Atlanta Falcons coach advises high school coaches on racial tension, coronavirus

Jess Simpson has spent the better part of his adult life as a football coach in the state of Georgia.

He served 22 years at Buford High School, including 12 as the head coach, winning seven state titles in charge, and three more as a coordinator. Simpson had a pitstop with the Miami Hurricanes before returning back to Georgia, where he currently is the defensive line coach with the Atlanta Falcons.

Now, as the state is set to resume on-campus training with strict guidelines on June 8, Simpson took to social media to offer some advice to his fellow coaches.

Photo: Thomson20192 / Creative Commons

His thoughts were compiled and shared by The Henry Herald.

“I’m fired up that the GHSA [Georgia High School Association] and other states are allowing training to begin in the next few weeks for high school athletes,” Simpson wrote on social media. “I know my life was powerfully impacted by coaches who spoke truth and poured into me as a young man.

“Over the past three months — during an incredibly tough time — I haven’t been able to stop thinking about how high school kids all over this country have been separated from the folks that in many cases have the greatest impact on their lives daily — their coaches, teachers, and administrators — and they need us now more than ever.”

Below are some tips that The Henry Herald gathered from Simpsons’ social media posts on guiding coaches for when players return on dealing with COVID-19 and recent racial division in the country.
  • More than training, more than skills development, more than teaching them ball … They need us to Listen — we are all hurting and they need to be able to express themselves to men and women they respect.
  • They need us to Acknowledge — the Truth! Our kids need to know that we know that there is a real problem.
  • They need us to be Patient — like us they are emotional, confused and angry at what they have witnessed and seen — they need empathy, not an extra lap.
  • They need to See US — love on each other, listen to each other, serve each other, care for one another and show regard and respect to one another — “and the greatest of these is Love.”
  • They need Wise Counsel — you may be one of the only voices of reason in their life today.

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  • For our country to change it will have to start in the hearts of men and women like us — because at the root of all of this is a heart problem.
  • So be intentional — it will take hard and transparent conversations — if we want our youth to be the change that this world needs, they have to see us be different. We have the greatest job in the world and it comes with the greatest responsibility.

To read the full story from The Henry Herald on Simpson’s address, click here. And to follow Jess Simpson on Twitter, click here