Michael D. Clark reports:
A character-building icon of Kings High School football is now spreading his life-lessons to youngsters across the nation.
Acclaimed Kings Coach Andy Olds was tapped by the National Football League over the summer to be the national director of the NFL’s Play 60 Character Camps.
He spent August traveling to New York City, Tampa and other NFL cities, working with hundreds of young people and meeting some of the NFL elites among coaches and players.
But the modest Olds downplayed his role.
“It’s just teaching,” said the veteran physical education teacher who this fall began his 15th season coaching the Knights on the gridiron.
“I’ve always believed that a really good teacher can coach anything, and I think of myself as a much better teacher than a football coach,” he said.
That may be so, but it’s also a fact that Olds has compiled a 123-36 career record at Kings and in 2011 led his squad to a Division II regional final game.
But it’s the mark he leaves on students that means more than any sports records.
Olds quotes one of his favorite sayings from former Ohio State University football coach Jim Tressel about working with youngsters.
“Kids don’t care what you know until they know you care,” Olds said. “It’s about helping kids become better people.”
And few do it better, said Kings Superintendent Valerie Browning, who described Olds as “a great role model for our students and our student-athletes.
“His caring and compassion for kids and dedication to Kings comes through in all that he does.”
NFL Hall of Famer and Cincinnati Bengal great Anthony Munoz and the Munoz Agency worked with the NFL as part of a Hispanic outreach initiative, which focused on offering youths an opportunity to experience football and develop character, while pushing the Play 60 message of staying active for at least 60 minutes a day.
Olds has known Munoz for several years and has worked his camps through the Munoz Foundation in the Cincinnati area. Munoz, who lives in Mason, said the Kings coach was a great fit for the position. Munoz said the camps have already made a significant impact not only with teaching football, but in also helping to develop character in the lives of young people. “It’s the character and Play 60 message,” Munoz said. “It’s really addressing the total person.”
That’s old news for many in the Kings community, because that whole-person approach has been Olds’ way for years, said Kings High School Principal Doug Mader.
“The NFL could not have chosen a better person to lead their Play 60 Character Camps,” Mader said. “Andy is a phenomenal teacher. Kings is a lucky place to have Andy Olds as a teacher, a coach and a friend.”
The Enquirer’s Mike Dyer contributed