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With letter, Steve Wilks makes small difference

Posted by Darren Urban on May 28, 2018 – 10:17 am

Steve Wilks did not know Mike Thompson, but that didn’t stop the Cardinals’ head coach from reaching out to Thompson’s widow recently after Thompson’s unexpected death. Thompson was a Pop Warner coach and an assistant for Desert Ridge High School, and was only 51 years old.

“I did not have the pleasure of knowing Mike but feel as if I did after reading of his dedication to the sport of football as a coach at the Pop Warner and high school levels,” Wilks wrote in the letter to Carri Thompson. “We share in your grief over his loss but know that he lives on through the countless individuals that have been positively impacted by Mike.”

The letter meant a ton to Thompson’s family. It also underscored the type of person Wilks is, and how he keeps football in perspective.

At one point, when I was talking to Wilks for a story about who he is as a coach, Wilks emphasized his desire to let players know they have to have a life that goes beyond football. There was a famous story of Wilks as an assistant in Carolina striking up a relationship with a disabled man who worked at his local YMCA, not for the fanfare but because it just seemed like a good thing to do.

“I tell people all the time, and it’s the same thing I try to relate to the players,” Wilks said. “(Football) is what we do. This is not who we are.”

No, Wilks didn’t know Mike Thompson. But he knew what it meant for Thompson to put time in to teach children — and that his family is hurting right now. In a broader sense, that’s what Wilks was talking about in that interview a few months ago.

“I want to bring world championship here,” Wilks said. “But the true measurement of a champion does not lie within his or her trophy case. It lies within the people he or she has touched. If we’re not trying to make a difference in the lives of the people we come in contact with, to me, we’re missing the point.”


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9 Responses to “With letter, Steve Wilks makes small difference”

  1. By JohnnyBluenose on May 28, 2018 | Reply

    Not for the first time, Steve Wilks has shown that there is a lot more to life than fame and fortune and winning football games. Being nice to people, especially those who are in need, can make a big difference to both the giver and the receiver. A long time ago, 30 or more years ago, I read a story that I still remember. There was a major league baseball pitcher who played in the 1950’s. His name escapes me now but one night in New York as he was leaving a bar he noticed a young boy standing on the side walk. It was late and the boy had an armful of newspapers that he had to sell before he could go home. The pitcher took all the newspapers and gave the boy twenty dollars (or more) so that the boy could go home. Years later, the boy had grown up and become successful. The pitcher had not fared so well.He was a bit of a drinker and he had some health issues and the boy somehow heard that he was in the hospital and not expected to get out. The boy travelled some distance to see him one more time. The pitcher had no idea who his visitor was and had no recollection of their first encounter. But the boy never forgot the kindness shown to him and in the end it meant a great deal to both of them.

  2. By NJAzCardsFan on May 28, 2018 | Reply

    Wilks is definitely a “Class Act” like Fitz is….

  3. By Dr. G. on May 28, 2018 | Reply

    Ruling with the “”iron fist & public scorn”” usually produces at the least, subliminal mutiny…people stop listening and lose respect. We’ve seen some of that recently.

    Explaining the task at hand whilst treating people respectfully creates an ambitious attitude to please the boss. They want to take care of the boss when the boss takes care of them… My philosophy has always been to present rewards, not to receive them.

  4. By D on May 29, 2018 | Reply

    Class Act. Embracing the community.

  5. By Marlon Skrusinski on May 29, 2018 | Reply

    Man… I liked Arians. I really did. But I’m getting to really love Wilks based on his attitude and actions. I can see a huge difference from the previous regime already, even though we’re not through with the offseason schedule.

    I was skeptical at first, but now I’m getting slightly pumped up.

  6. By Carri Thompson on May 29, 2018 | Reply

    The letter I received from Coach Steve Wilks brought tears (happy tears) to my eyes as I read it. I new I had to share it with all to show the type of man Steve Wilks is – companionate and caring.

    He took time to express his condolences during a difficult time for me and my family and recognized the type of man and coach my husband, Mike Thompson, was and how his legacy will live on in those that he impacted.

    Thanks again Coach Wilks and the Cardinal family for your condolences and support.

    Carri Thompson

  7. By Darren Urban on May 29, 2018 | Reply

    Carri —

    RE: Letter

    Thank you for the comment. We all are thinking of you and your family during this tough time.

  8. By clssylssy on May 30, 2018 | Reply

    What a classy guy. I liked him from the get-go but he just keeps fortifying that initial positive impression by his down to earth humaneness and his leading by example way of teaching/coaching.
    Since Coach Wilkes arrived, things have begin to turn around and I hope the fan base won’t thrown him under the bus if we don’t win as many games as hoped since the mistakes of past blown drafts may follow us for sometime. He has to first undo costly mistakes of the past while installing a new methodology, and the learning curve may be a little steeper with a limited veteran leadership and the difficulty of our schedule.
    Seeing the Cards Receiving/TE corps ranked as #29 in the NFL’s ratings, with only Larry Fitz as the whole of the WR room (according to NFL analysts) going into this season is rather disheartening,( according to NFL our receiving corps starts and ends with Larry Fitzgerald, with Zero legit TEs). Considering we once boasted the #1 tandem in the league with Boldin-Fitzgerald and a solid supporting chorus of Steve Breaston and Early Doucet, this seems like a fast fall and bitter pill. I know everyone is hoping that Brice Butler or Chad Williams will be able to step up, but, neither are Brandon Marshall, who would have been a real boost to our offense, especially if Dez goes to the 9ers.
    A lot is being put on our run game, shifting focus to David Johnson and keeping our fingers crossed that he will be able to stay healthy.
    I’m hoping that the Cards will follow Coach Wilkes lead and give him the proper tools to be successful (which hasn’t always been the case in the past) and perhaps the carrot of knowing we will be hosting a SB in 2023, will motivate the FO to loosen the purse strings to include the team in their multimillion dollar upgrades.

  9. By Coach K on May 31, 2018 | Reply

    We hired the right guy. That’s the bottom line.

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