Matthew Nesbitt… The Student… The Athlete… The Coach
by Grace Lokole
Most people that come across the 6’2 305 pound frame of Matthew Nesbitt on campus figure he is a football player for the Guelph Gryphon’s; some may know he is studying human kinetics here at the University. Even fewer people know that this summer he was the Head Coach of the Guelph JV summer football team. Those of you who continue to read this blog will get to find out what fuels the humble but ever passionate Matthew Nesbitt.
The three-digit number above is a representation of what sort of commitment Matthew Nesbitt has made towards being a Gryphon football player. Powerful words such as commitment, stability, and family were used to describe what being a Gryphon means to him and as a coach his goals are simply to teach younger players what commitment means, to build stability in all aspects of their lives, and last but not least to show his players what a football family truly is. The core influence for Matthew being a coach is credited to his positional coach while playing for the London Falcons Junior Varsity Football team. Nesbitt states that, “This coach gave me the confidence to strive for many of my football goals. It is the same influential role that this coach played in my life that I try to instill in all my players every year.”
Nesbitt first started coaching four years ago with the intent of spreading the same passion he has for the game to other young players. He since then is very thankful for the many opportunities that have risen to increase his love of coaching and playing football, “Not only for the X’s and O’s, but more importantly for the positive impact and development of many inspiring young players.”
The conclusion of the summer marked the end of his first full season as a head coach; amongst the many lessons learned this summer Head Coach Nesbitt has learned “how important it is to coach the person not just the athlete.” A philosophy Coach Nesbitt has taken to heart is producing a team with 80% of his players being mature goal-setting individuals; he feels a mature team can take on any team, stating “The drive and maturity to prepare is so important in the developmental stages of young football players. With these characteristics present, it makes a coach’s life much easier.”
Matthew Nesbitt story ties in with a bigger theme for this batch of Gryphon football players and coaching staff. Those who have followed Gryphon football over the past half-decade have witnessed a cultural change not only in wins and losses but also in values and tradition. Matthew Nesbitt the student athlete becoming Matthew Nesbitt the Head Coach is what Gryphons giving back is all about. Taking the lessons learned as a Gryphon student athlete and sharing them with those within arms reach.
One of the last questions I asked Matthew was. “What are some of the values you learned from being a Gryphon athlete that you tried to instill with your own team?” He answered using his own experiences and used words such as preparation and hard work to combat any and all challenges that may arise as a football player. Answering, “Being an undersized player at my position, I always believed I would control what I could control through preparation. Working hard in every element of the game would benefit me as a player, such as training harder than others, watching more film than others, and taking more successful mental reps then others. I try to teach my athletes the importance of preparation and the importance of attaining personal goals.”
What I want you to take away from this blog is that there are athletes all over the CIS that choose to share the experiences they learn from their respective athletic families and pass them on to younger adults and Matthew Nesbitt’s story is a reminder that being a Gryphon athlete is not just about playing football. Once you put on that jersey it becomes a lifestyle that if embraced becomes contagious. On this summer’s Guelph JV summer football team were volunteers ranging from “highly qualified” high school coaches from Guelph, and a few current University of Guelph Gryphon football players. They shared a common theme of work ethic and communication.
A majority of student athletes are not just student athletes; they use the lessons learned from their experiences to influence others around them. Their accomplishments usually go beyond the classrooms, labs, fields, courts or rinks that are attributed with the title of “student athlete”
Matthew Nesbitt is a great story but his story is one of the many great stories that can be told about your Guelph Gryphon student athletes.