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Emily Welker, Published July 25 2013

Super Bowl coach Joe Gibbs coaches Cass inmates on game of life

Fargo - It might sound strange to hear him say it, but Joe Gibbs, who coached three Super Bowl winners and owns a NASCAR team, wants you to know one thing: He didn’t get there by being perfect.

“All of us make mistakes – we all do,” Gibbs said Thursday at a news conference at the Cass County Jail. He was there to talk with male inmates as part of Christian motivational outreach work he does at jails across the nation.

Gibbs had just come from speaking at the Ramada Plaza Hotel in Fargo to about 900 people, all of whom received a free copy of his book, “Game Plan for Life,” published in July 2009.

The book is part of his Christian evangelical outreach program that focuses on addressing men’s concerns about finances, health, relationships and other focuses of modern life from a Christian Biblical approach. His appearance at the Ramada and the Cass County jail was sponsored by the Pizza Ranch corporation, said Dean Larsen, manager of the Fargo and Dilworth Pizza Ranches.

Sheriff Paul Laney welcomed Gibbs to the jail.

“Coach Gibbs’ message is a message for all men, but especially men who may be looking for direction in their life,” Laney said. “Ninety percent of the people who are behind these walls are not bad people. They’re bad decision-makers.”

Gibbs said he’s had positive experiences speaking with male inmates at previous events, although, “I get a little nervous being in Vikings territory.”

Gibbs led the Washington Redskins to Super Bowl victories in 1982, 1987 and 1991.

In 1992, he began his career in drag racing, in which he’s won four NASCAR Nationwide Series Championships as owner of JGR, or Joe Gibbs Racing.

He said part of what he took away from his time in coaching is that winning twice in a row is even harder than winning the first time around.

Gibbs’s message is that there’s always that second chance coming our way – as long as we’re willing to follow the game plan.

“Is there a clock ticking on us in the game of life?” he asked. “I think there is.”

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Emily Welker at (701) 241-5541