New season of ‘One-on-One’ puts spotlight on Pac-12 head football coaches

The responsibilities of a college head football coach can be multidimensional. You’re a teacher, father, enforcer and CEO wrapped in one. The job is often political, always complicated and one that never ends at 5:00 p.m. With all of that, it’s easy to ask, ‘Why would anyone pursue such a demanding, high-stress career?’ 

For Pac-12 head football coaches, the answer varies.  While it’s the family business for many, the one common thread for all is a sheer love of the game that drives them year after year. The journey of the Pac-12’s head football coaches and the genesis of their coaching philosophy is explored in new episodes of the series One-on-One.

Each 30-minute show features Pac-12 Network’s Yogi Roth splitting time with the two Pac-12 coaches in each of the six regions. Tuesday’s episode centers around Oregon's Mark Helfrich and Oregon State's Mike Riley.

Finding out what makes each of the Pac-12’s football coaches tick was the task of show host Roth and Senior Coordinating Producer Michael Tolajian tackled when they sat down the coaches during Pac-12 Football Media Day in July. Each coach spent about 40 minutes with Roth where various subjects, from their upbringing, influences, pivotal career moments and ultimately why they chose coaching, were discussed.

“The goal of this series is to allow fans to get to know their head coaches on a level they have never seen,” said Roth. “We talked about their personal coaching philosophy, their path to success and what motivates them to maximize their players’ potential in the classroom, in the community and on the field.”

Roth is one who appreciates a good story. In addition to his role as host of One-on-One and game analyst duties on Saturdays, he has numerous storytelling projects to his credit, from serving as a producer and voice of The Drive: Pac-12 Football, to passion projects such as his latest documentary Life in a Walk.

“I've been lucky to wear many hats at Pac-12 Networks, but being able to sit down with all 12 head coaches was the most rewarding experience I've had,” Roth said. “To be able to talk about their philosophical approach, learn who influenced them and hear how they have grown along their journey was something that had me leaning in during each conversation.”

The One-on-One franchise debuted last season on Pac-12 Networks with an in-depth look into the life of two Conference legends – Pro Football and Rose Bowl Hall of Famer Lynn Swann and coaching great Lute Olson.

One-on-One will continue to serve as an ‘umbrella series,’ where we can feel free to sit down and interview anyone from the Pac-12 family that we feel would be interesting to our viewers,” said Tolajian.  “Right now we are putting together a list of Pac-12 greats, from former student-athletes to coaches, who we feel would be great interviews and would be open to sharing details from their lives.”

And this season, the inclusion of Pac-12 head coaches effectively moves the One-on-One franchise forward with endearing stories that give fans new insight into the coaches that lead their favorite team.

“Each session had a life of its own. It was such a fun challenge because you never knew what would come out,” said Roth. “Talking to Jim Mora has been one of my favorite because he has seen so much in his career and to listen to him reflect on how much he loves impacting student-athletes was extremely genuine. Mike Riley was powerful because he has the longest tenure and is always so thoughtful in his responses. David Shaw's conversation was TED Talk-esque because he spoke about how Stanford has changed the way academics and football are viewed across the globe. Listening to Todd Graham talk about his mom, how he was raised, along with his honest love for football was really powerful.”

While the love of the game may be the tie that binds them all together, the Pac-12’s dynamic dozen of head football coaches are more than what you see on sidelines on Saturday. Each of the six episodes of One-on-One, debuting Tuesdays at 9:00 p.m. PT provides an indelible look at the life of a Pac-12 football coach.

For more information on the series and a complete schedule of episodes, please visit the One-on-One showpage on Pac-12.com