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Once a coach, always a coach.

You might even say this former Colonel football standout and long-time assistant coach is still drawing up plays. Still prodding young people to give their very best. Still giving them the tools for success.

Moving across campus from the familiar environs of the stadium named for his own mentor, Roy Kidd, John Revere is now the life skills coach for EKU’s newly established Student Success Center.

Revere was contemplating a return to his native Georgia for either a high school or college football position when he received an offer he couldn’t refuse: stay at the institution he loves and help a new generation of young people. Only now he’s designing “game plans” for first-generation and minority students instead of running backs and wide receivers. And instead of a swarming defense, it’s the thicket of financial aid, poor study and time management skills, too-modest goals and, in the case of many, a “lost identity” in unfamiliar surroundings.

“Coaching is coaching,” he said. “Coaching is teaching, and you’ve got to teach if you coach. We’re trying to teach students the value of the educational process and the strategies that will allow them to be successful. Then by the time they leave here, they will be ready to take care of themselves.”

As an assistant coach from 1997 through last season, Revere helped many Colonels go on to professional football careers. And he’s performing his new duties with the same passion for excellence, the same ebullient spirit and infectious energy he displayed on the gridiron sidelines. He even bounced back from recent knee surgery with his old “swag.”

Maybe his knees were sore from taking long walks around campus with his mentees, visiting classrooms to monitor their attendance, or even knocking on doors in residence halls. Revere has taken a pro-active, intentionally intrusive approach to making sure students make the right choices amidst their newfound freedom. That includes texting his mentees most every morning.

“What you do between the ages of 18 and 23 is going to make the biggest difference in you, spiritually, economically and socially,” he said. “It’s important that our young people understand that their higher education is directly related to their success in life. If you make the wrong choices today, it will set you back 10 or 20 years.”

It’s not unlike what Coach Kidd taught Revere in the early 1970s. “The Kidd Formula to be successful,” he remembered, “was academics, athletics and a good time, in that order. Nothing takes the place of that first priority.”

Many of his mentees played sports in high school and struggle coping with that lost identity. “We’re still playing the same game,” he added. “The game is called education. We’re not done competing. Let’s get ready to compete, and let’s win today.”