by Scott Caulfield, MA, CSCS,*D, RSCC*D and Jason Loscalzo, CSCS, RSCC*E
Coaching Podcast August 2019
Jason Loscalzo, Head Strength and Conditioning Coach for the Chicago Bears National Football League (NFL) team, talks to the NSCA Head Strength and Co...
Jason Loscalzo, Head Strength and Conditioning Coach for the Chicago Bears National Football League (NFL) team, talks to the NSCA Head Strength and Conditioning Coach, Scott Caulfield, about his journey from a college to NFL strength and conditioning coach. Topics under discussion include networking, diversifying your portfolio, and coaching philosophy.
Jason Loscalzo, Head Strength and Conditioning Coach for the Chicago Bears National Football League (NFL) team, talks to the NSCA Head Strength and Conditioning Coach, Scott Caulfield, about his journey from a college to NFL strength and conditioning coach. Topics under discussion include networking, diversifying your portfolio, and coaching philosophy.
Find Jason Loscalzo on Twitter: @jason_loscalzo| Find Scott on Instagram: @coachcaulfield
“Because as a coach, you always have to think about your future, and you’ve got to be prepared. Because you never know in this business.” 3:00
“If you’re comfortable as a coach, you’re in some bad waters. That’s when I think you start getting complacent and things.” 3:32
“A squat is a squat. A clean is a clean. A snatch is a snatch. But it’s the delivery. It’s how you program it.” 4:18
“That was the biggest thing—the challenge, for me, of figuring out how to do it differently while doing the same thing, getting the same types of results.” 5:01
“But you buckle down, and you go to work. And you do it. You surround yourself with good people.” 18:18
“Give back, give back, give back. I think giving back is just being a good guy. Just be a good person.” 19:29
“We’re strength coaches, and we need to be diversified. And we need to figure out different ways to do things, and to reach different populations.” 21:06
“Coaching is something that’s personal. It’s a relationship. It’s how do you get people to do what you want them to do? How do you make them click? How do you make them tick? How do you make them buy in?” 22:00
“Just be you. Just be who you are. Don’t try and be something fake.” 36:42
“But at the same time, they need to know that you’re there for them. They need to know that you’re there to help them and their career.” 38:32
“They can give me a call, or drop me an email. Any time.” 39:57
[00:00:00.71] Welcome to NSCA's Coaching Podcast, Episode 59. That was the biggest thing-- the challenge, for me, of figuring out how to do it differently, while doing the same thing, getting the same types of results.
[00:00:15.47] This is the NSCA's Coaching Podcast, where we talk to strength and conditioning coaches about what you really need to know, but probably didn't learn in school. There's strength and conditioning, and then there's everything else.
[00:00:26.14] Welcome to the NSCA Coaching Podcast. I'm Scott Caulfield. Today with me, Jason Loscalzo, Head Strength and Conditioning Coach for the Chicago Bears. Coach, welcome to the show.
[00:00:35.56] Thank you. Thanks for having me.
[00:00:36.94] We are here at the NFL Combine. We stole you away before you've probably got to get started doing some stuff, and evaluating guys. But for people just listening in, why don't you tell us a little bit about your role as the Head Strength Coach for the Bears?
[00:00:53.32] Well, yeah. Head Strength Coach for the Chicago Bears. It's my first-- just finished my first year in pro football, and the journey has been a long one. But most of my career in college-- 21, 22 years in college-- and then coming to the NFL, and you talk about roles the different roles between the college strength coach and the pro strength coach. But it's a job that's just that-- strength and conditioning-- and the way our organization set up is pretty nice, to where that's the only hat I wear. And that's the way I like it.
[00:01:38.20] Yeah, that's cool.
[00:01:39.21] So that's nice. And I'm around a bunch of good people there, too. It's definitely a different job than college. It's been fun, though. It's probably one of the best years I've had coaching-wise, from a fun standpoint.
[00:01:55.96] Were you always thinking someday that was the end goal? Like, I want to get to NFL? Or not necessarily?
[00:02:04.42] Not necessarily. Not until later in my career. I've been fortunate to work with some great people. Worked with good coaches, good programs. It first probably entered my mind when I was at Boston College and worked for Jeff Jagodzinski, who had come from the NFL. He hired me at Boston College at Auburn, and just being around him, and talking to him, and he was just giving me some different pointers about NFL versus college, and that stuff.
