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Homage Episode 34: Pat O’Hagan

Big Chief – WOW, what an episode.  I am so incredibly blessed that you gave me an opportunity to begin coaching youth football almost 17 years ago.  It was always a dream of mine, and you saw a young, hungry kid who just wanted an opportunity.  I am so thankful for that opportunity because it has allowed me to coach my son for the past four years, and I know that it’s something I will never be able to replace.  I never understood when I was a young man and playing sports how important (and incredibly awesome) it was to have my dad there for me.  I took it for granted, and it wasn’t until he passed away that I realized how incredibly blessed I was.  For that, I owe you an incredible debt.

To know Pat O’Hagan is to know one of the most authentic people you’ll ever meet.  WE AND US is something I learned from Pat all those years ago.  It was our football team’s mantra, and it carries me through many of life’s challenges – not only with youth sports but with business and family.  Tough times don’t last; tough people do.  You’ll understand what I mean when you listen to this episode.  Any time you faced a Wyckoff team under the leadership of Pat, you knew you were in a brawl.  Win, lose or draw – IT WAS ALWAYS A BATTLE.  This set the tone for me early in my career.  You see, the year I started, DSM was also my first year of coaching.  It was not easy, but it was something I wouldn’t change for anything.  Pat was also running his own business at the time, and he gave me so much wisdom and guidance as an entrepreneur.  The relationship (as I sit here and reflect) was so symbiotic, just one of those times/places where the planets aligned life.

Personally, Pat has meant such a great deal to me.  He and his family have been a part of my and our lives.  I’ve coached his son Patrick and got the opportunity to give Patrick an internship to get him going into his career in advertising.  It’s been such an incredible thing to see.  To this day, Pat and his wife still come out each year to watch our annual scrimmage against Wyckoff.  To be able to share this experience with them now that I am coaching my son never gets old.  It’s always a big bear hug and a “YO BIG CHIEF” when we see each other.  It never gets old, and for the first time – HOMAGE ALMOST SEEMS LIKE AN UNDERSTATEMENT.  It almost doesn’t do justice to my gratitude.

To close, knowing Pat O’Hagan is to know someone who always has your back and cares deeply about the people in his life.  This man gives of himself and never asks for anything in return.  I’ve done my best to model this in my life.  Pat was the one who taught me this very early in my adult life.  A lesson that I have worked long and hard to emulate throughout my career.  This Homage was such a blessing because as we’ve both gotten “more mature,” there are so many lessons and takeaways for both younger folks and those who are in every part of their career.  It’s never too early to keep evolving and re-inventing—both on the field and off.  Big Chief, this Homage is yours.  Forever grateful for all the High Lifes we’ve shared and the memories to make.  You’re a rare breed who has taught me a great deal about being a husband, dad, coach and mentor.  Love you immensely, brother.


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