BURLINGTON, N.C. – National Agents Alliance President and CEO Andy Albright graciously allowed NAA University’s Coach to speak to the faculty at Smith Elementary School in Alamance County on Monday, according to Smith Principal Julie Hancock.
Unfortunately, Coach didn’t quite understand his role when he first arrived.
Hancock, who picks a book each year for her staff of nearly 60 to read together, wanted Coach to help introduce the book, “Training Camp” by Jon Gordon to kick off the school year with her team.
Coach is a mysterious fictional character created by Jay Daugherty – NAA’s Creative Director – known mainly by insurance agents with National Agents Alliance. Coach had other plans for Hancock and her staff. He tried to get the staff to exercise almost immediately.
Albright, who has to keep an eye on Coach because of some of his antics at times, said he was glad to hear that Coach behaved during his public appearance.
“We believe in making a difference at National Agents Alliance and we were happy to send Coach to visit with the staff at Smith Elementary,” Albright said. “I understand he wasn’t exactly clear on his role, but he got in line with the help of Principal Hancock. We’re glad the appearance turned out well for her team.”
It ended well, but the beginning was a bit rough as Coach entered the room.
“It was a rough start to say the least,” said Hancock, who used another Jon Gordon book, “The Energy Bus” last year with her staff. “We thought Coach would just come by and let me borrow his whistle to kick off our school year with my team, but he didn’t want to hear it. The next thing I knew, he was trying to talk to us about playing football.”
A dejected Coach said he probably wouldn’t have made the appearance had he seen the team he would be working with prior to his visit.
“I’m telling you right now, that had to be the oldest and largest elementary football team I’ve ever seen,” Coach said. “I mean, I know kids get held back from time to time, but there were some in this group that had to be pushing 30, 35 years old.”
The Smith staff’s first day back at school was Aug. 20 and Hancock thought Coach was a perfect fit to help kick off the year because the main characters in “Training Camp” are football coaches and players.
“The idea came about from some brainstorming I did with Jane Albright this summer and was made possible by Andy,” Hancock said. “Jay and I met earlier this month to plan what he would do for my staff. We hope that this is just the first of three visits by Coach. We hope to have him come again in February to check back with my team and encourage and motivate us to make it to the end. Then, at the end of the year, he will come back to celebrate our ‘victory.’”
Coach’s goal Monday was to make the staff laugh and get them excited about reading “Training Camp” and being part of a team.
After Coach understood what his role with Hancock’s team was, he decided to stay and helped the staff with a breakdown to end Coach’s appearance.
“Jay did an incredible job as Coach,” Hancock said. “Coach helped start our year off right. He helped get my staff fired up and, in the end, he determined that they are ‘sufficiently fired up.’ It was a great start. The staff enjoyed him and he made it fun.”