[00:02:34.57] And then when I got the job at Washington State, I happened to strike up a relationship with an NFL agent, who helped me along the way. And again, I really wasn't thinking NFL until about halfway through my Washington State time. I was there six years. I was in it for three years. And just started thinking about it. Because as a coach, you always have to think about your future, and you've got to be prepared. Because you never know in this business. And so there was a bunch of different factors that went into it. But when this opportunity came up, there was no way of saying no to it, at all.
[00:03:19.33] Talk about a fish out of water, though. When I first got to the NFL, I was about as uncomfortable as you could possibly be, as a coach. Which is-- in my opinion, that's where you want to be as a coach. If you're comfortable as a coach, you're in some bad waters. That's when I think you start getting complacent and things. And so again, at Washington State, there was nothing negative about Washington State and why I left. It was just the opportunity to go work for one of the most storied franchises in all sports.
[00:03:52.24] And so that was definitely a lure.
[00:03:57.10] Yeah. That's a great-- I love that, what you said. So you've got 20 years of experience as a strength coach, and now you've got this new endeavor, and you're like, OK. Wow.
[00:04:10.35] I tell my wife, I tell everybody that asks-- it's like a completely different profession, doing the exact same thing.
[00:04:17.35] Yeah. A squat is a squat. A clean is a clean. A snatch is a snatch. But it's the delivery. It's how you program it. It's what you need to do. The difference is between what the college athlete needs, what the pro guy needs-- I mean, it's completely challenged me as a coach to change and think outside the box of what I'm used to.
[00:04:39.42] We all get in ruts.
[00:04:41.02] We all get in that, "this is the way I do it," "this is the way I've always done it." And then you pull yourself out, and you get dropped in. You pull yourself out of the pond, so to speak, and you get dropped into another ocean. That ocean's vast and huge, and so you can start figuring out what you want to do, and it starts to shrink. But yeah. That was the biggest thing-- the challenge, for me, of figuring out how to do it differently while doing the same thing, getting the same types of results.
[00:05:11.06] That's cool. Did you have a network of some people that you tapped into to be like, hey--
[00:05:20.15] --making this move.
[00:05:21.89] Jesse Ackerman with Atlanta, and Ivan. Ivan was in Tennessee at the time. Ivan Lewis and [INAUDIBLE]. He'd been in the NFL before, but he was at SC. But he was a good guy that I relied on. And then the biggest thing for me was when I came to this-- so I got the job in Chicago last year, a week before the Combine.
[00:05:45.95] So I was there for a week before I came down here. So I met up with you down here, and we talked a little bit. But it was that dinner you guys put on for the pro strength coaches, where I spent the whole night-- two, three hours-- just talking to guys. Steve Watterson and Harold Nash, and just guys that-- Aaron Wellman-- guys that just helped me figure out that coaching is coaching no matter where you're at, but here, the different things you need to look for in pro ball versus where I'm coming from.
[00:06:25.22] And that's where I really felt a lot more comfortable after talking to those guys, and coming to that dinner. And it was just a bunch of guys that just want to see you succeed, no matter where they're at. They might be wearing a different logo, but they still want to see you do well.
[00:06:40.40] And so those are the guys that I've continued to rely on.
[00:06:47.03] Yeah. So that's great. Those guys are really great people, too. And Watterson gave a great--
[00:06:53.21] Awesome speech last night.
[00:06:55.19] --Lifetime Achievement Award. An incredible speech last night. But 20 years of college experience, too. I mean, 21 years. You've been a lot of different places, and I know that listeners probably have heard-- we've heard so many different paths. But I guess walk us through that collegiate career path. And I don't know, it seems like there's a standard path. But also, there's so many different variations that--
[00:07:28.96] --everybody's had.
[00:07:30.38] Everybody's got their own deal, you know? When I was at Humboldt with Drew Peterson, who I consider my biggest mentor, he was a guy that pretty much taught me everything I know in terms of how to be a coach, and what to do, and how to be passionate about your job. Played at-- of course, I went to a junior college first. And then I went to Humboldt State and played a couple of years there, and started coaching there.
