Bill Librera has served as a high school athletic director for 7 years and coached for 10 years before that. He currently serves as an Assistant Principle and Director of Athletics at Chatham High School. Bill was also my high school math teacher at West Morris Central and had a profound impact on my academic experience. Before high school I was an average C student who put very little effort toward my school work. After breaking my collarbone in my freshman year, I began going into school early to meet with Bill for extra help and unknowingly set the foundation for building an identity outside of sports. In the wake of the events with the University of Maryland football program and Urban Myers recent suspension, Bill and I explore the current paradigm shift in athletics in regard to what builds toughness and leads to success both on and off the field.
To this day I credit Bill for making me the student I became and what I was able to accomplish academically. Life is too short to not let people know how much they mean to you and this was a fun way to let Bill know how much I appreciated the opportunity to be a student in his classroom and my gratitude for the life lessons he imparted on me in the process.
Below you will find a list of talking points we cover throughout this interview:
First time I met Bill before having him in class was on the track and he was killing us in sprints.
The importance of sitting in the “Good T.”
Why athletics are an extension of the classroom.
How a broken collarbone set me up for academic success.
“You control the narrative of what things are.”
Why the finality of youth is something we need to battle – keeping perspective.
The importance of having the ability to come out of what you preconceive yourself to be.
How switching from baseball to track led to multiple opportunities for Bill in other areas of his life.
What went into Bill's decision to move from Wall Street to teaching.
How Bill battled the athlete identity and how that translated into how he treated his student athletes as a teacher and now an administrator.
Bill's grandfather played in the 1939 high school football national championship (video below)
The current state of health and safety in NJ high school sports.
How club teams complicate and sometimes compromise health and safety.
“A jockey can’t come out of the gate and crack the whip the whole time.”
Why coaches are now beginning to understand the totality of kids and that sports are not their everything.
How the roles have reversed between players and coaches today.
Why it is important for coaches to realize that they aren’t coaching themselves.
How to stay ahead of the curve in high school athletics.
Discussion on Hurt vs. Injured – Long Run vs. Short Run. :
"It’s hard to be an influential player when you aren’t at 100%."
Why we need to talk about the possibilities when it comes to health and safety.
The importance of having constant contact and building relationships with coaches and athletes as an athletic administrator.
Why we encourage young athletes to take the "blinders off."
The role coaching played in Bill’s transition to life after sports.