Mentors, Teachers, Coaches, Legends

A word of thanks to Ted and Steve

I know I am big on giving thanks and recognition for those people who have made an impact on my life. I have often sung the praises and the importance of the family support that I have always received; whether it was in my athletic endeavors, my leukemia diagnosis, or just living life, I have always had a strong support system.

There are two individuals however who have also played a very important role in who I have become. I initially wanted to talk about their impact on my athletic life, but looking back, these men also played a key role in helping mold and shape the total person that became Steve Brown. Both were coaches and teachers of mine at Haverford High School in Havertown Pennsylvania. Education and fitness have always been my hot buttons it’s pretty logical that I feel ties to these three people so many years later.

Ted Keyser coached me in soccer and volleyball at Haverford. Ted, or “TK” as he was known by all, did not look particularly  intimidating. He was (is) very slight in stature with a military buzz hair cut. I knew of Ted before I actually met him. Student athletes either respected the hell out of the man, or detested and rejected everything that he was trying to do. Ted had a brilliant and successful coaching career at Haverford. Haverford boys volleyball became synonymous with “State Champions”. And his soccer teams were a powerhouse year after year. TK got these results by turning boys into men and forced them to take ownership for their actions. He ruled with a hard disciplinarian approach. There were some soccer practices that didn’t even involve the use of a ball and consisted of nothing but conditioning. But as tough as he was, he was and I’m sure still is, a good and respectful man. I always wanted to do right by TK. If you kept your nose clean, and gave 110% on and off the field, TK liked you. And TK liking you was a always good thing. The funny thing is, to this day I think of him often when I am racing and training. I think of the principles and the work ethic that he instilled in us. I think about two words that he used to use all the time – “intestinal fortitude” when things get a little tough. Soccer went on to play a key role for me in college and beyond; thanks to Ted Keyser.

Steve Juenger was my high school basketball coach. Although he was just as successful as Ted Keyser, his approach was from the opposite end of the spectrum. Mr. Juenger was the gentleman coach and really didn’t believe in pushing his athletes too far. Instead he was a purest and a perfectionist who believed that shooting 100 foul shots everyday served you much better than doing conditioning drills. It was always a tough transition for those of us who played soccer and basketball. Since basketball followed soccer in the year, we were all so amped up from so much physical conditioning with TK that it was hard to slow the pace down and shift gears for Steve Juenger. I even remember asking Mr. Juenger if it would be Ok if we ran some suicide sprints after practice. (Yes, I was a little “off” back then as well). But the thing that I took away from Mr. Juenger was how to be a good person. Sportsmanship and conduct always came first in his book. And that is something else that I practice and preach every day. Steve Juenger was one of the first true ambassadors of good karma in my athletic career. Sadly we lost Mr. Juenger a few years back but his legacy lives large and Haverford has since named their gym after him.

So there you have it..just a few words of thanks and recognition to two men who made a lasting and meaningful impact on my life.

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