[00:07:58.61] Kind of fell into it by accident. I was lifting. I was never a great athlete. I always liked the preparation part of it-- lifting stuff. And we were in a weight room one day, and I'm working out. I was going into my senior year playing. And Drew had some girls coming from a soccer team. Some ladies came in to work out, and I don't think they'd ever been in there before. They didn't know how to do the warm up-- the barbell warm up and the dynamic stuff that we did. So Drew was like, hey-- Scuzz was my nickname-- hey, Scuzz. Why don't you take these ladies through the warm up and teach them and stuff? So I taught them that. It was maybe 30 minutes teaching them and stuff. And I wasn't really thinking--
[00:08:43.82] --hey, he's doing this to alter--
[00:08:46.83] --my ego. And then I get done, and I'm in Drew's office, and Drew just looks at me. He's like, you know, I think you found your calling. And that's when it hit like, wow, I could make a career out of this. That was in the mid to late '90s. So strength and conditioning was just starting to really take hold in a lot of different places. So I went ahead and took him up on his offer with that and started coaching there.
[00:09:16.51] And so from there, I went and got a GA position at Arkansas. And I was only at Arkansas for a short while before I got called by Aaron Shelley at the University of Nevada. And it was an assistant position there. I would have had my-- because when I was at Arkansas, I was working with just football, and there were four of us. So I wasn't able to learn much as a coach, because I was one of four, and I wasn't programming anything. And I was a new coach. I just wanted to learn how to do those things.
[00:09:48.53] So I got called by the University of Nevada. And I went out there. And I took that job, and was there for two years, and met some just great coaches. Mike Bewley, who you're close with, over there at Clemson, and Mike Robinson. And Mike Robinson, who taught me from the Olympic standpoint, taught me more about Olympic lifting in eight months than I think I'd learned in four or five years up to that point.
[00:10:18.83] It was a great learning experience, because it was one of those places back-- late '90s, early 2000s-- where you come in. There's four coaches, there's 17, 18 teams, and everybody's helping everybody. You have your own four or five teams, and then you've got to help with everything else. Everybody's working out of the same room. And it was a great place to learn, figure out how to be a coach.
[00:10:43.52] I was there for a couple of years, and I got the opportunity to go to Marshall with Mike Jenkins, back when Marshall was-- the Byron Leftwich days, and Marshall and they were really rolling. That was an opportunity for me to be the head strength coach for Olympic sports, while also helping with football. So I could keep my foot in the door with football.
[00:11:02.45] So I took that job and went out there. And again, I've just been so blessed with the guys I've worked with. Coach White was the head basketball coach, and he treated me so well. He bought into that weight room and made my job so much easier. And Royce Chadwick was the head women's coach, and I had a great relationship with him as well. It just helped that I was around really good people.
[00:11:30.49] And I was running my own room. We had two separate weight rooms, and so I was running my own room. So it really taught me, again, how to be my own coach. When nobody else is there, you've got to make up your own philosophy. You've got to make up your own regulations and rules-- all those things. And I was a young guy, young and stupid at the time. And then, also helping with football, and keeping my foot in the door there.
[00:11:56.58] And then when I was at Nevada, that's when I started getting into the nutrition side of it. And that was when it was starting to get big in strength and conditioning, where you had to wear the two hats. And I'm at Marshall, and Kevin Yoxall has a job open at Auburn. And part of the job was creating a nutrition deal for football at Auburn, but also being an assistant strength coach. Long story short, my name got to him, and he called me, and I went out and interviewed and got the job, and spent four years with Yox--
[00:12:35.22] --at Auburn. And everybody knows who Kevin Yoxall is.
[00:12:38.43] I mean, that guy's a legend in the field. So I spent my four years there, and that's where my career takes a little bit of a turn most people don't have. So four years in, I get a call-- I'm talking to Eric Schiano at the time. Eric tells me on the phone one day-- he's like, hey man, you need to apply for the Boston College job. And I'm like, Boston College? I don't know anybody at Boston College. I don't know a soul there. He's like, dude, just do it. Just apply for the job. I'm telling you, this is what they're looking for. Just apply for it.
[00:13:11.42] Like, all right. So I send my stuff up there. And I'm thinking, I don't know anybody there. I'm at a recruiting deal on Saturday. And Saturday afternoon, I get home. My wife and I are just there, sitting there, going to watch some TV. My phone rings. It's a number I don't recognize. And I usually don't answer it, but I answered it. And it was somebody affiliated with Boston College, and they phone interviewed me right there. I was like, wow. OK.
