Jordan Richards IS a Playmaker

Jordan Richards is making a difference in the lives of local students.

“Jordan’s Playmaker Pups” are a group of kids at 4 elementary schools who he is encouraging and rewarding for reading, academic and character development.
Jordan has enlisted Harrison Phillips (Stanford defensive end) to carry on the Stanford/Playmaker connection, as Jordan moves forward with his football career.

We invite you to join Jordan and Playmakers in our commitment to creating Uncommon Men. Learn more about our mentoring and sponsorship programs.

Stanford highlighted:

Jordan’s Accomplishments so far, along with being Team Captain:

• National Football Foundation Scholar-Athlete Award
• Stanford’s 12th winner, first since 2011
• Pop Warner National College Football Award
• Phil Steele All-America fourth team
• SI.com All-America honorable mention
• Capital One Academic All-District
• Pac-12 All-Academic first team
• All-Pac-12 first team
• Phil Steele All-Pac-12 first team
• Campbell Trophy finalist
• Lott IMPACT Trophy semifinalist
• Bednarik Award watch list
• Nagurski Award watch list
• Senior CLASS Award candidate
• ESPN.com midseason All-America
• ESPN.com preseason All-America

Making a Difference: Testimonial, December 2014

There are days when you wonder we are making a difference. Please indulge me as it was emailed to me a week or so, ago.

“How’s it going Coach Roz? My name is Anthony Escue. I wanted to thank you for what you had done for me a few years back. I had attended one of the Playmakers’ camps during a time in my life I am not too proud of.  I lied to you and I lied to my family, almost causing an incident bigger than I had foresaw.

Coach Roz, you helped me get out of a downward spiral my life was in when you intervened. It may have seemed at the time like you were just someone else telling me what I was doing wrong, but reflecting on it now, I realized that it was then when I finally understood that what I was doing was hurting others as well as myself. I feel like it was part of the reason that I joined the U.S. Army.  I needed to change and I needed discipline. When you visited my house with my mom and Grandma, I can say it was sort of my wake-up call. And if it weren’t for you intervening in my poor choices, I would not be the same kid. Thanks for helping me grow to be the man I am today. I truly appreciate it.”

Summer Reading and Mentoring

Our summer program this year began with 10 kids who are 4th and 5th graders. Their “primary” interest and our “leverage” is that they want to be high school football players.  They want to be “Lancers,” and that is a badge of honor in our community. The second part of this story is that there will be 10 to 15 high school Lancers that I coach, who will also be participating in the program.  Goals for our 8-week program include:

  • High school kids will be reading to and with elementary school kids. This may be the only reading that they do all summer. (Less than 40% of kids read at grade level when tested in the 3rd grade.)
  • We are modeling to young kids that reading is essential and cool. (Over 70% of kids will never be at grade level if they fall behind in 3rd grade.)
  • Creating accountability and a pay-it-forward plan that is a core value of Playmakers.

I see a community of kids, led by coaches, looking after one another and becoming uncommon young men of character.  To achieve that, the heavy lifting begins in a hot classroom in June with kids who just want to belong to something special.  That is Lancer Football, which is “leverage” used for a higher purpose than the game itself.

Greg “Coach Roz” Roeszler is the Founder and Executive Director of Playmakers Mentoring Foundation. If you would like to invite Coach Roz to speak to your group, he can be reached at www.ThePlaymakers.org.

If you would like to volunteer during one of our Summer Reading programs, please contact Coach Roz at coachroz@theplaymakers.org

Permission to coach you, hard

I met a tremendous Coach in Omaha named Mark McKelvy. Mark is committed to bringing peer-to-peer mentoring into his team as he understands the bigger picture of using his team as a platform for teaching character, being a great husband and father. Coach McKelvy now has a “platform” or “congregation” of over 40 kids and their families. All coaches do. Here is what begins to separate Coach McKelvy from his peers. He now implements specific mentoring “Every Day Drills” (EDD’s) into his program. Those drills include the following:

  • Making “pay-it-forward” mentoring a high value in developing his program
  • Developing relationships with chosen leaders with “off the field” relationship teachings
  • Inserting LOVE into his program at a higher level
  • He is coaching hard on mentoring at a high and accountable level

I am so energized to work alongside Coach McKelvy as we travel down this road together. He understands that statistically speaking, our African American boys today have a 50% chance of graduating high school (less than that in the inner city and areas where we coach). Together, that will NOT happen on our watch. I hope you will follow along, comment, or join us in this tremendous adventure. Coaches can change the trajectory of our fatherless society where 2 out of 5 kids in our country are living in a home without their biological father.

