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Revere learned discipline from football coach dad

On staff at Eastern Kentucky for 18 years, John taught Ben to be fearless

PHILADELPHIA -- When Ben Revere was a young child growing up in Georgia, he had two voices guiding him: John Revere, his father, and John Revere, the football coach.

John is currently the running backs coach at Eastern Kentucky University, where he's in his 18th season. Previously, he had stints at Madison High School in Kentucky, and Cook County High School and LaGrange High School in Georgia. John has strolled the sidelines with a clipboard in his hands since 1977, which was before Ben was even born.

"It was kind of tough," Ben said. "He was a coach and a teacher, so academically and athletically, he was on my tail a lot."

"It was certainly a juggling act," John said. "A lot of times, the coach would often come out in those times that maybe you would like to lean more to being just a father. But because you're in competition, and because that's what you've done your entire career, it's hard to separate the two. I'm sure all my kids felt the same way, like, 'Gosh man. I wish dad would just show up right now. I'm getting the coach.' And I'm sure they came to understand that whatever I was trying to convey to them or get them to execute was all for their benefit."

But having a father as a coach was the foundation of Ben's discipline as a competitor.

"He pushed me a lot since day one," Ben said. "He was always there, trying to help me throw the ball. He put a bat in my hand, and a football or a basketball or whatever ball. He definitely pushed me since day one. It was him."

John pushed him, but he wasn't the only influence. Throw in a brother 10 years his senior and a grandfather who was a diehard baseball fan, and it's easy to see how Ben "always the smallest kid" became Ben the Major Leaguer.

"Those three right there, they check in and see how I'm doing all the time during the season," Ben said. "In the offseason, when I've got time to relax, they'll keep pushing me."

That's where Ben got his determination and perseverance -- his family. He was taught at a very young age to make the most out of every opportunity set before him.

"One of the most important values that I tried instill in all my kids is you've got one chance at this thing in life," John said. "So you want to be the very best you can be at everything you're trying to undertake."

To do that, John taught his son to be fearless.

When Ben was around 10 years old, John dropped him off at Ben's grandfather's house for a weekend. One afternoon, Ben's grandfather took him down to a park, where a group of older, taller boys were playing basketball. Without hesitation, Ben started making his way over to them.

"Ben, where do you think you're going?" Ben's grandfather asked.

"I'm going over to play basketball with them!" Ben said, already walking towards the court.

"Those kids are too big for you!" Ben's grandfather called back.

Sure enough, the older kids were picking teams and one of the captains said, "I'm picking that little man right there." Ben got his chance, and proceeded to "have his way" with the bigger kids.

"He's never had fear to go out," John said.

Ben's carried that mentality to the baseball diamond, where he's a catalyst atop the Phillies' lineup.

Try to get Ben to take credit for all that he's accomplished thus far, and he simply won't accept it. That's why when John is honored on Father's Day at Citizens Bank Park, it'll be a highlight moment for the father and son.

"The person I am today, I am because of him," Ben said. "I was definitely a knucklehead growing up. Sometimes he thinks I'm still a knucklehead to this day, but other people go up to him and say, 'Your son Ben is a great kid,' and stuff like that. And I just tell everybody, 'I get it from my dad.'"

Erik Bacharach is an associate reporter for

Philadelphia Phillies, Ben Revere