Not many have been as successful as a football coach as Dan Reeves. Although he has never yet coached the winning team in a Super Bowl, he has led two different teams to a total of four Super Bowls and coached three different NFL teams to the playoffs. Dan Reeves is also an outspoken Christian and humanitarian.
Reeves played football in college at the University of South Carolina, where he played quarterback. The outspoken Christian was later inducted into the school’s Hall of Fame.
The humanitarian played eight seasons with the Dallas Cowboys before becoming a successful head coach. He rushed for 1,990 yards and totaled 1,693 receiving yards. In his best year, 1966, he rushed for seven touchdowns and played extremely well in the NFL Championship game, although the Green Bay Packers did prevail against the Cowboys. His team reached the playoffs every year during Reeves’ playing days, reaching the Super Bowl twice. The Cowboys won 24-3 against the Miami Dolphins in 1971.
Reeves had several coaching positions with the Cowboys, before he became a successful head coach. The humanitarian was a player/coach in 1970. He became the running back coach in 1972. The outspoken Christian became offensive coordinator in 1977. The Cowboys made three more Super Bowls during Reeves’ tenure as an assistant coach, winning the championship with a win over the Denver Broncos in 1977.
It is one thing to be a successful assistant coach in the NFL. Some might have wondered if Dan Reeves could become a successful head coach. The outspoken Christian got his chance when he became the youngest head coach in the NFL in 1981, at 37. Besides being the head coach, he was named the Denver Broncos Vice President. During the next 12 years, Dan Reeves had a record of 110-73-1 during the regular season and was in the Super Bowl three times – losing each time. Friction between him and Broncos quarterback, John Elway, caused him to leave the team, despite a winning record. His teams accomplished everything but winning the Super Bowl.
The humanitarian has coached two other teams since then. Time will tell whether he coaches another. In 1993, Reeves took over the New York Giants, a team that was not on the rise. Reeves proved he could be a successful head coach without John Elway, as his first Giants team went 11-5 and made the playoffs. He was fired after the 1996 season, with a 31-33 record. In 1996 he became the head coach of the Atlanta Falcons, not an easy place for any coach to be successful. The team had gone 3-13 the year before. By 1998 the team went 14-2, and Dan Reeves appeared in the Super Bowl for a record ninth time as a player or coach. He had undergone heart bypass surgery earlier that season. The Falcons lost to the Denver Broncos, 34-19. His career record with the three teams is 190-165-2.
The outspoken Christian demonstrates his faith by not only sharing it, but also by being a humanitarian. Dan Reeves has said that as a little boy he once figured that the best Christian was the one the most successful at praying for wins against his opponent. He has said he since then has realized how he needed God’s forgiveness for sins and needed Him in the good times and the bad times. The humanitarian said he has always had God’s forgiveness when he has fallen short.
Reeves said after a knee injury ended his career as a player, a career he had previously had no interest in.
The outspoken Christian recently spoke in an article in www.usatoday.com about the responsibility coaches have to mold young people. He mentioned the violent confrontation at the college football game earlier this year between the University of Miami and Florida International and an NFL football game a couple of years ago in which a player stomped on the head of his opponent. Reeves said that coaches fail in their duty when they fail to teach not only football, but also self-control and respect.
One way the extremely successful football coach had demonstrated his faith is not only by being outspoken about it, but by being a humanitarian. He has been involved in assisting charities.
Dan Reeves and other former and current NFL stars and coaches were involved with NFL radio in helping to raise money for victims of Hurricane Katrina.
The successful head football coach had never been too busy to help others. The father of a nine-year-old who had leukemia received a call from Reeves one day, while he was still the coach of the Atlanta Falcons. The outspoken Christian called one day to ask the father about the condition of his son and talked to the boy personally. The humanitarian also told the father he was praying for the boy.
After that, Michael Vick, the quarterback of the Falcons, called and talked with the boy for ten minutes. Reeves then called the father every week to ten days to ask about the boy’s condition. Vick, Reeves, linebacker Keith Brooking, and running back Warrick Dunn took pictures, after the boy and his father came, at Reeves’ invitation to the team’s training camp. The father and son were given a tour. Reeves told the father he was praying for a miracle for the boy and that he would see the father and son one day in heaven.
The boy later died, but his father has never forgotten what Reeves and the other Falcons did.
His players from the three NFL teams respected Dan Reeves, the successful head coach. After the Broncos beat the Falcons in the Super Bowl, John Elway made a donation to a charity in Reeves’ name.
Whether or not Dan Reeves ever is a coach again or not, he has had an impact on the lives of many people. His impact has extended from being a successful head coach, to being an outspoken Christian, to being a caring humanitarian.