Inside Pitch Magazine, May/June 2021

Intentional Walk: A Hand on My Shoulder

By Gary Gilmore, Coastal Carolina University head coach
Gary Gilmore in the dugout is holding papers and looking out into left fieldThere was a time I was actually going to resign. I was just so frustrated. A great friend/mentor, my minister and my dad talked me out of it. I got into a devotional group and we met once a week for several years. It was my greatest hour during the week, regardless of how many games we’d won or whatever, it really was. 

I’m not the greatest Christian and I’m not perfect, but we were spending a lot of time in hotels during the [2016] postseason, and I got tired of watching TV and decided I was going to read something. So I opened up a Bible and started spending time in it. There was a calmness that came over me, I felt like there was a hand on my shoulder. My only prayer was ‘Your will be done, I’m good with it, I thank you for giving me the opportunity to coach these kids.’ I lot of people have told me to do that and I’ve never been able to, even though it made perfect sense. After all, the calmer I was, the better I was as a player, why wouldn’t that be true as a coach?

I skip around when I’m in the Word, I’ll read all of John and jump out of the Bible and I’ll read something like ‘The Prayer of Jabez,’ which my wife got me and I’ve read over and over. There are so many things in there that relate so much to me, it really gets me. It’s really about not being afraid to ask for blessings and just a different way of looking at it. I think all of us feel like we’re not supposed to ask for things, we’re supposed to accept what he’s given you. This puts a twist on it- He wants you to ask for these things. There isn’t really one particular thing I want, I’d love to be a national champion again, I’d love to go to Omaha again, this and that, but at the end of the day, whatever His will is, let’s roll with it. I’m at peace with it. I don’t want to live through an insane amount of anxiety, I’d like to enjoy it.

It’s a big challenge to find that time in the Word. When you’re home you have the wife, and family and a grandson and your job, driving to and from work and all of a sudden you look up and I haven’t found any time to spend reading and trying to get closer to God. I’m doing a lot better at finding time and making time that way, which I’ve never demanded of myself in the past. I just feel way more at peace than I ever have.

I’ve never had enough confidence. I guess that comes with turning over things in your life to God and allowing him to work and whether or not he wants things to happen, whether it’s on my timetable or not. For the first time in my coaching career, I knew I could handle it. I don’t think I could have done it in 2010, I was too wired and too much of it was thinking that I could do it all myself. For the first time in my life I really trusted Him. 

I hope I can coach the rest of my career like that.

In addition to a 2016 national title and many other accolades on the field, Gary Gilmore is a member of the ABCA Hall of Fame Class of 2022. He’s been the head coach at his alma mater Coastal Carolina since 1996.

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