Cheyunski Changing Christians' Attitude

By Zellen, Peter | The Florida Times Union, August 25, 1996 | Go to article overview

Cheyunski Changing Christians' Attitude


Zellen, Peter, The Florida Times Union


When Jim Cheyunski finally settled in at his new post as

football coach at University Christian, there were two immediate

differences.

First, Cheyunski's brand new Dodge Ram truck had 9,000 extra

miles on it from all the traveling he did from his previous home

in North Carolina.

Second, the UC locker room took on a whole new look -- new

paint, new lockers, new uniforms.

But the changes start as you go up the steps of the field house

to get to the locker room. After the first flight of stairs,

players will be greeted by a mirror with the following question

painted above it -- "Did I give my best?"

"If they can look in that mirror then they're winners no matter

what the score," said Cheyunski. "If they turn their heads or

look down then they're losers."

It is that kind of positive attitude that Cheyunski and his new

staff are looking for -- an attitude that has been missing from

UC football despite a Class 2A state title just two years ago.

"I think the problem with this team is that a lot of kids were

unhappy and not having as much fun," said Cheyunski. "Sometimes

we have to tell ourselves that, after all, it's a game and you

absolutely have to love it."

Hence, Cheyunski has mandated that only positive words may be

spoken. Players and coaches are not allowed to bark and complain

at each other. No swearing, no talking back, and everyone stays

in shape. He added that the quickest way to get fired from his

staff is to say something negative to a player.

And then there's that staff. Only Jay Nelson remains from the

old UC staff as the junior varsity coach. Also included are

Cheyunski's son, Adam, who was a head coach at a Virginia high

school, and Greg Porter, who was Adam's assistant. …

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