Hello Coach Dye,
Not sure you remember me, but you, coaches Herring and Blakeney recruited me out of Palm Bay, Florida back in 1987. I wanted to take this opportunity to thank you for all that you did for me and how you taught me to be an Auburn man by the way you lived you life.
My football career at Auburn was short-lived due to a major knee injury, however, that was just the beginning of my life lessons on perseverance, dedication and everything instilled in me by way of the Auburn Creed. You hold a special place in my heart and I will never forget my time with you at Auburn University.
You are a great Ambassador for Auburn, one that helped make me the person that I am today.
Best wishes to you and your family during this holiday season, coach.
Stefan J. Weir, Deputy Chief
Program Services Branch
Division of State and Local Readiness
Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response
U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Thanks for the letter, Stefan. It is great to hear from you. One of the best things about having been a coach and having coached football is that you know once you've been their coach, you're their coach for life. It's not a bell you can un-ring whether it was good or bad. Hopefully, most of it was good when you have got a chance to be an influence over a young man at a very critical stage of his life where he is making the decisions that he is going to live the rest of his life.
A lot of it is just basic stuff about the kind of people you associate with because there is a lot of peer pressure and a lot of bad stuff out there that young folks can get into at that age when you're full of life and you're full of energy. It can be a difficult time for young men and young women, but the decisions that they make at that stage in their life are going to have a far-reaching effect on them.
You can make the right decisions and make your life easier or you can make the wrong decisions and make your whole life difficult when it doesn't have to be.
The lessons that you teach in football on what it takes to win on Saturday, including discipline, hard work and working together as a team, are things that will help young men and women succeed outside of the sports world.
I have a lot of my former players who stay in touch or come back to see me. Sometimes I haven't seen or heard from them in 15 to 20 years and it is exciting to find out how they are doing. I hear from players I coached at East Carolina, Alabama and even some from my time at Wyoming. It always makes me feel good to hear from them, and most of them who call or come by have a good story with a good ending to tell me.
(If you have a question or a subject you would like me to write about in future columns, you can email it to PatDye@autigers.com.)
Editor's Note: This is part of a series of columns that College Football Hall of Fame member Pat Dye is writing for AUTigers.com about the game he played and coached. An All-American player at Georgia and one of the top head coaches in SEC history at Auburn, he also served as a head coach at East Carolina and Wyoming. Dye writes three columns for AUTigers.com--The Dye-Log, the Dye-Gest and Pat's Picks.