2005 Summit: HS Football Crucial Before and After Life in the Pros


By Bob Temple, NFLHS.com
Special to Profootballhof.com

There may not be a lot of money in coaching high school football, but Anthony Muñoz understands why so many high school coaches stay in the profession for decades.

Muñoz, the Hall of Fame offensive tackle for the Cincinnati Bengals, spent three years coaching high school football at Cincinnati Moeller after his retirement. He continues to work with young football players through his foundation today.

It was Muñoz's experience coaching at the high school level that helped him understand why high school football coaches love what they do so much.

"I understand why there are coaches that coach 20, 30, 40 years in high school," he said. "To me, there's nothing like it."

Anthony Munoz

Hall of Famer Anthony Muñoz speaks to high school football coaches at the 2005 Youth Summit.

Muñoz spoke Friday at the NFL Youth Football Summit in Canton, Ohio. Coaches from all 50 states and a number of foreign countries participated in the annual event.

Muñoz played 13 years in the NFL after a standout high school career in California and a stellar college career at Southern Cal. After his retirement, he was the JV offensive line coach at Moeller for two years before moving up to the varsity staff for one year.

"You guys are the guys that are basically taking the kids at a young age and having a tremendous impact on them, and allowing them to learn to love the sport that I think is the greatest sport of all," Muñoz said.

When Muñoz came out for the high school team as a freshman, he was pretty sure that quarterback was his position "not because of my speed," he joked, "but because I could throw the football."

He quickly found out otherwise. After the team was told to break out positions, his coach told him to go off with the offensive linemen.

"I had a two-bar facemask on," Muñoz said. "The coach said, 'After practice, go see Homer and Henry and they'll get you a cage.'"

The rest, as they say, is history.

"If wasn't for my high school coaches, who taught me the game and taught me to love the game with a passion, I don't think I would have loved it like I did," Muñoz said. "I had guys who had boundaries for their players. Had discipline. It wasn't, 'do whatever you want as long as perform on football field.'

"They allowed me not only to be the best at what I was doing, but they made it fun."

Anthony MunozMuñoz learned to work to get better with every repetition in practice, a message that he carried with him into the NFL.

But coaching in high school goes well beyond teaching young people the game of football.

"I really think we have a responsibility -- we are role models," Muñoz said. "We have to be positive influences on young people.

"We have a responsibility of teaching them life skills -- character skills, trust. I felt like I was taught by some of the best coaches in my years of playing football.

"When I looked at having an opportunity to coach, the thing that really got me excited was I had a chance to be with these kids," Muñoz said. "But man, I had a chance to teach them about life -- things that are going to carry them well beyond the football field."

Muñoz still has that opportunity in his work with his foundation, and it's an opportunity he still appreciates.

"I know you have a passion, or you wouldn't be coaching the game," he told the coaches. "And what a privilege we have to be involved in these young people's lives."

Story courtesy Red Line Editorial, Inc.

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