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posted 10.06.2011 at 2.30 p.m. by Paul Krome

Herm Edwards: More than a 'Miracle'

More than a YouTube favorite, Herm Edwards has a passion for life and coaching that will be on display at the 2012 US Lacrosse National Convention, presented by Champion.

©ESPN

Hermisms. If you’re into the NFL, you probably know them.

If you’re into lacrosse, get used to them.

US Lacrosse will welcome colorful ESPN NFL analyst Herm Edwards to the lacrosse world as the keynote speaker of the organization’s annual convention, set for Jan. 13-15, 2012, in Philadelphia. He’ll kick things off at 7 p.m. Friday, Jan. 13 in the Pennsylvania Convention Center.

Casual sports fans know Herm’s animated style — be it from the set on ESPN or as head coach of the New York Jets (2001-05) and Kansas City Chiefs (2006-08).

“Hello? You play to win the game!” — which Edwards dropped at a Jets’ postgame press conference — ranks high on many fans’ lists of top coaching rants.

Longtime football fans, particularly those of the Philadelphia Eagles, remember him as a scrappy defensive back that cracked the Eagles’ starting lineup as an undrafted rookie out of San Diego State in 1977. He started 135 straight games, cementing his place in Philly sports lore with his role in the “Miracle in the Meadowlands,” where he returned an unnecessary fumble by the Giants for a touchdown in the closing seconds of a stunning 19-17 Eagles win.

I had the great pleasure of speaking with Herm a couple weeks ago. As I learned then, and as some 5,000 coaches, officials and lacrosse administrators will learn in January, there is much more to the man than the “Miracle,” Coors Light commercials and YouTube clips.

“I always say this,” Herm said. (One of many emphatic previews. “I tell players this.” “I tell young people this.”)

“Life is a circle. You start off somewhere, and you want to complete the circle. When I started in the beginning of my circle, people helped me along the way. For me to close the circle when I had the opportunity, I had to go help people along the way — so I could complete my circle. I didn’t want to have a void in my circle. That’s me.”

Lacrosse fans will connect immediately with Herm’s passion to give back to others, which he says comes part and parcel with being a Christian. Whether it’s simply mentoring athletes as a coach, providing instruction at his own youth foundation’s camp, or donating his time or resources to causes such as diabetes research, the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, Herm walks the walk. It didn’t take long for him to emphasize the fact that a coach’s actions need to match his or her words, and that doing so is a win-win for the team.

“I told players this: it’s one thing to respect the title of being a coach, that’s fine. But I want you to respect the man behind the title. That was more important to me. When they believe that, you will get the get best out of all your players, because they don’t want to let the man down.”

You can hear the full interview here, but do yourself a favor and register today for the US Lacrosse National Convention, presented by Champion, and be present at the keynote. The early-bird rate of $80 is a terrific value for the lineup of speakers and educational sessions for the weekend, and you’ll probably get some more Hermisms to share.