College basketball coaches sit and watch AAU tournaments discussing everything that has to do with the players they are watching. What is his height, weight, body build, hand size, does he have knock knees all his physical attributes? What are his grades like? Is he a good person? Does he drink or smoke? And finally, does he come from a single parent home? Several college coaches have said they prefer not to recruit players from a single parent home headed by a mother. Why would it be a problem, you might ask? Well, in some cases the player does not understand how to deal with a man. If the player is an African American player and the coach is an African American that presents another problem because he has never had to respect an African American male. In these cases, he doesn’t want to take orders from one. As we dive into this problem, let’s go to the beginning. The mother by nature is a nurturer and the father is a disciplinarian, in most cases. When mommy’s baby falls, she kisses the scar and tells him it will be ok. A father in the same situation would tell him to get up and dust himself off. Well, the mother is playing her role. The problem is when the son starts to always look for his mother to rescue him when times get hard. Now when the son starts to play sports, she may still be overprotective. This type of mother views everything as everyone else’s fault and never holds her son accountable for his mistakes and actions. This is because she wants to protect him from everything. This is a beautiful trait. The problem is life doesn’t work like that. It is impossible to protect your child from everything in the world. We have an incredible rise in transfers from year to year. What happen to finishing what you start? I wanted to quit something when I was young, and my mother said she did not care let him quit. My father said “No, anything we pay for, and he starts he is going to finish.” This is something that still sticks with me today. A father or a strong male figure wants to teach a young man how to respond when times get hard. How to deal with adversity and never give up, even if he did. There have been countless players who wanted to leave, because times got hard and male influences have talked them into stick it out and working for everything he wanted. In the real world very, few mothers can make a call and their job is safe. Very few can call and any problems with “the authorizes” will go away. Young men trying to become men need discipline and the strength to stay and fight. An example of this was Earl Monroe, he wanted to leave Winston-Salem State University after his freshman year because he was only averaging seven points a game in limited minutes. He had the conversation with legendary coach “Big House” Gaines who promised Monroe’s mother before taking him that he would care for Earl like his own son. He told Earl “He was not leaving and that he was going to stay and fight through the troubles and work harder.” Monroe did just that and went on to have a great career in college and the NBA. Good thing he stayed. It is said that sport imitates life and vice versa. If a person can’t be counted on in the classroom and everyday life, he will not be able to be counted on when it is time for him to perform on the field of play. It is life. A father’s job is to teach discipline and work ethic, which are the traits necessary to be successful in the classroom, life and on the field of play. My personal experiences as a college coach have been like the ones outlined earlier. I spent a lot of time with the players early in their careers trying to curb some of these issues before my head coach got to them, but often it was too late. I have now begun coaching in the high school ranks. Where I believe I have a chance to make a difference in these kid’s lives even if they do not have the father in the home, because I am catching them early. I learned from this year that the younger kids listen more to the information about life that I shared with them. Mothers think it is cute when their young son has a girlfriend. Fathers understand that those are distractions from what is important. This is not to say all mothers are soft on their kids. It is only to say in some of my experiences coaching this is what has happened. I have had a few great mothers who gave me the reigns to be as tough as possible on their sons to help them reach their goals. These are the parents that understand that life is not easy, and you must be mentally tough to survive in it. I tell the kids Either you can let us teach you or life will teach you and life is a cruel teacher.” So, is important to have a father in your life in college athletics? The answer is young men need a strong male figure who cares about him to be in his life. He does not need a father who wants to relive his youth through him. He does not need a father who wants to have a friend. He needs someone who will teach him the skills that will stick with him throughout. Young men need the love of a mother, but to be successful they need the toughness that comes with having a strong male figure in their life.