As has been previously reported in the BannerGraphic, North Putnam Head Football Coach Dave Pasch will end his eleven-year affiliation with the school to become Head Coach at Indianapolis Lutheran.
Coaches, however, can be somewhat of an enigma with regard to who they are as a person. Too often they are so connected to their respective programs, that little is known about what motivates them...what makes them an individual with all the special qualities and human frailties all of us possess.
Coach Pasch graciously allotted the BannerGraphic an exclusive interview to discuss the upcoming changes in his life.
I didn't really want to talk football with Dave, and thankfully he didn't either. What I wanted to get across in this profile was what an iconic figure in our community has reflected upon as he begins a new chapter in his life.
Although it is not the normal policy of the BannerGraphic to publish stories in interview format, Pasch's responses were especially enlightening and are best considered in the environment in which they were elicited.
What follows is a transcript of that interview:
BG -- There have been a lot of people speculating over the last couple of years that probably if you were going to make a move, now would be the time to do it. We're you going through that same thought process?
DP -- Absolutely not. You know this was an opportunity that came about without the desire to leave. My plan was to retire here. We've grown, become part of the community...this was someplace we wanted to be. There are always opportunities, especially if you're looking. This was something that came about. What it really boiled down to was, over the past eighteen years, I made decisions...football first. Really this was an opportunity to prioritize, and to do what was best for my children, my family.
BG -- Let me ask you this...did you have significant offers after this year from other programs?
DP -- There are always opportunities if you're looking to leave. There have been bigger opportunities. I have not, have NOT pursued any other position in the eleven years I've been here.
BG -- When you look back, during your time here, what have you been most proud of?
DP -- The one thing I've always taken tremendous pride in is when the former players come back...not just at homecoming, but it's the phone calls and letters...you know you develop relationships with these kids, and they grow up to be adults and great community members. That has always been what means the most to me. You know, wins and losses, that's just a game. Certainly football's been a driving force in my life, probably too often in my life. I tell people all the time that being a football coach isn't a job, it's a lifestyle. But the game of football's been important, and it's something that I try to share with people. It offers young men so many things they can can learn, intangible things that you don't necessarily learn in the classroom environment, I've just tried to be a positive role model and give back the things I've gotten from the game.
BG -- You seem to have a knack for taking kids that others would consider "marginal" and turn them into young men of character.
DP -- I think that with education in general, every child has some interest...whether it's athletics or whatever it may be...whatever we can use as a tool that can motivate them to be successful and make the right decisions, that's the important thing. That's not just me, there are a lot of people, and not just at North Putnam who feel that way about what they do...and they should feel that way.
BG -- Coming from one parent to another, and knowing that coaching is so incredibly time-consuming, do you regret the time you missed with your family?
DP -- No...Obviously, I'm leaving to continue a coaching career. I think this is an opportunity where I can prepare my family a little better. I think this move would have taken place whether we were 1-12 or 12-1. I don't have those regrets; you know, my family is starting to mature...I don't have regrets and i don't want to have regrets. I believe all things happen for a reason...this is something where I've been called to move on and hopefully make an impact somewhere else.
BG -- Tell me about the Lutheran program. What about this situation excites you?
DP -- Well, for me, to have a greater role in the Lutheran community. It's important for me that my family grows up with that Christian background. This is an opportunity for that to take a greater role in our lives.
BG - It almost sounds like football is secondary.
DP - Well like I said, everything has revolved around football for 18 years, and for us, I mean it's almost sad to say, because the one thing about coaches is you try to teach kids to keep their priorities straight, and do the right thing, and that the family is where their priorities should lie. Very often, that isn't what happens with your own family when you're a coach. Anymore, football season runs from June to November, and there's very little down time. It just keeps coming back to the same thing. It's time for them (my family) to move up on the list of priorities.
BG - Do you envision yourself coaching a lot longer?
DP - Well, you know, the one thing I've always been consistent with is I'll tell you I', not a prognosticator. People always want to know how your season's going to be, how things are going, and there's just too many variables. It's always been my goal to at least coach my children. I've always thought...I don't know what else I would do.
BG - Can you imagine yourself being a happy person not coaching?
DP - Aahh, like I said, I don't know what else I would do; it's been a part of my life since I was in the third grade. I've been fortunate enough to have been part of a football team for the last 30 years. When August rolls around, everything just starts pointing toward the game. There might be a day where other interests might take me away, but for the time being, I think this is what I'm supposed to do. You know, when we were at Speedway, one of my life-long friends was there. After the ball;game, he walked up to me and said, "This is what you were meant to do." You know, I've been blessed to be here and Putnam County has accepted us as a part of them, and that's one thing that will never change. I believe that the program is solid, and if we hire the right guy, hopefully he can continue the vision That I hopefully had a part in bringing here.
BG - Have you spoken with your players?
DP - Yeah, it was one of the hardest things I've done. You develop these relationships with people and you truly care about them. You know, the difficult thing is, you know so often you don't appreciate things that you have in life...you don't understand the decisions adults have to make. It was tough knowing that some of them may be disappointed and upset...it was difficult thinking that they may not understand the reasons why I'm gonna make this move. And I wanted them to understand that the one thing we've always talked about here is that it's the team...everybody, not one individual is gonna change the outcome. There's no such thing as an indispensable man. You know, kids are resilient...they're gonna be just fine and things will move on. Hopefully, to some degree, I'll be missed. But there's still a lot of great people here...I challenged my kids to keep the vision, and I firmly believe they're gonna have some great successes down the road here.
It was at this point in the interview that things suddenly became somber. Often when people are confronted with life-changing events, emotions become raw, and their pure humanity is exposed. I have known Dave Pasch for too long, and have far too much respect for him to elaborate, but I must say at the risk of sounding sentimental that it's always been my belief that people are inherently good. I am convinced of that on a daily basis, and that makes taking the time to find out what people are truly all about worthwhile.