Gottfried continues coaching for Team Focus

By Hunter Ford
TWS Reporter

In the spring of 1956 an 11-year-old boy sat on his bathroom floor holding his father’s head in his lap. His father had collapsed from a massive heart attack. The young boy cried and prayed and talked to his father as his father’s life ended.

The boy and his two brothers were separated for a time, because his mother couldn’t afford to pay the rent. Eventually, the boy became a star athlete with a college scholarship. Later he became a head football coach, for Murray State, Cincinnati, Kansas and Pittsburgh. The boy was Mike Gottfried, a well-known color commentator for ESPN college football broadcasts.

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Gottfried never forgot the profound effect of his father’s death. “I still miss my dad,” he said.

In 2000 he founded a group called Team Focus, a ministry with the mission of mentoring boys ages 10 to 18 who are lacking a father in their lives.

Gottfried had been instrumental in organizing the GMAC Bowl in Mobile. The first Team Focus activity was a week long camp paid for with funds left over from the inaugural bowl game.

“It was going to be a one time deal,” Gottfried said. “But we were fortunate enough to have some people who really supported the idea and it kept growing.”

Now Team Focus holds camps several states and the District of Columbia. Last week Team Focus held a camp at Lawson State Community College in Birmingham.

The leadership camp features a variety of instructional and sports related activities ranging from how to tie a necktie to ironing clothes to respecting women. It’s a faith-based program.

“When my dad died, the devil wanted to jump into the picture,” Gottfried says. “I was under attack, even though I didn’t know it at the time. But God was there too. He wanted to fill that hole with good things and good people.”

Gottfried has written an autobiography, Coach’s Challenge, Faith, Football and the Father Gap. For more information about Coach Gottfried and Team focus visit teamfocusonline.org or contact the group toll free at 1-877-635-0010.