Q & A With Football Head Coach Tyrone Willingham

Sept. 3, 2001

At what age or point in your career did you realize that you wanted to be a football coach? I realized that I wanted to coach when I arrived at college. But the portion of the image of the physical education instructor, only throwing out the basketball did not sit well. It did not conform to how I desired to be challenged. In my initial years at Michigan State University I explored other career options. As I learned more regarding college and professional football it revealed my love of coaching.

Coach, as an athlete, what is your definition of success?Athletic and life success is determined by becoming or performing at one's highest level. I believe that we should pursue perfection, though at the same time realizing that it is unattainable.

With the start of each new season, you have a new group of players, how do you prepare and what is your main focus?With a group of new players it is essential to bring them into your system as soon as possible. As for the main focus, it is the team. To create an environment that will allow the individual and team to reach their full potential.

It makes no difference winning or losing you still looked relaxed and in control of your emotions. It seems like your team draws strength from that. How do you manage to keep such a sense of calmness about you? We use a quote with the team that says, 'Obstacles are the things you see when you take your eyes off your goals.' In the same manner I believe that at any time we can win if we execute and play up to our potential. If you can truly say and believe this, then you should be excited and have control. It is also important that I try to see a few plays ahead, if I am caught in my emotions it becomes difficult to see ahead. It is not easy but I believe it is important for me to fill this role for our team.

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