Inform & Inspire Podcast

Princeton Football HC Bob Surace: What does it take to play in the Ivy League?

March 08, 2018 Isaac Serwanga Episode 1
Inform & Inspire Podcast
Princeton Football HC Bob Surace: What does it take to play in the Ivy League?
Chapters
Inform & Inspire Podcast
Princeton Football HC Bob Surace: What does it take to play in the Ivy League?
Mar 08, 2018 Episode 1
Isaac Serwanga
"You hope you only get married twice in life: once to your spouse and once to your college." -Bob Surace | What does it take to attract the eye of a Division-I college football coach? What social media platforms and outlets can high school student athletes leverage to get noticed immediately? What can high school parents do now to support their son or daughters throughout the college athletics recruiting process? Press play for a special conversation between Isaac Serwanga and Bob Surace.
Show Notes Transcript
"You hope you only get married twice in life: once to your spouse and once to your college." -Bob Surace | What does it take to attract the eye of a Division-I college football coach? What social media platforms and outlets can high school student athletes leverage to get noticed immediately? What can high school parents do now to support their son or daughters throughout the college athletics recruiting process? Press play for a special conversation between Isaac Serwanga and Bob Surace.
Isaac Serwanga:

You are now tuned into the inform and Inspire podcast, fellas ladies, old people and babies. Welcome, welcome, welcome. My name is Isaac, host of the inform and inspire podcast, author of how to network and college and so, so excited to bring to you today. The reason I'm so excited about this, this coach is a former coach of mine and has definitely paved the way for so many of my peers and myself and just to have this conversation is going to be absolutely amazing. Coach Bob Surace, head coach of the Princeton Tigers. How are you today, coach?

Bob Surace:

I feel like we've come full circle and as a coach it's so awesome to see the people you're around and the young people you're around have success and flourish and you know you're doing that. So when you, when you brought this up, I jumped on board, you know, that know how much I feel that I care about you and how I feel about you and you know, to be on here with you. It's pretty, pretty cool, right?

Isaac Serwanga:

I can't, I can't tell you. I'm going to try to stay on a pace because the idea of this inform and inspire podcast today is to bring tremendous value to high school parents, high school parents of of high school student athletes who are trying to make that jump right and trying to figure out what does it take to be recruited and what can I do now to put myself in a position to succeed and there's nobody on the planet who can speak better to what a high school student athlete needs to do to make that happen. But on a personal note, I just have to say to be able to have a conversation for the next 45 minutes and catch up in this way is really cool. So thank you again. So a little bit of backstory and I'll, I'll give a couple of nuggets here. So coach, you have incredible roots with Princeton University obviously as an alumni, a three time ivy league champion. So once as a player, you know, all ivy center back in 1989 and twice as a head coach. And the roots are strong and that says a lot about Princeton University. It says a lot about the community, but also says a lot about yourself, but I don't want to talk too much. I would love for you to give us a little bit of a backstory in terms of your coaching path because as we all know, a coaching path is a long and winding road. Would you be able to give us a little bit of backdrop?

Speaker 2:

I love what you're doing is about networking. It's about building relationships all those days and I, I knew I wanted to go into it. She, my dad coached at the high school level. I saw the impact he had on people and had on others and when I was going through college that was what I wanted to do. My offensive line coach Craig case and used to bring me to the camps he did in the summer. Craig left right after I graduated to be the head coach at Morehouse was one. Uh, just somebody that inspired me. I love being around him. He had a lot of connections in the coaching world where I didn't. And my first coaching job was at Springfield College. Mark Herrmann are linebacker coach it. Princeton was a springfield undergrad.

Speaker 3:

He, uh,

Speaker 2:

was able to connect with the head coach who was a teammate of his and that's how I got my ga and my ga coach football. Got My masters in education at Springfield from Springfield. I ended up going to Maine Maritime. The head coach at Springfield had once been the head coach at Maine Maritime Seenu, the head coach there, and that got me to Maine Maritime, small division three schools. The best job I could have had at that time because it was in the middle of nowhere. I had no distractions. The head coach was a bill bellacheck. He a cre, you learned cobol and created the first analytic programs for coaching. And I was on the computer on the technology edge before almost anybody else was with him. He became a CFL head coach, but the team was in the United States. I went to the shreveport pirates and that didn't last long. The United States teams didn't last long. I was 24, 25 years old when I was in shreveport and we did not have a great year and was left looking for a job and I didn't know what I was going to do, but my girlfriend at Princeton, who we were very, uh, moving forward in our relationship was, was getting her doctorate in psychology at Nyu and I wanted to be somewhere within a drive to see my future wife and don false dick, who was the running back coach at Princeton, was the offensive coordinator to school, caught Rpi. And Don threw me a lifeline. I became the offensive line coach at Rpi and had one of the most fun, phenomenal. Just I just found my love for coaching through these different stops. And that was a great stop. And then a guy coached with the Maine Maritime, had worked at West Western Connecticut and the Western Connecticut coach had moved to Princeton. And he told me about this job opening to be the offensive coordinator. I ended up going to West Conn, being the authentic yeah, coordinator and eventually became the head football coach there. And then John Garrett, a teammate of mine at Princeton called me out of the blue and asked if I wanted to coach in the nfl. He had already booked my plane ticket

Speaker 3:

in a nutshell. And I flew up in

Speaker 2:

Cincinnati. I ended up coaching with the Bangles for eight years, working primarily, you know, mostly with the offensive line and that that was an amazing experience there. And then was fortunate when the job came open at Princeton and your young buck

Speaker 3:

back then to become the head football coach here.

