Choices matter, college coach tells students

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, February 22, 2000

Sports Editor

Feb. 21, 2000 10 PM

When a man of Mike Pelton’s stature speaks, most folks listen.

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If not for the simple reason that he is usually the biggest person in the room, Pelton commands respect simply from his deeds and words. Hopefully his words did their job recently at Troy Middle School.

The former Goshen High School football standout towered above most of those he addressed in the middle school gym as he talked about his past and the choices that made all the difference in his life.

He spoke of fighting through adversity and hardships and knowing that even at a young age you have a responsibility to yourself, your family and those close to you to make the right choices. He spoke of going to the Auburn on a football scholarship and being an all-conference selection, but how going back and getting a degree from was much more important to him.

Overall the former All-State high school linebacker told the students that he had been in their shoes and knew what they were going through. And while it might not feel like it now, each and every decision that you make will effect you in some way.

"I made choices at your age that effected me the rest of my life," Pelton said. "I used to get into trouble and hang around with some bad people, but I made a decision to focus on athletics. In that way I guess I can attribute athletics to saving my life."

Pelton, who was drafted by the Kansas City Chiefs out of college, said that talking to the youth of the community is always special to him and he feels that it is a way he can give back.

"I never thought I would be the guy to do this, but God has blessed me," Pelton said. "To get out and maybe speak to kids I’ve been blessed that I was in the position to have someone listen. A lot of times we think that giving material things is giving back, but a lot of times a speech here or taking time to speak to a kid is a chance to give back. You can always give back by sharing your experience."

Currently Pelton has started a successful career in coaching and will be moving to Valdosta College as a defensive line coach. He coached one year as an assistant to coach Tracy Rocker the Troy State Defensive line coach.

"It’s a great opportunity, but I have to give the credit to Troy State because coach (Larry) Blakeney called me," Pelton said. "I had no idea about the opportunity in coaching and he gave me the chance to get into it. They taught me a lot here and I just hope that I can go over to Valdosta and do a good job."