DeHaven loves the Carolina Panthers


“I love coaching.  I just do.  I love teaching football.”

These 10 words, what do they mean?  These 10 words, what type of impact do they have on you?

Two very easy answers that are both the same and once you know the context of those words, you will understand.

Bruce DeHaven, the special-teams coach for the Carolina Panthers, spoke these words.  What is significant about it, DeHaven is bringing a special meaning to training camp for the Carolina Panthers this season, as he is battling prostate cancer.

January 24, 2014; Kapolei, HI, USA; Carolina Panthers assistant special teams coach Bruce DeHaven during the 2014 Pro Bowl practice at Kapolei High School. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Once diagnosed, DeHaven had a decision to make – does he retire and enjoy spending time with his family as he fights the fight against cancer, or does he fight the fight against cancer through continuing to do what like other coaches in the league, the only thing he knows to do – coach.

Not only does DeHaven’s coaching act as therapy for him to not think of the harmful disease he has

“I’m so busy that I don’t even think of it unless someone brings it up.”

But his decision to fight the disease and enjoy life and his job, impacts all those around him and mostly the players.  Cam Newton describes DeHaven’s decision perfectly, stating

“It’s not saying he loves coaching us.  It’s screaming it.  That’s the kind of passion coach has for this team.”

Safety Colin Jones, who works with DeHaven everyday, feels his impact and knows the type of man

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DeHaven is, also expressed his gratitude

“Then, when we heard about what his situation was this spring, to hear he wanted to be with us, to hear he wanted to be our coach at this point in his life. I don’t know what to say, really. But it is the best. Just the best.”

In addition to players, DeHaven is part of a coaching core, a brotherhood.  Coaches around the league have reached out to DeHaven.  Bill Belichick called him.  New Orleans Saints head coach, Sean Payton, a division rival, sent DeHaven well-wishes from the entire Saints’ coaching staff.  How does this make DeHaven feel

“Heartwarming.  Sean Payton, with a division rival, reaching out.  Just shows you what the fraternity of coaches is like.  We compete, but we’re together.”

So now you know the answers.  Training camp means more than getting ready for the upcoming season.  Training camp is a time for players and coaches to bond and this bond goes far beyond the field.