Greg “Coach Roz” Roeszler is the Founder and Executive Director of Playmakers Mentoring Foundation. If you would like to invite Coach Roz to speak to your group, he can be reached at www.ThePlaymakers.org. To contact Coach Roz at Playmakers, e-mail coachroz@theplaymakers.org

Recognizing Real Heroes

I get the opportunity through my organization to work with some great kids, coaches, and other organizations. Mentoring fatherless kids in core values brings a satisfaction that is hard to describe. We are working with kids who have improved their grades, mentored other kids when they got old enough, and are serving in our community. As time goes by, it will be fun to watch how they become “uncommon men,” and maybe even a Husker.

Our annual Dinner/Auction in Omaha on March 24 is honoring my friend Calvin Jones. Calvin still holds records as a Husker, and went on to win a Super Bowl with the Packers, accomplishments that my kids look at with great admiration. Calvin certainly has been to the sports mountain top.

We are honoring Calvin not for those reasons but for reasons that most likely will not make headlines or ESPN. Those days are most likely behind him, like so many defenders he had in his football rear view mirror. We are honoring Calvin for the man that he has become.

Today, Calvin works for others. He gives his time in assisting fatherless and at-risk kids with his advice, love and experience. Calvin has come to California to rally Huskers to our cause of changing the trajectory of our fatherless society. He does it not for a fee or recognition, but because it is the right thing to do.

Tommie Frazier will be at the Dinner, too. Tommy will join us in honoring Calvin, because men of great character rally up when the cause is right. Mentoring fatherless kids in Omaha and honoring Calvin is a right cause. Paul Limongi, one of the best high school football coaches in the land, will be there, too. Coach Limongi knows character because he models it. He can get me fired up just listening to him read the phone book.

Today, 2 out of 5 kids live in a home without their biological father. In the neighborhoods we work in, it is over 50%. These kids have no role models or mentors. That is changing because of the efforts of real heroes like Calvin, Limongi and others. These men facilitate a mentoring program through an uncommon organization called Playmakers. Playmakers has partnered with some tremendous partners, including PlaySmart, SAC Federal Credit Union, Scheels, and other good people from Husker Nation, in providing hope to these kids.

Our March 24 Dinner kicks off Playmakers’ 2012 campaign in Omaha, where we will serve over 300 kids this year. That is just a start in the daunting task we have signed up for. Honoring Calvin is just a small way to say “Thank you” for what he has done in rallying some great people to our cause. You are welcome to come and join us for a fun night with some great people.

…Coach Roz

Greg “Coach Roz” Roeszler is the Founder and Executive Director of Playmakers Mentoring Foundation. If you would like to invite Coach Roz to speak to your group, he can be reached at www.ThePlaymakers.org.

This article originally published 1/9/12.

There Is Hope ~ Do You Care?

Character: Doing the right thing when no one is looking
Although this post was written in 2011, we thought it worth re-posting.

Having just finished watching countless bowl games and beginning to process the 2011 football season, I feel as frustrated as ever as I look at the character breakdowns in our student athletes across the country. Just Google “college football arrests” and get ready to stick your finger down your throat. Not to single out one institution, but one young man, when stopped by law enforcement, commented, “I don’t give a *#%#*, I play for (school)…and I’ll get out of it anyway.” Who is mentoring this kid who has accepted a full scholarship and represents that institution? I can just imagine what his GPA is.

I coach in Sacramento where one of our high school coaches was just arrested for his alleged relationship with a minor girl from his campus. Pile on top of all that, my gut tells me we are just on the tip of the iceberg in lies and cover-ups re: the Penn State fiasco.

Huskers, you did not go the season without character breakdowns either. The young men we watch and who paint their faces red or some other color owe us more. The coaches who coach them owe us a product we can be proud of. So you think I am being too judgmental? Don’t let yourselves off the hook. We play, coach, and watch the greatest game that God put on the face of the earth. The Super Bowl is nothing short of Christmas. The National Championship Game is now prime time. So I’d like to offer some light, some positives, in what we have become numb to.

The University of Hawaii’s quarterback is David Graves. Now I will admit that I know this young man and his family personally, but I will write about any kid who has the character that this kid demonstrates. I saw David last week at church with his family, as he was home on a short break. I happened to have a 7-year-old with me who we brought along that day. David Graves made this kid feel special just by talking to him and being interested in him. David asked the “What position do you play” questions and more importantly, he created “a moment” for this little guy.

This kid didn’t stand in line at the mall to meet Graves. He didn’t have to pay to go to his camp. He met Graves in church where Graves is very much at home. David will now ask me how the little guy is doing, and he’ll look for him this summer. My guess is the little dude will be wearing a Rainbow Warrior Football tee shirt as soon as I get Graves the kid’s size. David has created a memory, and he will be remembered by the experience that Graves took the time to make.

My guess is, David understands why he can’t get behind the wheel if he shouldn’t. He knows how to make the right decisions. I want to be around guys like David Graves. They bring me great pride, and I am a fan who has watched him growing into the man God intended. He may or may not be in the NFL (I wouldn’t bet against him), but who cares? David will be a success because he has character formed by a Mom and Dad who coached him well.