[00:13:43.11] And then at the end of the interview-- it was Don Yee, actually, who phone interviewed me for Jeff Jagodzinski. And Don's-- "Hey, I'm going to recommend that you get an interview with Jags. Would you take it if we offered you an interview?" I'm like, yeah! I'd take an interview, thinking I'll have a week to figure this out. Hang the phone up. Get a call literally 10 minutes later. "Hey, there's a flight leaving Atlanta at 12:30 tomorrow if you want to come up to interview." I didn't have a suit. I didn't have a tie. So my wife and I just-- we jet down to the local store and piece together this suit that-- I probably looked awful.
[00:14:23.51] But I flew up. And again, I didn't know anybody. I'm interviewing with Jeff, and Steve Logan was the offensive coordinator-- those were the two guys I interviewed with. And as we were interviewing, Jeff just kept poking me like, hey, this is the way the last guy did it, and they were really successful at this, really successful with that. He knew what I did, and some of what he was saying was the opposite of what I did. He's like, hey, we did this, and did this, and what do you think about that. I think you need to-- we were really good at this.
[00:14:55.20] And I just stopped him. And I said, Coach, I really appreciate this opportunity, but this is what I do, and this is how I do it. All the respect in the world for what you've done, and you've gotten this head coaching job. But this is how I do things. And this is what I do. If this isn't for you, then I appreciate the opportunity, but I'm not your guy. And he offered me the job right there.
[00:15:16.67] So it was one of those things where God knows me better than I know me. And it happened so fast that I couldn't find anything in my mind to start thinking about it. "Well, I don't know if I want it. I don't know if I want to move to Boston." So I got the job, again, not knowing a soul there. Just being at the right place at the right time, knowing the right people, I guess. Talking to Schiano at that time.
[00:15:42.74] And so I get to Boston College. Spent five years there. And again, I'm getting ready to get out of coaching when I was a Boston College. It was a great job, but worked for some people that were-- it was difficult. You know how it is as coaches. It's difficult. So I was looking at getting out, and I'm like, I'm going to go be a state patrol officer. I'm going to go work for the state police in Virginia. So I start looking at that stuff, and getting out of coaching altogether.
[00:16:14.25] And in late January, again, the phone rings. I don't recognize the number. It was a coach that I had worked with at Nevada, Jim Mastro, back in the year 2000. At this time, it's 2012. We'd just kept in touch periodically, not nothing-nothing. It wasn't a week-to-week deal, or month-to-month deal. We'd talk to each other maybe once a year, once every couple of months at best. And I answer the phone. It's Mastro. His exact words are, "Hey, you want to come to Washington State?" I'm like, "Who is this?" He's like, "It's Mastro, you! You want to come to Washington State?" I didn't even know the job was open.
[00:16:53.50] I didn't know it was open. It was one of those things, again, where God knows me better than I know me. I was like, yeah, yeah. Sure, I'll take the interview. I'll go interview. So I went down to Los Angeles and interviewed while Mike Leach was head coach, and Mike Leach was recruiting. And that's a whole other-- people love that story. That interview story with Mike Leach. Those were-- he's got some stories. But again, I got the job on the interview. And before I could think about anything else, "Yeah, I'll take the job."
[00:17:30.94] So I go out to Washington State. And at that time, 2012, Washington State was awful, to say the least. It was just an awful-- the program was in bad shape for a lot of factors. There's no one factor. It was just a lot. It was a neglected program. And all the staff that we replaced-- they were working with challenges that I never had. And they had some just massive challenges that Mike Leach and Bill Moos, the AD at the time, changed.
[00:17:58.99] But it took a while. I got there and I knew it wasn't good, but I had no idea it was as bad as it was. I got out there, and that was a challenge. That was one of those deals where you walk in and you're like, man, I don't know if we're going to do this one. But you buckle down, and you go to work. And you do it. You surround yourself with good people.
[00:18:26.43] So I was there for six years. And then again, I get a call from the Chicago Bears out of the blue. And the way that went down, as I pieced together afterwards, as Ivan Lewis at SC-- he was the one that gave them my name. And I don't know anybody there. Again, it just-- out of the blue, I got a phone call. "Hey. Come interview with the Bears." And again, it was one of those deals of-- that's the Chicago Bears. I'm not going to turn that one down. I can't turn that one down. Got offered the job on the interview, and I took the job.
