Russ Milligan is beginning his 23rd season as the head softball coach at Center Grove High School. He also teaches physics at the school.
What do you enjoy about coaching? What keeps you enthused?
I coach because there is still a little kid in me that wants to play every day. I coach because it provides the competition that keeps me on edge. I know of nothing else that can provide me with the highest of highs and the lowest of lows.
I coach because there are few greater joys than watching a kid “come through in the clutch.” I coach because it keeps me young. I coach because it allows me to see kids in a different light than in the classroom.
I coach because I still love the kids.
How tough is it to balance everything, from work to coaching to family?
It is very difficult to balance coaching with the rest of your life. I have missed many games/performances that my sons have been in over the years, and not one has gone by that I didn’t feel some level of guilt.
I asked my boys many times in the past, and their response has always been, “Keep coaching. It’s what you are.”
Are there times when you ask yourself, enough is enough?
When is enough, enough? I don’t know. Coaching can be very frustrating at times. Coaches are treated very unfairly at times, and there have been times I just want to walk away. But then you win. But then you see your efforts rewarded. You get an email or a phone call from a former player who tells you that being a part of my team was the fondest memory they had from high school.
I think enough will be enough when I am no longer nervous before a game. Enough will be enough when I feel I am not changing, in a positive way, most of my players’ lives.