The big time is wherever you're at. I've always believed this, when I was at Knox or Grand Valley State or Eastern Michigan, when you beat your biggest rival and you have success, it feels the same as when I was here beating OU or when I was in the NFL and winning a playoff game.
Now, your ego isn't as stroked in the media as it is at that level, but I promise you, the feeling of accomplishment with the guys in that room are exactly the same. And those kind of things, from where I come from and not being accustomed to having everything, I'm certainly very appreciative. And I still am today, that somebody thinks enough of me to pay me to coach football. I say that very humbly.
I want to earn that and work hard every day to earn that. I'd be doing it for one-tenth of the money. And I was. But I don't coach for the money. I coach because I love competition, winning and helping kids. Hopefully that shows through with what I've tried to do over the years.
The biggest thing in the NFL is the line between team success and individual accomplishments can get very blurred. When money becomes a big factor, and I certainly understand it, statistics and individual goals mean individual reward and revenue. I get that.
Especially since I was coaching receivers, if we went 14-2 and a guy catches 31 balls, he's a thousandaire. If we go 2-14 and he catches 100 balls, he's a millionaire. I think that's a line that's hard for a player.
My dad's four brothers were coaches and my two brothers are coaches and my cousin's at Georgia Southern, so my dad had to have some impact (on my career choice). We always had a ball around the dang house and we were playing everything we could.
I always knew deep down I wanted to coach and I wanted to be involved in it. I always thought, ‘Man, wouldn't it be cool to recruit and get your own players and coach in college?'
I was the middle of three boys. My younger brother was the one who liked to shop a lot, so he's most like a girl. But there were no girls, so my mom had to deal with that. You take what you get and kind of roll with it. And she just kind of took us everywhere; took us to dad's games and got us to our ballgames. When dad had games and we had games, she made sure we were there.
It's an unbelievable role. Whether it's all of our wives when we're coaching, the commitment they make. You almost take it for granted. It takes getting older to appreciate that.
It was hard to leave here. Where this program was going, the guys who left, the guys who stayed … but over time, I think everybody kind of understood. But it's not easy when you develop friendships with people. But it's the job you've chosen. There's not a job I've left, where I had a choice, where you don't feel it. Especially your wives.
It's hard in our profession, because nothing ever splits up good. There are guys who stay, guys who left and guys who are out of work. It's never easy.