Big Ten Conference head coaches discuss the importance of youth coaches

By Samuel Teets | Posted 11/2/2023

USA Football recently continued its long-standing relationship with the Big Ten Conference by attending the conference’s 2023 Football Media Days held at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Ind. The quotes in this story were produced from a series of one-on-one sit-down interviews with the head football coaches responsible for programs in the Big Ten.  

USA Football strives to lead, strengthen and grow Football For All® by creating and delivering best-in-class resources, standards and experiences for athletes and their families. Youth coaches play a large role in embracing and using these resources to serve their communities. Their dedication doesn’t go unnoticed. Several of the Big Ten Conference’s head football coaches recently offered youth coaches praise and recalled their own coaches who positively impacted their lives at an early age.  

“I was blessed to get inducted into the hall of fame at my high school several years ago. I invited back one of my youth coaches to be there for that ceremony because he made that much of an impact on me. Those individuals are volunteering their time. I think about those guys a lot. I really do. You think about the people that helped shape you because those are building blocks for what happens next. I always want to make sure they know I appreciate and respect them, and I thank them for investing in me. It means a lot, and I definitely wouldn't be here without people like that.” 

– Tom Allen, Indiana University 

“Some of my best memories in youth football are of playing for the Ann Arbor Junior Packers coached by Tom Minick. Sheriff Minick was one of those great coaches who impacts your life.” 

– Jim Harbaugh, University of Michigan 

“I’m very fortunate to be in a situation where I get to call coaching the game of football my career, but as someone who has a six-year-old, an eight-year-old and a little girl on the way, some of the people I admire the most are those that volunteer their time, take away time from their families and at times face scrutiny for the good of young athletes. I admire those coaches, whether it’s through the game of football or other opportunities. We need to continue to build those coaches up, praise them and find ways to support them. From my personal experience, I’ve become the man I am today because of a lot of youth coaches that made sacrifices to help me grow and develop.” 

– David Braun, Northwestern University