AVON, Ind. – Mark Bless’ philosophy on coaching goes well beyond the football field.
“We want to be there to help young men continue to be young men and make the right decisions in life,” the Avon head coach said.
And that means challenging his players to not only tackle opposing offenses but also those obstacles they’ll face in life.
“We want to make it difficult; anything that comes to easy isn’t that worthwhile,” Mark said. “Our strength coach and our coaching staff does a great job of pushing our players but I think they explain why they’re being pushed.”
That priority is something instilled while watching then playing for his father, Bill, who is UIndy’s all-time winningest coach.
“We grew up with football in our family. It was a great experience growing up being on a college football field, watching my dad coach and being a part of some very good teams that he was a part of, as well as a lot of good role models for us.”
Mark is the eldest of the three bless brothers coaching central Indiana high school programs, and his brothers say there’s a strong trait in Mark that they admire.
“He is so even-keel. He probably got the longest fuse of the family so much so that Tim and I probably don’t have one,” Scott Bless, Bloomington North’s head coach, said.
“Mark is probably the more even-keel of the brothers, but I would say we’re all somewhat emotional because we have so much passion for this game bred from our father,” Columbus North’s Tim Bless said.
And mark sees certain strengths in his brothers he draws from in his coaching
“They’re good for me because they’re still young enough I learn from them, draw energy from them,” Mark explained.
And while he leads for an eighth season, he’s also helping pass the torch of the next generation of football coaching Bless’.
“Our son Tyler is a college coach now down in Kentucky at Lindsey Wilson College, so it’s kind of neat how important athletics are, especially football, in the family.”
Football important to Mark, but that family and those lessons learned on the field, the priority.