Posted by: malechallengemedia | April 17, 2010

Coach Joe Ehrmann – Building Boys

Great Male Role Models

I’ve been chatting with Joe in recent years about supporting each others work with boys and am honoured to know him and learn from his approach.

Please treat yourself to the excellent videos and share with other males – you’ll be amazed and your heart will be touched!

Joe Ehrmann (born March 29, 1949) is a former NFL defensive lineman, originally drafted as the 10th pick in the first round of the 1973 NFL Draft out of Syracuse University to the Baltimore Colts. Ehrmann played with Baltimore for eight years, and was selected to the Pro Bowl in 1978. He finished his NFL career with the Detroit Lions as part of their vaunted defensive line in the early 1980s. He was a National Football League defensive tackle from 1973 through 1982. He then played in the USFL for the Chicago Blitz, Arizona Wranglers and Orlando Renegades.

In the same year Ehrmann played in the Pro Bowl, he watched his brother Billy lose his fight with cancer. This experience caused Ehrmann to rethink and reorder his priorities in life. Ehrmann spearheaded the construction of a Ronald McDonald House in Baltimore in memory of Billy. In the off-season, Ehrmann attended classes at Dallas Theological Seminary and, following his football career, he graduated from Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, specializing in urban ministry. He was ordained in 1985.

In the years since then, Joe and his wife Paula created Building Men and Women for Others, an organization that addesses many societal challenges including violence, child advocacy, and much more. They also co-founded “The Door,” a community center in inner-city Baltimore. He has also served as a pastor of the 4,000-member Grace Fellowship Church in Baltimore.




  1. Bill
    You’re right and that would be outside Joe’s scope I suspect
    Although an ex PE teacher I agree too much emphasis is placed on sport – what about quiet gentle boys etc
    sorry this reply took so long
    Michael Flood on XY Online is a voice for such boys – I try to be also – you can Google him
    Now I’m a director of a cancer solutions non profit working with men with cancer

  2. Hi, Pip! I’m back two years since I last posted. (From the U.S., by the way.) I don’t remember if I said much about my background or not. I’m concerned that you might stereotype me simply because I said that I had never had any interest in sports. I am not sedentary (although I did not exercise regularly until I joined a health club in the summer of 2007 at the age of 57). I have spent a small fortune on personal trainers who have worked with me on a bodybuilding program. I’m more muscular now than I ever was when I was young.

    I’d like to make two observations. Before I continue, let me say that my observations are not directed against you. You and I agree completely, except I approach the issues from the standpoint of a non-athlete. I’ll try to be brief.

    First of all, the traditional mandatory P.E. of my youth was an exercise in hypocrisy (no pun intended). Nonathletic boys were forced to take a course that not only was completely useless to them, but also frequently subjected them to ridicule and bullying and for no good reason. No exercise programs were ever provided for boys who were scrawny and boys who were fat. Not even bodybuilding. That was not the only outrage. In none of my P.E. classes was there even any instruction in the sports themselves! We were never taught how the games of baseball, basketball, and football were played. We certainly were never taught how to shoot a basketball or how to throw a baseball or a football. There was no education in “Physical Education.” Every single one of my P.E. coaches viewed nonathletic boys with either complete indifference or outright contempt. Now get a load of this: I never got any exercise! I get more exercise in a single workout session with my personal trainer than I ever did in an entire YEAR of P.E.!

    Secondly, I’m sick aand tired of the negative stereotyping and marginalization of boys who happen to have no interest in sports as “sissies,” “wimps,” “feminized males,” “fags,” etc. It’s absolutely ridiculous! As far as gays are concerned, there is absolutely no correlation between sexual orientation and whether or not a boy participates in sports. There are homosexual men who participate in rough contact sports (even as professional athletes), just as they do in just about every other realm of human activity. So, why penalize boys who have no interest in sports? I’m sick to death of it!

    This is a continuation of my second observation: I’m sick and tired of the notion that only athletic men become heroes. For example, one of the greatest heroes of World War II was a slightly built man who (being a citizen of a neutral country) wasn’t even a combatant in the war. I’m referring to the highly educated Swedish businessman named Raoul Wallenberg who prevailed upon government officials of his country to send him under diplomatic cover to Budapest to conduct rescue operations for the endangered Hungarian Jews, whose situation was desperate. He risked his life repeatedly to save others (more than 10,000) from the German Nazi SS and the Hungarian fascist Arrow Cross, surviving several assassination attempts. (He suffered a horribly unjust fate when the Soviet army had driven the Germans out of the country. He was abducted by Soviet agents to Moscow’s notorious Lubianka prison, where he disappeared from the free world.) His half-sister has said he “detested competitive team sports.” Well, he wasn’t exactly a wimp, was he?

    The culture of school sports did not encourage me to become physically active, but instead actually discriminated against a group of boys by making their lives miserable in a stunning display of hypocrisy and, as far as their “teaching” was concerned, incompetence. Since we weren’t athletes, our physical fitness needs were deemed to be unimportant. I didn’t even think of setting foot in a gym until I was 57 years old! So, I have no respect for the culture of school sports or the “Physical Education” establishment, as they clearly have had no respect for nonathletic boys. Not to mention coverups of rape such as the recently failed attempt at Steubenville, Ohio.

    Again, I’ve expressed no criticism of you. But I have expressed a point of view — namely, that of the nonathlete — that is ignored by everyone in our sports crazed society, including Joe Ehrmann. If I sound bitter, so be it.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: