It’s not uncommon for athletes to emulate the personality of the head coach through created bonds and trust.
But at times, bonds are created through coaches first before it’s illustrated to athletes, like Buhler head football coach Steve Warner and defensive coordinator Jason Kohl. The two coaches have coached on the same sideline dating back 14 years when Warner was at Liberal.
Even before Warner coached at Liberal, he coached at Marysville, 12 miles from the Nebraska border. There, Warner soon received an idea from a father of one of the players that would shape his philosophy on coaching: kayaking. Warner took his seniors kayaking in Nebraska for three years and carried the idea to Buhler where he just returned last week from taking his seniors to a new site in Colorado.
“What I like about it is every group has clicks and every group may not always be best friends, but they have a good time around the camp site,” Warner said. “They get to know each other better. I get to know them better. I think it’s a great experience for our football team.”
Kohl echoed Warner by describing how rafting creates a stronger bond as a team. How a stroke emulates a block. How the right posture can put you in the right position on the field and how trusting each other will help the team reach its destination.
“We always get something hugely positive about that trip,” Kohl said. “Relationship wise, learning about kids, getting closer to kids, and seeing them come together as a group.”
Warner and Kohl initially came together after Kohl was a student-assistant at Baker University before joining Warner’s staff at Liberal as an offensive line coach.
“We have a lot of the same philosophies with kids,” Kohl said. “We don’t always agree on everything. We’re kind of like brothers. When we disagree, we listen to each other and talk it out and come to a conclusion and we’re both pretty happy with what comes out of it.”
Kohl laughed at thoughts of animated conversations between the two when they first arrived at Buhler. Other coaches had puzzled faces not knowing the relationship between the two, mistaking it as arguments.
“It never was that way,” Kohl said. “It was just we’re both passionate about what we do, the team and we’re strong willed, but we both listen to each other. But in the end, he’s the boss and in the end, he’s right. But I also know that he will hear what I say.”