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Hayden Chandley: You’re Never Too Young To Lead

"We came there as a team and we left as brothers."
 

“There's a difference between being ready and being prepared. For example, being ready for the world to end and you're ready for Heaven or Hell. Being prepared is knowing without a shadow of a doubt that when you die you're going to Heaven. Are you prepared today? Same way with tomorrow night. If we’re just ready for winning or losing that's not good enough. We are prepared to WIN.” -Hayden Chandley

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If you were at the Legends of the Musket Bowl Alumni Football USA game on May 19th, you may have overheard a kid in the bleachers ask: "Who is that man in the red shirt jumping up and down, throwing papers and screaming?" That would be Hayden Chandley, the 19 year old coach for the Boone Alumni team. We caught up with Coach Chandley after the game, to learn how a teenager led his old high school's alumni team to a 42-19 victory. 

How did you become the coach of the Boone alumni team?

I talked with my former high school coach Drew Nelson about coming to watch practice and stuff. I was not playing in the game because I play football in college at UVA Wise. After a couple of practices, we got to talking about me helping out the team. One thing led to another and next thing I know, I'm calling in the plays during practice during game week while we were preparing for game situations. I know that God put me in the situation to coach this game for a reason, I know that He had His hand in all of this.

 

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What makes a good leader?

It's not always about being vocal, but you can be a leader by leading by example. It's not always the most talented player or most vocal player. But when it comes down to crunch time, he is going to be there to make a play.

 How does age factor into being a good coach?

It doesn't matter what age you are when you put the headsets on to lead your team on the field of battle. After    4 years of high school football and one year of college football, I feel like I am very gifted with a great knowledge of the game for anyone my age (19). I am not the most vocal, the strongest, or the fastest but a leader is one who shows heart and character when your team is battling adversity. I strive to do that. I know I would be nothing without my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. This would also speak to why Tim Tebow is my hero and I look up to him more than words can express because of his love for the Lord.

 

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Favorite moment of the game?

My favorite moment of the game, had to be when Dave Cox, a player who wasn't even dressed out when the game started,paid his money half way through the second quarter and came up with 2 huge interceptions for us during the game. That was just a classic. Watching the film, there is a fake punt that Crockett runs, I believe it was in the second quarter, and their punter started running forward before the snap and caught the ball 'on the run' so to speak. I went absolutely nuts. The referees did not call some type of penalty and I started jumping up and down, throwing my papers, yelling at the top of my lungs. Thankfully they were unsuccessful in their fake and we regained possession anyway. We won the game! It felt great and it makes my job easy when I got a group of guys like I had. Thanks to everybody.


When you look at the team, what makes you proudest?

The way we all, as men, came together in such little time. Guys from 19-50 years old, with me being the youngest.  For guys more than twice my age to have enough respect and trust in me, and to believe in me to lead them on the field of battle to lead us to victory that night is just an amazing thing. They all trusted a 19 year old to actually know what he was talking about and to put the correct strategies and plays in, and to call them during the game at the correct time. Most of these guys had never met me before. We all had a special bond. We came there as a team and we left as brothers. 

altDo you see coaching in your future?

I have always wanted to coach.  It just thrills me to lead a bunch of men playing one of the most amazing sports in all the world and trying to beat your opponent every night you suit up. I plan on majoring in education, getting a history degree and coaching football. Coaching is my dream, and I plan on making that dream a reality. 

He is not alone in believing this dream will be a reality.

Here's what his team has to say about their coach: 

“Hayden our coach in the middle kneeling,they just don't get any better than that guy. HE IS FIRST CLASS ALL THE WAY!!!!”- Dwayne Cole 

"I saw you get fired up over there buddy, you did a great job. You would make a good coach Hayden."-Matt Albright 

 "Hayden, it was a pleasure serving with you guys and allowing this old (young) guy to come in and participate. Best wishes to you and the bright future you have coming your way."-Todd Belcher

 And Drew Nelson, the guy on the team who once coached Hayden? Referring to a heated moment during the game when Coach Chandley went past the numbers : "haha I thought of dragging him off the field but... he was into it let him coach! "  

Our thoughts exactly.

 

Meet Hayden: