The last time I interacted with this man he had his hand on my face mask and was screaming. Good to see you coach 27 years later and without any chance of me missing my block. Hah!
Coach James Rexilius Jr is a living breathing legacy to the picture he's standing in front of, his father. As a 14 year old impressionable and even more so directionless kid I met his Dad for the first time. Coach Rex was a no nonsense Marine turned football coach. I've never been more afraid and also in awe of any human being I've met before or since. When he said jump, I'd say "how high?!" He was a role model any parent would feel blessed to have mentoring their son.
I've never taken a leadership class or even business class. I learned more about both playing four years of high school football being lead by this man. I experienced the ultimate success under his tutelage winning a State Championship my JR. year. When things fell apart my SR. year I learned even more about the power of a winning culture.
To this day I lead my team from the principles I experienced first hand way back then.
It's why the first thing you see walking into my office is this framed photo of Coach Rex. I received it after a keynote presentation I gave for Fellowship of Christian Athletes. Ironically that's another thing Coach Rex introduced me to, FCA every single Thursday night for four years in his basement.
When I heard he was ill I immediately rushed to his house. I missed saying goodbye in person by a few hours. Instead, I sat in his basement once again surrounded by the images of a successful life dedicated to helping others, myself included, reach their fullest potential.
His wake was attended by thousands. Thousands!
His son is following his Dad's footsteps having spent 30 years of his life coaching.
He's not the only one following his Dad's lead.