Here is even more to look forward to: David’s younger brother, Dano, just finished his freshman season as the quarterback at the Air Force Academy. That’s right, two brothers playing college football, both quarterbacks giving to others.

My hope is that you will not become numb to what we cheer for. We can demand more and set the bar higher. You can be a fan who comes and goes with little significance, or you can stand up, be heard and demand character from your chair. Do it by writing. Become a voice and make a difference. Maybe you will meet some student/athletes you can be proud of. Maybe you will meet David and Dano Graves. Refuse to cheer guys who tell law enforcement officers, “I am going to get out of it anyway.”

…Coach Roz


Greg “Coach Roz” Roeszler is the Founder and Executive Director of Playmakers Mentoring Foundation. If you would like to invite Coach Roz to speak to your group, he can be reached at ThePlaymakers.org.

 

Published on 01-22-2012

There Is An Oak In Palo Alto

Spring ball 2012 is beginning or has begun around the country. It is a time of the year when most college football players make the team and depth charts are set. Spring ball is the time where kids rise to the next level or fall off and head home.

They head home for a variety of reasons: grades, competition, homesickness, or character breakdowns that embarrass themselves, their families or the institution that is paying for their schooling. Junior colleges will fill their rosters with some head cases that just didn’t understand the opportunity they had in front of them.

Let me put a kid on your radar screen who will not be coming home, except to say, “Hello.” He is beginning Spring ball in his sophomore season at Stanford and his name is Jordan Richards. I get excited just writing about Jordan. He is one of the most humble kids I have ever met and plays the game with his hair on fire. Richards is the real deal in every sense of the term. He is a student/athlete who understands that academics comes first. He played as a true freshman at safety and will hit you hard enough to give the ball carrier snot bubbles. If I had to bet, Jordan will play on Sundays after he graduates from one of the nation’s top institutions.

Each Friday I text a handful of kids who play college football around the country, wishing them luck and to stay healthy. I am so proud that whatever road trip they are on, I will get a text back from each of them that says, “Thanks, Coach.” Jordan’s text is usually a little longer as he asks how “the boys” (that I am coaching) are doing. He really wants to know how they are. He has the heart of a Warrior-Poet. He is a man who has a heart for others. He was built for others. Jordan Richards will make a difference on the field, at home and in the community, and Jordan will make others around him better men. He is the product of two parents who instilled values that Jordan learned and follows. Pretty simple formula really – establish values, and build character traits around those values.

Jordan is a leader in every sense of the word. I have watched him speak to our Playmakers in many different settings with a humble confidence that makes me proud. He talks of sacrifice, about putting team above self, and his faith. His priorities are in order and the future is very bright for this young man. He has already played on the biggest college stage and never flinched as a freshman, covering some of the best in the country. Richards is even a better man than he is a football player. He was recruited by Jim Harbaugh, and when Harbaugh left for the 49ers, Jordan never wavered because he made a commiment to something bigger than an individual.

Jordan Richards will play on Sundays if he wants to and if it is in God’s plan. You see, Jordan will follow God’s plan for him. When he is playing on Sundays, he will still answer my texts, show up when you ask him to, I won’t have to go through his agent to reach him, and I won’t have to pay him a speaker’s fee. He just knows that he is blessed, he has a responsibility to pay-it-forward, and will give all that he has.

In a day where we need heroes who can be counted on, this is a guy that is worth watching. Keep your eye on Jordan Richards on the field and off. He is an uncommon man who I am proud to say, “I know him.”

…Coach Roz

Coach Roz Is the Executive Director of Playmakers Mentoring Foundation, which is based in Sacramento. To contact Coach Roz, you can email him here.

This article was first published on 02-28-2012.

Character: Doing the right thing when no one is looking

It may surprise you to hear we have had over 30 elementary and middle school kids from the inner city in a reading program this summer who will read simply because they want to play football. It may also surprise you to hear that our kids jumped over a grade level in 8 weeks! Not only that, the kids mentoring them also jumped their reading scores. The kids had fun and began to believe that they are capable of learning.

Here is the sad truth:

  • Only 37% of the kids in our country are reading at grade level when tested in the third grade.
  • 63% are below grade level and there is a 70% chance they will never get caught up.

Now just take a guess what the statistics are for crime, single family probability and hopelessness in a group of kids who cannot read.

Take a look at the following short video to see why this is working: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1En4_…ture=autoshare

We believe we are on the edge of the most significant reading/mentoring program in the country. It uses football at the earliest level to inspire reading and learning. It creates tomorrow’s leaders at an early age, and it is getting results.

What could be better than that?    ~Coach Roz

If you would like to invite Coach Roz to speak to your group, he can be reached at coachroz@ThePlaymakers.org or 916-220-1284.

First published in August 2012