[00:19:01.54] So I've gotten three head coaching jobs without really knowing anybody, other than a distant relationship. It's a lot of my close guys that I always talk about. It's always-- this is all about relationships.
[00:19:13.58] Right. I was just going to say, it's like the common denominator of that whole lineage is, you build good relationships with people. And you had a really good reputation.
[00:19:27.94] Obviously you had a strong program.
[00:19:29.89] That's kind of the [INAUDIBLE]. Give back, give back, give back. I think giving back is just being a good guy. Just be a good person. Not that I'm the standard or anything like that. All I'm saying is-- I've made my fair share of mistakes. There are plenty of people, I'm sure, that have called me that I've neglected to call back, or not email back. Stuff like that. But you always try. And try and be the guy that answers that guy that calls you, or answers that email that you get. Because again, it's about good people.
[00:20:00.79] And you never know who that next guy is going to be. You never know who that guy's going to be that's going to make you a better coach, who's going to make you a guy-- that's going to get you to where you want, that wants to help you. But you can also help that person get where he wants to go. That's my idea of giving back.
[00:20:21.62] After the field, it's--
[00:20:25.45] When you mention being the head of Olympic sports and helping with football, how important do you think it is, and should it be, to get that experience? We talk about youth sports specialization, and now a lot of string coaches specialize. You can almost specialize from the start, now. But how important was that diversity in training?
[00:20:48.94] It made my career. It made my career. Because again, coaching is-- we're strength coaches. We're not sport coaches.
[00:20:57.94] I'm not a football coach. Coach Nagy will be the first one to tell you that I'm not a football coach. Coach Leach will tell you I'm not a football coach. We're strength coaches, and we need to be diversified. And we need to figure out different ways to do things, and to reach different populations. That was the big thing, how to reach different people. Basketball players, baseball players, football players-- you're talking about three completely different mentalities, and coaches, personalities.
[00:21:32.00] So that was the thing, for me, that made me such a better coach. Because I was able to understand that this isn't one size fits all. This isn't you coach everybody the same. People can say that all they want. If you do that, you're going to fail.
[00:21:51.22] So for me, that was the biggest growing point as a coach. X's and O's are X's and O's. Coaching is something that's personal. It's a relationship. It's how do you get people to do what you want them to do? How do you make them click? How do you make them tick? How do you make them buy in?
[00:22:11.89] Yeah. Well, and I'm sure even the differences in football players from Auburn to Boston College to Washington State were incredibly different.
[00:22:20.83] I mean, different regions. Football in the South is religion. You go to the Northeast, there's just these big, tough guys that-- I coached some of the toughest guys I've ever been around at Boston College. They weren't necessarily the best athletes, but we won a lot of games because these guys were tough, smart. And then you go to the West Coast, where people just approach it differently. And then, all of a sudden, I go from the Boston College 22 personnel to the Washington State air raid, where just the ball's getting flung everywhere. I didn't see the ball get thrown 100 times in a season at Boston College, let alone when Spaziani was head coach. Going to Washington State, we're throwing it a hundred times in a game.
[00:22:59.09] Wow. Yeah.
[00:23:01.95] So again, it was just figuring out how to coach it differently. You have a different philosophy. You have a different way of doing it-- which goes back to what we do as coaches. I think one of the biggest mistakes I made, young in my career, was I'm right and everybody else is wrong. It's my way. My way is always-- you've got to Olympic lift. Oh, you've got to squat. If you're not doing those things, you're doing it wrong. It's just like in football. Everybody runs a different style. People run different defenses, and people run different offenses. Michael Leach does not run the same offense as Urban Meyer, but good luck arguing with the win-loss record and what each coach has done.
[00:23:41.60] And so that's the thing. There's more than one way to skin a cat. There's a thousand ways to do it. So going out to Washington State, it was-- you're just talking about a different philosophy, different mentality from the kids you're recruiting. The West Coast kid versus the Southern kid versus the Northeast kid. Again, it comes down to how can you relate to those guys? How can you relate to people to get them to work hard, to buy into the program?
[00:24:13.39] How does that change, too? How does your philosophy change as you transition from different resources, to different facilities, to learning new stuff? How do you evaluate and change that yourself?
