PLATTE CITY, Mo. — The loss of a child, a career that kept their family on the move, and the keys to winning any phase of life were but a few of the topics that Kansas City Chiefs coach Andy Reid used to motivate his “team” Saturday night.
Mr. Reid and his wife, Tammy, discussed their faith and family Saturday night during an event at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Platte City.
The coach treated a crowd of around 800 people to the same slide presentation he gave his football team last week, with a twist based on his Mormon faith.
No moment captured the crowd’s attention quite like the one when the couple talked about their oldest son Garrett, who died in December 2012. Ms. Reid said she had only discussed the event once before, while the coach spoke candidly about the toll his son’s death took on the family.
“He died of a heroin overdose,” Mr. Reid said. “That’s about as brutal as it’s going to get.”
Aside from that tale of loss, the Reids painted an optimistic picture of how their faith had enriched their life.
The couple met at Brigham Young University, where Mr. Reid arrived on campus as a Lutheran who was not particularly serious about religion. The two met that year in tennis class, and when the spring semester ended, Mr. Reid went home to Los Angeles and took his first steps toward becoming a Mormon, while Tammy went home to Arizona. The coach said that while many of his non-Mormon teammates converted to the faith to be with girls, he wanted to make his decision away from Tammy and his other new friends. Eventually, he was baptized by his future father-in-law − an ex-Marine almost as big as the then-offensive lineman.
“You’re talking 260 and 260 going into the baptismal font,” Mr. Reid said. “When we went in, everybody in the front row got wet.”
After graduation and marriage, a series of coaching jobs took the family across the country, where they had five children in five different states.
“She had five kids and somehow it completely ruined my body,” Mr. Reid said, drawing laughs from the crowd.
Although Mr. Reid was often busy with his football players, Ms. Reid made sure to keep him focused on his team at home.
“I’ve always thought that it’s my job as the head coach of the head coach to keep him informed of things,” Ms. Reid said.
Mr. Reid said his recipe for winning on the field and at life down required people to meet four key elements: eliminate distractions, create energy, fear nothing and attack everything.
If people strive to meet those goals and help others do the same, they would put themselves on the right path.
“If you surround yourself with greatness, every day is beautiful,” Mr. Reid said.