone else’s strength as a complement to their weakness and an asset to the team.

Rich is gifted at leadership development. He’s a phenomenal speaker and articulate story-teller who knows how to inspire young people. In his “new-ish” role in the corporate world, I have no doubt at all that his unique talents and skill set are an incredible asset. After all, great athletes and young professionals have something vital in common– they can all use a trusted advisor to help them reach their goals.

Many times over the years when life got a little rocky for me or for someone I love, I’d get an encouraging text from Rich letting me know he was praying. We all need every prayer warrior we can get on our team in life, am I right? The guy knows what victory is all about, and today I wanted to give him a shout out and let him know that in this next chapter of his life, I wish him nothing but the absolute best. This moment is yours, my friend. Please know I pray for you often and I love you, my friend. Merry Christmas!!

“Victory is in having done your best. If you’ve done your best, you’ve won.” (Bill Bowerman)

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