[00:24:29.00] I think the philosophy has always been the same for me. It's just how I've gotten there that's been a little bit different. I'm pretty basic guy. We clean, we squat, we snatch, we use barbells and bumper plates, and that's what we do. So I've been fortunate to be at places where we've had that type of stuff. We could do it. The change comes from when you move up to places that offer you more resources and expect you to use those resources. And so I've really had to grow in that, especially going from college to pro. You've got-- yeah, we have our philosophy, but the door has been open for a lot of other things, from a financial standpoint, from a resource standpoint, that I've never used before, that-- oh, OK. This really works over here. That really works over there. No, I don't like this. I don't like that. Especially from the technology standpoint.
[00:25:26.31] Right. Right.
[00:25:27.93] So philosophy-wise, it's pretty much always been the same. It's what's underneath that umbrella, little subcategories that get switched out and improved, or added, or something like that. So it's the resource side of it that I think changes it.
[00:25:45.27] Yeah. No, I think that's a good point, too. You stick to your guns on what you truly believe in and value, and then other things are implemented or massaged around to be able to utilize and encompass part of the whole overarching system.
[00:26:03.99] It's almost like as I've gotten older, my philosophy has gotten almost more broad.
[00:26:10.89] It used to be very specific, because I was young and stupid, and thought I knew it all.
[00:26:14.35] Thought, I can do it this way, or this is the only way to do it.
[00:26:17.42] And as you get older, and as you figure it out, you meet new people and you see different athletes. And you figure it out, that-- man, there's a lot of ways to do it. You get to the NFL, and it's almost a little bit more basic than what I've done. But it's more complex. It's just hard to explain. The bottom line is people need to be strong. They need to apply that strength as fast as they can, and the rest of it's just got to-- how do you get there with what you have?
[00:26:50.33] Yeah. That's great. And going back to Boston College-- we were talking about it before we started recording here. But I actually had to-- as a speaker, when I was the NSCA Vermont State Director, here at BC. Again, my experience with the NSCA is that this is a great story of summing up how I've met people and connected people. I was trying to put together a state clinic, and I wanted it to be very sport-specific, so I reached out to strength coaches I knew, and my good friend [INAUDIBLE] knew you, and connected me with you.
[00:27:29.46] And, I mean, you're a head college football coach at Boston College, and this guy-- little NSCA Vermont State Director reaches out, asks you to speak, and I can pay you $100. And you were like, yep, sure. I can do it. If it's Friday, I'll drive up. And you came up, spoke, and I think went back that night. I believe that night, yep. That was awesome, and I still appreciate that.
[00:27:54.00] That's where I've learned the most stuff-- the smaller events, the ones where it's way more personalized. You have more one-on-one time with people. And that's one thing I think the NSCA does an awesome job with, is-- it's not just one big national mess. It's not just one big pot that, hey, everything's put into this pot, and this is it. This is the only opportunity you have. You guys have stuff everywhere.
[00:28:28.71] There's always something going on. There's always something you can pick up and do. There's always a podcast you can listen to. There's always a clinic you can go to. And even to the event last night, with the pro strength coaches' dinner that you guys put on-- this organization that you have with us, it just creates those little groups of people that can all just rely on each other, that you can meet with multiple times instead of just one time. So those are the things that I've always felt have been my biggest-- from my conference standpoint, quote, unquote, "where I've learned the most" are the small ones that are just the little satellite camps, so to speak.
[00:29:10.28] Yeah. One of the things I do-- I do headquarters, too-- is one of the first screening processes on all the state and regional clinics. So they submit it to the person in the office who does that. She routes it past me, so I'm checking just to make sure the content-solid people are certified. But I would look at all these state, and I'm like, oh, man, this is a good one. I wish I could go to that. Like Washington, or North Carolina. Oh, man.
[00:29:39.17] Yeah. That's pretty funny. Yeah, just the diversity of the organization, I think, is what makes it so cool, and so unique, too. Because you can learn from so many different people.
[00:29:50.49] And that's what we were talking about earlier. Hockey, and basketball, and all of these different people that are under that same umbrella with the NSCA that you can reach out to.
[00:30:00.76] Or I could call you-- "Hey, Scott, I need to talk to somebody about this." Or, "I need to talk to somebody about"-- you can get me in contact with somebody at a snap of a finger. "Hey. Call this guy. Call that guy." Or you can have those guys call me or whatever. That's the other thing that helps-- you have a resource that's just right there, at your hand. Again, I'm a strength coach for football, but I'm not a football coach. I'm a strength coach for football, and there's things I'm going to learn from other people in other sports that are going to help me become better.
