Do you get to go on vacation with your family over the summer and if so what are your plans?
June is a busy month because of summer camps and the fact that almost our entire team is here for voluntary summer workouts. In addition to four summer camps on our campus, we are often traveling to other universities to work their camps and evaluate recruits in those locations. We also have numerous rising seniors visiting our campus on unofficial visits. Our freshman signees arrived for the second summer session on June 18th, so we wanted to be in the office to make sure they get settled in with the daily routine. When our last summer camp ended on June 22nd, our family did head down to Pawley's Island, SC for a week at the beach. It's a quiet spot that we really enjoy. It's a great combination of the beach, seafood and barbeque. After the week of the Fourth of July, the coaching staff will be back in the office getting ready for another round of summer camps. Jen and the kids will get out of town again in late July to see family, but I will stay behind as we prepare for the start of preseason camp. It is hard for me to relax as the excitement for the upcoming season builds around that time.
Explain your favorite thing to do in your spare time?
I tell people all the time that I have three kids at home and 110 here in the Fisher Complex. That does not leave any time for a serious hobby! Between coaching and my family, there truly is very little time for anything else. I golf once in a while, but that is usually at alumni events. When I am at home, I enjoy helping Jen out around the house and in the yard. It's somewhat therapeutic for me and I feel like I am contributing to the cause. However, this usually doesn't happen until the off season. I also try to take the kids to school or to other activities when my schedule permits. Jen, Sophia, A.J. and Victoria are real team players. They understand that being a Division I coach is a lifestyle, not a job. They have to share me with 110 student-athletes and countless other program constituents every day. I also try to exercise a few times a week in the off season. I enjoy a good meal from time to time, so you have to offset those calories with some time on the treadmill.
What has life been like in Muncie for you and your family since you arrived in December of 2011?
It has been a real whirlwind, but things are beginning to settle down as more and more pieces of our plan begin to fall into place. Jen and the kids are here just over a year, because they finished the 2011 school year back in North Carolina. They have made a very smooth transition thanks to the wonderful people in this community. The schools are excellent here and the kids have made some great friends in the neighborhood. We also have a lot assistant coaches with young kids, so the staff gets together from time to time as well. Sophia is our oldest and she has started to play volleyball at school and with the Munciana club program. I am real impressed with that operation. They have girls coming in from all over to participate. Our son A.J. recently attended basketball camp at Ball State. My wife Jen has gotten involved with some volunteer activities in Muncie and at the elementary school. We have also tried to take advantage of some of the theatre and musical productions here at the University. We have to support other programs on campus if we want people to support the football program. While my schedule is hectic, there are some real benefits for our family living around a college campus like Ball State.
What was the driving force that made you choose the coaching profession?
I believe that everyone has a true passion in life. It is just a matter of identifying it, committing to it and pursuing it. I have always loved the game of football. Not just the three hours on Saturday's in the fall, but everything that goes into it 365 days a year. I really enjoy helping our players grow up and get ready for life after football. This experience is a great preparation for a successful career. When I went off to college, I was surrounded by a bunch of future Wall Street money managers, entrepreneurs and corporate lawyers. 20 years later, I am still amazed at how bright and successful most of these people are. But the further I went into my education, the more I knew what I really wanted to do with my career. I was very fortunate to get an opportunity to become a graduate assistant under legendary coach Bob Ford at SUNY - Albany. Coach Ford has helped to produce some outstanding college football coaches in his 40 plus years at the helm. College coaching can be a very difficult profession to climb the ladder in, and I certainly had my share of adversity in my 20's. Now that I am a head coach, I am very grateful that I received my undergraduate degree in business administration. Overseeing a Division I football program is similar to being the CEO of a large company, so I use my education every day. At the end of the day, my role is to be a highly effective manager.