Everyone has that person in their life. That person that believes in them and brings out their best. Sometimes that person is a parent, a teacher, a boss, a mentor, or a coach. Sometimes that person is all of those things.
This fall Jacob Oiler is beginning his Freshman year at Eastern Kentucky University. He loves football and is passionate about it. In addition to his studies, he will be supporting the team in their preparation for game days and serving on the sidelines on Saturdays as a student assistant. How he got there is pretty amazing.
During his Freshman year of high school, Jacob was injured and told he would never play football again. Anyone who pursues something with passion knows, being told you cannot pursue the passion anymore is life changing. At this point, Jacob’s coach was by his side.
Patrick Cotter is a football coach and social studies teacher at Fairbanks. It doesn’t matter what the setting, he finds ways to care, connect, and believe in every person he serves. We are truly happy he does! Coach Cotter was one of the first people to connect with Jacob after his injury and find a way to keep coaching him.
Over the next three seasons, Coach Cotter developed a plan for Jacob to be a student assistant. Jacob helped in preparation and was very visible on game nights. Coach Cotter invested in Jacob. In turn, Jacob invested in the team, his teammates, and his community. During his senior year, the two worked together to find a college football program that would allow Jacob to serve in a similar role. This led to conversations with Eastern Kentucky where Jacob could continue to pursue his passion.
Patrick did not know I was going to write this. In fact, he would probably ask me not to. He does not seek recognition for serving his school community. He serves because he is a teacher and coach. His job under the lights on Friday nights is the visible piece, but people do not see the private conversations, phone calls, planning, and care that takes place all year long.
In Fairbanks Local Schools, we have five expectations for all staff members. Number One and Number Five are to “Care About Kids”. We bookend “Care About Kids” because it is the most important thing we do. To “Care About Kids” is to be the trusted adult that a young person turns to when they need support like a call made to a college football program. To “Care About Kids” is to go above and beyond to make difference in someone’s life without seeking any recognition.
We are fortunate in Fairbanks Local Schools to have many people that serve their students like Mr. Cotter. Please come out Friday night to support our school, football team, and band against North Union. If you get a chance please thank all our “Coaches”, especially Mr. Cotter, for all they do for kids everyday!!
PS- Coach Cotter just shared with me this morning that Jacob got a promotion and will be traveling with the football team for away games. Way to go Jacob!!