[00:30:30.80] Yeah. You guys had such a great run this year, too. Was there any-- I guess, what might have been some of the things that you were thinking? Or to go straight from college to the NFL, and then have a run like the Bears ran this year-- were you just like, at some point, this is kind of surreal?
[00:30:53.83] I can't believe-- but at the same time, you've got to be in it, because you got to be present.
[00:30:58.43] When we first got to Chicago, not a whole lot of people gave us a shot. It was, if they can win eight, we'll be happy. They're probably going to be a six or seven-win team. They're a year away. But when you're in that building, it's completely different. And you just tune all that other stuff out. You see the guys that you're working with. And the personalities that we have on that team-- just huge personalities. Just guys that were just good people.
[00:31:30.29] That's the one thing I noticed about getting to Chicago, when I got there, was how good the people are. From the GM, to the owners, to the head coach, to all the players, you had a great locker room, and good people. And we have a head football coach who's just-- he's a leader. He's a great leader. He's a good leader. He's a good person. And that's how he built that thing.
[00:31:54.02] And then again, I didn't-- people were asking, are you guys going to be good? I'm like, I have nothing to compare us to. I've never been in the NFL. I don't know. So I'm like, yeah, we'll see. And going through pre-season-- when I hired Casey Cramer as my top assistant-- and he's the same thing. He'd never been in the NFL, either. So we look at each other going, I don't know. We've got good players. That's all I know. But everybody's got good players.
[00:32:22.15] And just watching it come together in camp, and watching how the head coach had done things, and how our staff-- we had a great football staff, too. We got some of the best coaches I've been around. And again, everybody says that when they're working in a place. But I can honestly tell you we have coaches that-- I get the privilege of working with Vic Fangio. Our defensive quarter's now the head coach of the Denver Broncos. He's a football genius. Just watching those guys.
[00:32:52.38] And as we got going into pre-season, it's like, yeah, we're going to win some games. We're going to be pretty good. And then watching our players mature, and watching our players grow and come together as a football team. And then we open up the season at Green Bay, and Aaron Rodgers did his thing and beat us at the end of the game. It was one of those things where I saw-- I walk in the locker room, and I saw a football team that was-- they were hurt. And then that's when you knew-- this thing's going to take off if we can just get that one take-off. And then the next thing you know, we went on a pretty darn good run.
[00:33:29.47] And then as the season was going, again, you sit back and when you finish the day and you look back, you're like, holy cow. We have a chance to win the NFC North. I'm just a little college guy coming up here. We have a-- I have a chance to be the NFC North champion. And when that happened, that's when it-- but like you said, you have to be dialed in.
[00:33:54.97] You can allow those moments, but you better make sure you dial yourself back in real quick. You can't be star struck. But it was surreal, being-- first time in the NFL. As a kid, you're always watching it.
[00:34:12.02] I don't know of a coach out there that wouldn't jump at the opportunity to coach in this league. You can't find a better environment to coach in.
[00:34:20.33] And we went on that run. We got into the playoffs. We won the North. We knew we were in the playoffs. And again, it was just like, wow. This is the pinnacle of sport. We had a chance to go play for the Super Bowl. It didn't work out. But it's funny, because I still wake up every morning and go, wow, I'm really here. I'm really coaching the Chicago Bears. But then you dial in, and you go to work. And you understand those guys that you coach are-- that's what it's about. It's about who you coach.
[00:34:56.33] X's and O's are what they are. We have a bunch of guys that do things different than-- like at Washington State, [INAUDIBLE] said, hey, you're going to let this guy do that? No. You get to the NFL-- you're going to let this guy do that? Yep. Because that's what helps him be a better player.
[00:35:11.30] Because again, it's a completely different environment than what you're coaching in. But yeah as far as surreal-- and I think every coach needs to allow themselves to have those moments.
[00:35:21.47] Because if you're too wrapped up in it, and you don't have those moments of joy and "holy cow, look where I'm at"-- you know. It's just from a personal standpoint. I don't believe in jumping on the internet and promoting yourself that way. I'm not a big guy. I don't do that kind of stuff. I'm not a big fan of it. I think that almost hurts our profession more than anything. But for you to take those personal moments with your family, and take a look at where we're-- my oldest son's nine, and he lives and dies Bears football. And he lived and died Washington State football when we were there. So to be able to have those moments with my family behind closed doors-- but again, when you get up the next day, dial it back again. Back to work.
