In my last article I mentioned that my coaching and life philosophy was broken down into three things: hunt, be relentless, and have fun. Some of you may ask or wonder, "Where did this come from? How did you get to this point? How can you boil it all down to one simple phrase?"

I have been coaching for 20 years (I've been alive for a lot longer than that) and it took me until last August to get here. I have always been one to simplify things — in life, in coaching, you name it. I don’t believe in gray areas; you are either in or out, and people are for you or against you. I don't believe in "sometimes" and I don't believe in "this one time." It's black or white. Get it done or don't get it done.

Luckily when I started getting into this field on the powerlifting side, I had an unbelievable coach and training partners who lived and molded this code. You had to be all in or you had no chance of surviving. I distinctly remember one of my partners, Dan, was getting ready for a national meet and he was banged up. His low back and hips were crushed and he was as sick as a dog on top of it. I remember Kenny, our coach, after watching Dan’s warm-ups, told him to just stop there — to go home and to get some rest. When Kenny spoke, you listened. But Dan said no, and he and Kenny proceeded to get into a heated exchange until Danny said, “I can’t not do it! It’s on the paper to be done today, so I am doing it!” Kenny smiled and Danny somehow did his set of 825 for three reps. I'm sure you can imagine what I thought as a 17-year-old kid watching this exchange, being nervous about my own top set of 225x5. It changed my whole perspective on things, right then and there. Do it or don’t. That was the atmosphere I was raised in when it came to coaching and lifting, and I loved it.

RECENT: Trust the Process — Perfection

So you could imagine what my reaction was when I got into college and tried to learn something, listening to these professors and other students talk about coaching while we did our hours in the weight room. They would be coaching the squat and say things like, “Take a deep breath but don’t hold it too long you might pass out. You should be at exactly 90 degrees with your shins perpendicular to the floor. If it hurts, stop." Blah, blah, blah. I remember one day when this happened I looked at the kid lifting and thought are you kidding me? He looked so confused and lost; there was no way he was going to do it. I jumped in and said “Push your f*****g hips back and keep a high chest in the bottom." He was able to comprehend what I was saying and he got it done.

I can assure you I have not changed from this day. I try to break down every lift to the simplest coaching commands possible, because that is what the athletes understand. Once they get it and are invested in what they do, then we can get more technical as they advance. Over time as they become more experienced, we have to fix technique flaws that come up. That is why I have the staff all workout together right away. They are all learning the lingo as we correct each other and get on the same page.

college weight room

So after that babbling explanation of why I like to simplify things, let’s get back to the meat of this article: how and why did I develop my philosophy of hunt, be relentless, and have fun? I got to this point not because of my job but because of my son. He was finally at the age to be able to play football and he wanted to play more than anything. I held him out for a year because of what went on in the town we were in: coaches screaming at kids, never teaching fundamentals, and other just plain stupid stuff. When my son was finally old enough to play I was very picky because I had seen football and youth sports destroy kids' enthusiasm and I did not want that to happen to him.

Luckily, we moved for my new job and the peewee program was perfect. They held kids to a standard but treated them like men. They coached fundamentals and the game better than I expected. So we allowed him to play and could not be happier with our decision. The problem was that he played on Saturdays, and guess who had to work on Saturdays? You guessed it: dear old dad. I was going to miss half of his games while we traveled to our away games. It made me crazy, and I wanted to connect with him even when I was away. I didn’t want to be and will not be one of those parents who lives their kids' triumphs and all that trash. My son also hates to talk on the phone, so I knew our conversation had to be short and sweet. I had to come up with a short, detailed, and to-the-point philosophy. So I looked at what all great players and people do and how I want to coach and live my life. All common denominators boiled down to the big three. This is how they were chosen.


This was chosen not only because I like to hunt, but because of the aforementioned simplification of coaching. I had just started at a school and we were going through an agility bag station. The athletes' heads were all over the place and as a whole the team had very poor eye discipline. I had to find a way to teach them how to control their eyes and head when they ran, so I gave them an assignment. I told them go home, watch the Discovery channel or YouTube lions, cheetahs or leopards hunting, and just watch their heads as they chased down their prey. Their eyes stay locked on their prey no matter how hard they run or what crazy position their bodies get into. Focus with eyes locked on target.

Then I told them to watch their favorite NFL player's highlight film. Again, I said to watch their heads as they make a play. Lawrence Taylors is the best — head always hunting, keeping his eyes on the prize while he runs, works his hands, etc. After this assignment, my athletes got it. This has really helped, especially with young players who need to train their eyes and head control when running.

This also has to do with life. The hunt for knowledge to make yourself better, the hunt for the perfect spouse, the hunt for the best situation for your family — we are always hunting for something, so I had to use it.

Be Relentless

This one was easy for me because I believe this is how you should live life: Relentlessly. The definition of Relentless is to be oppressively constant; incessant. To never stop in your quest of goals, success, the quarterback, or anything else. I think it is one of the most important traits a person should have. We had a defensive line coach who was the definition of Relentless. He produced some of the best defensive linemen I ever saw, many of whom are still playing in the NFL. Before every game he would handwrite a letter to all his players and would sign off, "Be Relentless." He got cancer and passed away at the age of 52, but fought that thing Relentlessly for over a year. (Love and miss you, Rock).

So again, I firmly believe how important it is to be Relentless — that’s why I always capitalize the word.

Have Fun

This is easy also, because in the Relentless pursuit of life, you have to have fun along the way, especially in this profession. If you are just chasing the big job or the big paycheck and don’t enjoy the everyday things in life, you are going to be a miserable bastard. There is no rule that says you can’t be all-in and have fun doing it. No matter how many hours or work we put in, we always find a way to make it fun. Fun is just loving what you are doing; I am not saying that you should hang a giant piñata filled with candy, cat food, and zebra cakes, and let your Friday morning redshirt group smash it after a workout (yes, we did this), but just enjoy it! Life really is too short.

So I put these three words together, explained them in how they fit in to football and life, and that is what we say to each other before every game (along with I love you, of course). Not "win", not "kill, kill, kill" — just hunt, be relentless, and have fun. Not a bad legacy at all.