Trickles of sweat ran down their faces as the seventh-grade football players, dressed in shoulder pads and blue and white jerseys, huddled around their coaches to receive pats on the back and words of encouragement.The players attend All Saints’ Episcopal School, one of two local schools where members of Sigma Alpha Epsilon mentor by coaching sports.
“This is the most satisfying thing I have ever done,” said head coach Jeff Broyles, a junior communication studies major.
Broyles, along with his fraternity brother, Haden Masterson, also a communication studies major, coach basketball, baseball and football at All Saints’ Episcopal School. They are paid for the work but say they aren’t doing it for the money.
Jay Miller, also a member of SAE, coaches baseball and football at Trinity Valley School.
“There’s a lot more to being in a Greek organization than just the parties; it’s about being a leader,” said Miller, a sophomore accounting and finance major.
Both Broyles and Masterson said they enjoy the coaching but the ability to relate to the boys is what drives them to continue coaching the teams.
“They give us great tips about real life stuff,” said Clark Nowlin, a seventh-grader on the football team.
Clark and a group of boys spoke about their coaches during a water break at practice.
“They’re awesome,” said Dusti Gasser, a center for the team. “They talk our language and aren’t too old.”
His energetic teammates nod their heads in agreement.
A seventh-grader, William Nolan said his coaches remember what it was like to be their age and talk to them about it.
Masterson said many of the boys have nannies around them most of the time and don’t have an older person to look up to.
“They don’t see us as adults. If they have a problem, they can come to us,” Masterson said.
Aside from giving advice about girl problems, Broyles said, he also talks to teachers to make sure his players are performing academically.
Molly Reid, whose son is on the team, said Broyles and Masterson are great coaches and positive role models for the team.
“They really get to know the boys on a personal level,” Reid said. “I wish they could stay in college and be with us forever.”
Broyles and Masterson said they don’t plan on making coaching a career, but enjoy doing it just the same.
“There’s a lot of responsibility with this job so I stay pretty busy,” Broyles said.
Broyles is taking 12 hours of school, works another job, mainly on the weekends, and takes several courses each summer to stay ahead, but he said it’s worth the work.
Miller said coaching was his way to give back to the community and the people who did the same for him.
Masterson said in the beginning, he coached for the money. But now, he said, “The kids are everything.”