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July 2014 Jake Hannon

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July 2014 Jake Hannon

Jake Hannon - July Coach of the Month



Years Coaching:

Current team:

Lynchburg, VA


Liberty University

Chosen Attribute (Teamwork, Excellence, Serving, and Integrity): Excellence

Why is this attribute important to you?

Because we are God’s children we can be excellent in everything we do. We are not supposed to be perfect, but we are supposed to enjoy being excellent for the kingdom. It is a privilege to be able to be excellent. Because the law of perfection has been fulfilled through Christ, our lives are no longer about performance. All of our performance has been wrapped up in the incarnation of Jesus. Now, we are free to thrive and take dominion over situations; free to prosper and delight in being excellent for God – not because we have to but because we can! There is no reason why we should not be excellent as we are called to live excellent lives!

What is your favorite scripture verse? Why is this important to you?

Galatians 2:20 - “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”

This verse was spoken prophetically over me when I met Jesus and it radically changed every part of me. I became suicidal in my teenage and college years because I was so sick of trying to be good and trying to have it all together. I realized that I could not please God or please others in my own strength. I came to terms with the fact that our life is so short and it has no point unless we do things that matter in heavenly terms. When God showed me through this verse that I have participated in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, I received so much peace and found that I did not have to hold the pressure of life on my own shoulders but that God had already finished the work of salvation and sanctification on the cross. I was finally able to rest and let go of the pressure that I felt to have everything together and to get out of my life of sin. I was so excited to find that my old self had already been done away with by God’s power and that I didn’t have to commit suicide because God already took care of that old sinful man Himself! I continually remind myself of this verse today because it helps me have the right perspective as I march onward. Though I must be willing to submit myself to the discipline of God as He grows me and be willing to suffer for Him, I know that He is already waiting for me on the other side – having completed the work Himself in advance and having prepared eternal crowns for me to wear in heaven!

Who is your favorite coach outside of hockey? Why?

Not sure if this counts but I would have to say my wife Rebecca. The way she trains our two children is unbelievable. She has an anointing of patience and love that I am still trying to figure out. She is tough and tender and always calls out the life in our kids. When she speaks, they listen. She trains them to be godly and to have a simple faith in Jesus Christ. I have learned so much from watching my wife interact with children – even in her experience with running her own youth ministry before we were married. She has an amazing way of allowing the love and discipline of God to flow from her as she “coaches” the next generation of Christians.

What is your dream coaching job (if different than your current position)? 

Head Coach Buffalo Sabres. But seriously I am so blessed and I would not take any other coaching job unless God clearly had me move!

Share a recent coaching highlight that you have had.

Our recruiting process has been extremely blessed. It is amazing to see the hand of God as He brings the right guys for our program. It is funny because we travel to various parts of the US and Canada to scout during the year and yet most of our recruits have come from emails/phone calls/relationships instead. With some of the guys that are coming to play for us there can be no other explanation than the sovereign blessing of God. It is cool to sit back and witness how He takes care of us in the most unexpected and undeserved ways!

Tell us a little bit about your coaching philosophy. Why do you coach?  Who is a coach who had a big impact on you?

I coach because God wants me to. I am definitely living by faith as I did not even expect to be coaching at this time in my life, so I guess you could say I am coaching by faith. God opened the door for me to coach at Liberty and it has been a tremendous blessing and an unbelievable experience.

Because I coach at a Christian school, there is much freedom in being able to talk openly about the gospel and how it relates to hockey. I am privileged to be able to mentor some of the guys on the team and to interact with them as they grow in their own faith. It is amazing to be able to pull analogies about hockey as we do pregame or postgame speeches. Just being a source of encouragement and affirmation for our players is so rewarding as they mature into men of God.

The coach that had the most impact on me in terms of hockey philosophy is Jon Cooper, current Tampa Bay Lightning Head Coach. I played for Coop in St. Louis (NAHL) when he took our team to 3 straight NAHL championships. Coop was unparalleled in his ability to get the best out of each player. He understood momentum, chemistry, and unity on the team. He created an environment where each guy’s strengths were always being utilized and each player had an identity on the team that they could enjoy to thrive in. His systems and coaching style were great, but it was his ability to maximize potential that made him such a great coach. I am excited to see him continue to have success at the NHL level and I believe Tampa will win a cup under his direction (much to my dismay).

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