5 Reasons Why You and Yours Should Read To the Hilt

If you’ve been visiting TheAthleticDirectors.com for any length of time then you’ve probably heard us reference Coach Kevin Templeton or, as he is known by many, Coach T. The Lord has greatly blessed Coach T’s ministry over the years. He has held a variety of positions at public schools, Christian schools, and Christian universities. All of Coach T’s experience and wisdom have finally been summed up in his book, To the Hilt: Coaching Character for Life. This is not your average coaching philosophy book. Allow us to help persuade you to pick up a copy for yourself and add it to your library.To-The-Hilt-banner-300x200

You can read more about who Kevin Templeton is, where he’s coached, and what he is currently doing here. However, we’d like to start off by saying a few words about what makes him different than other coaches of similar experience, position, and ministry.

The first word that comes to mind when I think of Coach T is culture. He is an expert in developing great athletic culture in a Christ-honoring way. The Lord has blessed him with a gift and he has used that gift “to the hilt” everywhere that he has gone.

The second word we think of is real. You don’t have the influence that Coach T has had by being fake. This is evidenced by the amount of actual quality relationships that he has with so many coaches, athletes, and ADs across the country. Everyone is important to him. He wants to see God work in the lives of everyone that he comes in contact with. The same can’t be said of many people of his position.

So this guy has a book. And it’s powerful. It’s written very colloquially and is a great read. Here’s five reasons why you and your athletic department NEED to check out To the Hilt: Coaching Character for Life by Kevin Templeton.


Broken Up into Quick, Digestible Chapters

Coach T knows that the life of a coach or AD (especially those in Christian schools) can be a whirlwind of business. To the Hilt is a book that you can get through quickly. Just take a chapter or two a day, spend fifteen minutes, and you’ll be done before you know it.

This fast-paced book also makes it a good read for high school kids. Coach T does a great job of connecting with young people even through the printed page. Even a student that would describe themselves as a non-reader would get into this book. The book, honestly, seems to be written to a high school student.


Could Be Used for Team Devotionals

frontsmallcoverHopefully, you spend time leading a team devotional whenever you get an opportunity. This is a huge way that you can impact athletes for Christ.

However, if you’re like us, then you probably struggle for content. I’ve used some of the same devotional ideas each year and it has become quite predictable for our athletes.

To the Hilt is full of great lessons that tie into a Biblical theme. It’s not fluff like some other “athletic devotional series.” There is real substance in this book.


Provides a Wealth of Illustrations

One thing we’ve found about our blog is that a surprising number of people who are not in Christian education or Christian school sports frequently visit. So for those of you who are out there that are youth ministers or pastors, you should give To the Hilt a read.

One thing I’ve always liked about Coach T’s devotions in person is that you can tell he’s done research into the topic that he is addressing. He always has a powerful illustration that flows seamlessly into his topic.

You’ll find yourself referencing To the Hilt a few times as you prepare for your various speaking engagements.


Emphasizes Individual Responsibility

Almost all of us would agree that responsibility is a character trait that is slowly fading away from our culture. People love to give excuses, point fingers, and place blame.

To the Hilt focuses on this in it’s lessons to young people. It highlights that everything in life is a choice. Big choices and little choices; they all have consequences. Coach T reminds the reader that you always control your choice, but you rarely, if ever, control your consequences.

The book isn’t just a scolding about making good choices, though. Coach T also spends a great deal of time talking about how to rebound from poor choices. This topic is equally as important as we all make poor choices and sometimes let those choices rule the rest of our lives.

This topic of individual responsibility is necessary to enforce with young people. But as you read To the Hilt it’s a great reminder to you about how life works how we are accountable to God for our choices.


A Great Read for Those Unfamiliar with Coach T

Personally, I had heard probably 75% of the stories and lessons that are written in To the Hilt straight from Coach T’s mouth. I attended his basketball camps in high school and I’ve been taking the teams that I coach to those same camps for the past seven years.

Now, don’t misunderstand me. I’ve read the book twice since I’ve purchased it. I don’t mind reading things I’ve already heard or read… if they’re worth reading. To the Hilt is great for everyone.

But I think it’s even better for those who are not familiar with Coach T. You get a large sample of his wisdom, instruction, and advice in one place and at one time. Not all of us can head to his basketball camp, but you can buy his book.


I recommend that you read it. Give it to your coaches and assistants to read. Give it to your athletes to read. You’ll be glad you did.


Check out our first book review of The Leftovers: Basketball, Betrayal, Baylor, and Beyond by Matt Sayman.

Jeff is the athletic director at Victory Baptist Academy. He is also the founder and administrator of TheAthleticDirectors.com.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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