It was a chaotic, but good-natured, affair in Sterling Heights High School on Wednesday afternoon, as head football coach Brent Widdows walked into the room to find a surprise pep rally waiting for him.
Legendary Herb Deromedi, along with representatives from Edelman, presented Mr. Widdows with the 2nd Annual Dove Men + Care Deodorant "Caring Coach of the Year" Award for his efforts to instill into his players the concept of being responsible in their community, and the importance of being outstanding citizens. The award is centered on rewarding coaches that "most strongly display the award's criteria-- passion, determination, respect, support, and encouragement-- and make a lasting impression on the lives of their players within their communities."
Mr. Widdows, who has been a coach at Sterling Heights since 2001, is being recognized for designing community programs for his teams to get involved in the surrounding community. Widdows has also volunteered his time to ensure the well-being of his players and has established a well-known rivalry game called the "Cancer Game," which is dedicated to the memory of a player who lost his battle to cancer during the season. Since the game first started, $10,000+ has been raised in efforts to eradicate cancer.
For his efforts, Mr. Widdows, along with the person that nominated him to the award, will be flown to Atlanta, GA to take part in a special ceremony at the College Football Hall of Fame, where Widdows and the other recipients of the award will gather to christen special exhibits that will be on display for the next year.
Deromedi was on hand for the event and had plenty to say about what he believes makes Widdows a good coach: "The involvement with his team showed not only on the football field but [also with] what they have done off the field... he's involved his players with elementary schools, reading to the elementary students, as well as retirement homes and reading to those individuals. At the same time, he is involved in the Cancer Game... utilizing it to raise money [around $10,000 last year alone] for a cancer fund... People know him and how he cares for his players, and how he follows them, not just as players, but what they do in school and what they do once they graduate. You put all of those together, and that's one of the reasons he is recognized [with this award]."
Deromedi also went into what makes a good coach in general, emphasizing that it's more than just a relationship with the game. "Coach during the game, and teach when you're getting prepared. For that, you're talking about dealing with individual's personalities. One of the key factors there is gaining trust in your players and what you are teaching them is right, and how you are approaching them is right... that trust factor is real important."
The former athletic director also had plenty to say about the future of Central Michigan Athletics Program as a whole (with especially effusive praise for former pupil John Bonamego who "has the team behind him emotionally, now and well after the year"), the Mid-American Conference's explosion on the national scene, and his past experiences as a coach and coordinator at CMU, all of which can be heard at the following link:
Thank you to Jessica Ostrau and William Ober from Edelman for arranging this unique opportunity, and congratulations to Brent Widdows, who has been an outstanding citizen, and an even more upstanding gentleman.