This week Noah and Bjorn spoke with University at Buffalo Bulls’ Defensive Coordinator Brian Borland. Coach Borland has been the Bull’s defensive coordinator for the past seven seasons.
Since Borland became coordinator, the Bulls have had a top defense. Most notably, the Bulls led the Mid-American Conference in total defense this past season and were seventh in the nation in total defense in 2019.
Prior to joining UB, Coach Borland spent 21 seasons coaching at Division III powerhouse University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. He served as Wisconsin-Whitewater’s defensive coordinator from 2002-2014.
Coach Borland was inducted into the Wisconsin Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2015.
How Does Being a Christian Affect Coach Borland’s Coaching?
“I want to be a good coach, and I want to win games … more so though, it’s trying to consistently model the Christian life and behavior”--Coach Brian Borland
Coach Borland says that his faith has affected the way he approaches coaching and what he views as making a good coach.
While there are many different qualities that great coaches may possess, there is one that Coach Borland believes is essential: compassion. This is a quality that he leans on his faith in order to display.
Compassion is also something that Jesus gave direct examples of, such as with the story of Lazarus. While a coach can push his players and be hard on them, at the end of the day Coach Borland believes the coach still needs to be compassionate.
Coach Borland says his faith has also affected his priorities.
Coach Borland is competitive, as anyone coaching or playing at the level he is at is. He obviously wants to be a great coach and win games.
However, Coach Borland says that his highest priority is trying to consistently model a Christian life and Christian behavior.
This is one of our top responsibilities in this world. While being great at what you do and having influence over people can be valuable, it’s not worth anything if we aren’t providing an example of Christ with our actions.
Winning games isn’t even Coach Borland’s second highest priority.
On the podcast Coach talks about what his other main priority is and how he seeks to impact others through his coaching.
How Does Coach Borland Make Time for God?
“I would find myself trying to squeeze it in whenever I could. When you try to do that, at least for me, that usually meant it either didn’t get done or it got done poorly”--Coach Brian Borland
As you would expect for a Division I football coach, Coach Borland has a busy schedule. He has early mornings and late nights at the office, time spent working at home and of course games and practices.
Because of his schedule, Coach Borland says one of the things he’s always struggled with is finding time for praying and devotionals.
Coach Borland says he would find himself trying to squeeze these things in, which often meant these important aspects of his faith weren’t getting the attention they required.
However, Coach Borland realized he had to change this. As a result, he started changing his schedule.
Coach Borland started getting up early, making time at the beginning of each day to sit down and go through devotionals and pray. In the episode he talks about specific things that he prays about and tries to work towards each day.
This change in routine made praying and devotionals into a habit and an important part of Coach Borland’s mornings. On the podcast he talks about how this new routine positively affected his life and his relationship with God.
What is God Teaching You?
Coach Borland is a great example of how our faith should affect everything we do. He is a coach at one of the highest levels possible, and yet he has kept his faith at the front of his mind and his life.
It would be easy for Coach Borland to focus most on winning or personal glorification and accomplishments.
However, that’s not what he cares about the most.
Coach Borland cares about being compassionate and providing an example of Christ to his players and fellow coaches.
This is what our ultimate goal should be too, in whatever we do.
If we’re at practice or at work, we should want to perform to the best of our abilities. But we should want those around us to do the same, and we should want to help them accomplish this.
By being compassionate and working to bring out the best in others, we can shine as a light of God’s love for those around us.
Coach Borland did something else important - he realized that God needed to be the center of his life.
Life can get crazy and stressful. Sports, school or work can feel like they’re piling up and leaving no room for anything else.
It can be easy to feel like these things have to be our main focus and that we have an obligation to make them our number one priority.
However, these things are not our number one priority. God, and our relationship with Him, is our true number one priority.
Coach Borland realized this and made a change in his life so that he could give his relationship with God the time and attention it deserves.
If we don’t treat our relationship with God as our number one priority, we aren’t going to be successful in this relationship. Trying to squeeze in time for God whenever we can means that this time with God is either going to be spent poorly or not at all.
However, when we actually make it part of our routine to spend time with God and focus on Him, we’ll start to see a real relationship form and see a positive impact on our life.
Is being an example of God your number one priority in all the things you do?
Is your relationship with God your number one priority? Is God part of your schedule, or are you simply trying to find time for Him?
To hear the conversation that Noah and Bjorn had with Coach Borland about how being a Christian affects his coaching, how he makes time for God, his favorite thing about Buffalo, what the 2020 season was like and much more, check out “The Sweat Room: Sports and Faith” episode 47.