The roles of assistant football coaches can range from program to program. For Cincinnati Mason and assistant coach Nate Petrey, the benefit has nothing to do with schematics and game plans and everything to do with togetherness.
Petrey is a former Mason football player with Down Syndrome. After graduating he joined the coaching staff because of the bond he has with the program. His responsibilities include setting up the practice field and helping with drills. And most importantly, he serves as the glue that binds the team together.
“This football team is my family,” Petrey told Cincinnati ABC affiliate WCPO. “I’m like a big brother to them.”
That’s not an overstatement. Here’s one Mason senior:
“He’s always coming in happy, smiling, and it gets everyone excited.”
“When he walks into the locker room or when he walks into the coaches office, the coaches perk up and they’re like, ‘All right, Nate Dog’s here! Coach Petrey’s here!’ And automatically he’s making us better.”
Those are powerful endorsements of the value of a coach who doesn’t do anything when it comes to game planning for week-to-week match ups, but may have an even greater impact on their larger success. So far so good on that front in 2018; the Comets are off to a 3-1 start.