One of the many things that I find endearing about Bo Pelini (along with his great defenses) is that he makes time to take his kids to school each day and allows all of his assistants to do the same. It would be all too easy for Pelini to fall into the trap of leaving home before his kids wake up and return home after they fall asleep. To the kids, he’d be a parent in title only and something of a stranger they might only see a bit on weekends.
Perhaps absorbing the wisdom of Harry Chapin’s “Cat’s in the Cradle” (see Ever, Most Depressing Songs) Pelini realizes that a father’s job is more than simply providing. Sociologists point to a failure to recognize this as a major cause of divorce. There are still a great number of husbands who believe they have no responsibilities beyond earning a paycheck and a great number of women who realize they can get child support without having a man to cook for and clean up after. Any Dad who doesn’t contribute more than a paycheck, isn’t likely to see his kids more than a custody agreement allows (cue Toby Keith’s “I’m So Happy I Can’t Stop Crying”).
The NCAA runs a great series of ads pointing out how most student athletes will be going pro in something other than their sport. It always seemed that Nebraska’s athletics was true to that mission, in graduating a high number of kids and having many of them excel academically. Beyond the classroom, head coaches are also father figures and role models to the players they lead. Pelini sets no better example for his players than that of concerned and attentive Dad.
It serves as a great lesson to his players that no matter how busy they are and how high the stakes, to make time for their families. Pelini says you have to go about things the right way all of the time. But he doesn’t just say it. He lives it.