[00:36:06.64] Yeah. That's cool. I want to ask you one more thing about-- you've been on a lot of interviews, and it's clear you've gotten a lot of good jobs out of your interviews. Is there anything you think that you'd give advice, as far as preparing, or things you did, or how you handled yourself in those interviews, that made you successful?
[00:36:37.57] You might have to ask the people that interviewed me. I'm just-- again, everybody said, just be you. Just be you. Just be who you are. Don't try and be something fake. I don't believe in interview speak. I don't believe in interview talk. When I go into my interviews-- again, like when I went to interview for the Chicago Bears, they knew all about me. It was almost creepy, the stuff they knew. You know, the background checks they do, and the information they look for, and they find.
[00:37:10.42] So a lot times you go to an interview like that, and again, they're going to know the answer to a lot of the questions they're asking you. So it's just always most important to be you. Be who you are. And if your personality isn't the right fit for them, you don't want the job anyway. And that's my approach. If I don't get the job, then it is what it is. But at the same time, if I don't get it, it's probably a job I didn't want in the first place. If I find myself in a position where I have doubts, I'm miserable.
[00:37:46.19] I always prepare for interviews, but I think the biggest thing is-- everybody likes to bring their portfolios, and their books, and their-- just you need to be able to talk about it.
[00:37:57.44] Instead of just having it in a book. You need be educated enough on what you do so that you can talk about it, and you can verbalize it to coaches that don't know.
[00:38:06.53] Because that's beyond sport coaches. Most sport coaches don't know what we do.
[00:38:10.92] That's a great point.
[00:38:11.36] They have no idea what we do. And you can write all you want in a book, and use all the big words, and all that stuff. They don't know. And you need to be able to explain it to them, and be able to articulate what you believe, and your philosophy, and how you do things, as if you are to the athlete.
[00:38:30.89] We have very educated guys with the Bears, and we've got guys that are honed in with training stuff. But at the same time, they need to know that you're there for them. They need to know that you're there to help them and their career. When you interview, it's the same thing. A head football coach is going to interview you-- he wants to know he can win with you. He wants to know that you can help him get where he wants to go. And that's just the way this business is. That's the way all businesses are.
[00:39:00.44] And so I think just making sure people understand that A, you know what you're talking about, B, you're confident in what you believe. You're confident in how you do it. And just your personality-- some people have different personalities. Some people are looking for different personalities. I'm not a rah-rah guy. I don't wave towels. I don't do any of that stuff.
[00:39:21.89] Guys do that? Great. If that's what their coaches want? Great.
[00:39:25.00] But I'm not that fit. And that's the other thing-- they need to know that, too. Because if all of a sudden, the coach wants that, and they bring me in, and I'm not good at that stuff, that's not my deal-- I'm not going to last very long. Me and that coach are going to butt heads. I'm probably going to end up getting fired-- or worse, I'm going to get a whole lot of other people fired because I didn't do my job the way he wanted it done.
[00:39:44.62] That's awesome. That's such a great point. I think that's great. And this has been a great episode. I know people are going to have questions, and want to reach out to you-- what's the best way to get in touch with you?
[00:39:56.69] Email or phone. Either way.
[00:40:01.28] They can give me a call, or drop me an email. Any time.
[00:40:06.77] Cool. We'll put all that in the show notes. Again, thank you, my friend. Appreciate you being on here.
[00:40:11.15] Scott, I appreciate it, man.
[00:40:12.41] And a big thanks to our sponsor, Sorinex Exercise Equipment. We appreciate their support. And to all of you listening, we appreciate your support. Again, if you like the podcast, make sure that you subscribe wherever you download your podcasts from. Write us a review, and keep listening in. Look forward to talking with you all soon. Thanks.
[00:40:32.63] This was the NSCA's Coaching Podcast. The National Strength and Conditioning Association was founded in 1978 by strength and conditioning coaches to share information, resources, and help advance the profession. Serving coaches for over 40 years, the NSCA is the trusted source for strength and conditioning professionals. Be sure to join us next time.
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