Coach Kevin Kush, M.A.
When Kevin Kush, M.A., played college football at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, he had hopes of turning pro and playing in the NFL. A pro career wasn’t in his future, but he did find his true calling in coaching and teaching young people for the past 20 years.
Since 1996, Kush has been a teacher and coach at Boys Town, the famous home for troubled boys and girls started by Father Edward Flanagan in 1917. Carrying out his mission at Boys Town, Kush has led the Boys Town Cowboys football team to victory in more ways than one.
Working with troubled young men who have been abandoned, abused or neglected, Kush strives to teach them values that will serve them both on the field and for the rest of their lives. The boys on the Cowboys team are from 12 different states, and for many of them, football and sports provides the path to healing and improving their self-confidence and sense of self-worth.The team’s roster changes frequently, often in midseason, and about half of the team members have never before played organized sports. But that hasn’t stopped Kush and his team from succeeding.
In 1998 and again in 2005, Kush led the team to the state semifinals. In 2007, the team made it to the state playoffs. And in 2008, the Boys Town Cowboys made history when they won the state runner-up trophy and became the first Boys Town team to play in a state championship and finish with a 12-1 record. For many of the 35 members of the Cowboys, winning on the field and in their lives and studies at Boys Town is the first opportunity they’ve had to succeed.
Kush understands the challenges these young men have faced throughout their lives, and he uses the football field as a place to teach them skills and values that will enable them to succeed on the field and in life. For Kush and his team, winning isn’t the most important thing; playing the game well is. Success on the football field isn’t the most important achievement; success in life is.
Kush teaches these young men to become successful through good sportsmanship and good character, as well as how to have fun on the field. By helping team members develop social skills as well as other skills, such as listening, following instructions, respecting opponents, setting goals, accepting feedback and getting along with others, he gives them valuable tools they will use for the rest of their lives.
“Win with class and lose with dignity” is one of Kush’s mottoes, and he reinforces the words by setting an example for his athletes. By creating a healthy, positive environment in which these young men can grow and develop, he has enabled every one them to become a winner and enjoy success.
“It’s amazing how effectively sports can help teach kids life values and improve their character. One of the first things Father Flanagan did with the Omaha street kids under his care was to play baseball with them. The problem with sports is that its benefits can be negated by a ruthless focus on winning.
Coach Kush recognizes this problem and has a solution: competing and coaching with character. The lessons he teaches kids help them overcome life's challenges and truly 'win' at the game of life.”
— Father Steven Boes,
Boys Town National Executive Director