Sunday, August 29
Updated: September 16, 7:45 AM ET
Coaches simply don't stop coaching
By John Madden
There's one thing that has always been true: Whether active or not, it doesn't change anything, once a coach always a coach! Some coaches will stay in the game until they retire like Jim Hanifan, the former offensive line coach for the St. Louis Rams. I was able to see Hanifan while I was in Kansas City for a game recently and he never really left the game. He was a college coach, an NFL assistant coach and an NFL head coach, and he just went all the way until he retired!
There are other guys who leave coaching and try to do other things, but they can't live without coaching. Sometimes they are able to leave for a long time and come back like Washington Redskins coach Joe Gibbs. He retired and was elected to the NFL Hall of Fame and then got the bug again and made the move back to his old team in the NFL. Part of the reason he returned was because he had so much success as a NASCAR owner and his son Coy showed an interest in getting back into football.
Of course, as a former coach who was able to stay away for a while, it still surprises me when guys like Gibbs and Kansas City Chiefs head coach Dick Vermeil return from long hiatuses. Vermeil surprised the heck out of me when he returned to the profession to coach the St. Louis Rams and then returned again to coach the Chiefs.
I had a different perspective on things than most coaches because I retired from coaching at the age of 42 and eventually started broadcasting. I enjoyed the games and I thought, OK, this is it and that was satisfying enough for me! My football progression went from being a player and then in a year being a coach, and then being a coach and then in a year being a broadcaster, so the transition was seamless and made sense for me. It seemed normal for me to be a broadcaster and I never thought of going back because I was satisfied. Luckily for me I never had the urge to go looking for something I didn't have or didn't feel like was fulfilled.
I can relate it to Joe Gibbs because it looked like he'd found the same thing with his success in NASCAR. I thought he'd found that niche he needed to fill that gap and I never thought he would come back.
Had I not found that niche in broadcasting, I had planned on getting really involved in real estate, but I quit that after a week and knew I couldn't do that! My backup plan was to spend time with my family and I quickly found out they had their agendas that I found would be tough to break into. Had broadcasting not come along, I probably would have gone back!
Over the years I have had opportunities to go back to coaching and talked to people about going back, and not only have I not gone back, I haven't even taken the first step to getting back on the sideline. I feel like I have filled my void and made my niche in the football world in the broadcast booth.