Isaac Serwanga:

So coach, you're telling me that you didn't just jump from graduating from Princeton to landing the head coach at Princeton University that you add to go through some hurdles and some obstacles in there was. It was, it was a, it was a journey to your point,

Speaker 2:

it was an absolute journey. Every, every step along the way was enjoyable. Other than the fact that, you know, you meet somebody and you meet the girl of your dreams in college. I met her at Princeton and she was a much better athlete than me. Great soccer player. And she's getting her doctorate at Nyu. And I'm bouncing from casting main while she's at Nyu to Shreveport, Louisiana. And then finally my last, my next two stops, Rpi, western Connecticut, you know, we're close enough where, you know, we could advance our relationship and eventually get married.

Isaac Serwanga:

That's incredible. And I love hearing backstories and for high school student athletes out there and everybody who's listening, the reason why backstories are so important is because you start to understand that there is the sacrifice and the journey to where you want to be. And you know, I didn't say that at the beginning, but I can only imagine being, you know, and then we'll kind of fast forward now graduating from Princeton and then coming back and coaching that has to be a dream job, has to be coach.

Speaker 2:

And just like everybody I played with and this was the greatest experience you could possibly have for four years. And the best friend you know, as you know, think I'm getting old and I'm turning 50.

Speaker 3:

All my buddies, all my classmates and I have a group of them that are in Arizona right now. And I'm on a group chat. Like we got this technology now or you, we're on a group chat. I'm living vicariously through all the funder we have. We have lift test today so he can't be out there with them and I know you and your buddies. It was

Speaker 2:

just and he just had such a great time. My wife went here, I went here and literally when my wife had a great position and when I had the opportunity to go to the bangles, she was looking at me like, I don't know about this, and my selling point was we were successful western Connecticut. We didn't lose that. I could win the national title and I'm not getting the Princeton job. If I'm a coach in the nfl, I'm going to be a finalist and that's just the way sometimes it works to get that job and you know, you hope you get the job because they're so successful and the coach moves onto whatever position that he values more. Unfortunately, that wasn't the case and I was just blessed to have opportunity and when you get to that final group of five or six guys and a hope that you are convincing enough and ready and they feel that you're the right person, the right fit and that happened and I'll tell you every year and you just, you love being around the guys and you get to coach here and you know, allow that now that's been done in my ninth year, Isaac, and now I get to see you guys did that. Uh, that played for me in her, in, you know, taking the steps in your journey, right? And hitting it and just, you guys are hitting doubles right now. Then you're almost at the point where you got home runs coming down. Proud of you guys. And that's, you know, as a coach, it's thrilling. I get chills when I think about what you guys are accomplishing, you know, five, six years after graduation,

Isaac Serwanga:

man, it all comes home and I'll tell you what, you just kinda going through your story and ended up at Princeton, right? As a, as a head coach. And he's been here going on and I want to transition a little bit to what Princeton University has meant, right? So not just as you know there, there's one aspect as the coach, but there's, you know, we talk about being a student athlete. I would love for you to kind of expand on that idea of creating a culture where you're developing that student athlete to just give you a g two, just a overview quickly. We're going to jump into some nuggets for high school student athletes and the recruiting process, but being at Princeton, what was your mindset going into how you can create the culture that would create that student athlete that you're talking about that's just developed and in so many different areas.

Speaker 2:

When I went on my interview and there were some student athletes that were there, part of it, there were graduating seniors, guys that were veterans when you were younger and you know, we talked about what we were going to accomplish and what you, you know, what we valued and those types of things. And you know, I remember to this day, standing in front of you guys, Bokashi on the first team meeting, Keith Elias, Princeton, great running backs in the nfl now he happened to be around. He was sitting in the front row and coach who coached me and still coaching the coordinator who, who recruited you, Sacramento and you got this group of people here who I knew and then I have 70 or 80 spaces that are out there that the only guy do with Howard flirty. I knew him from his own and his dad. I know, I knew, I knew his family. He was the only person I knew there was on the team at that time that had any prior background or experience from. And we sit there and we talk about little things but being accountable. Right? And we talked about being smart, tough, unselfish and discipline. We'll be in studies and things control the things we control it. And we talked about setting the right tempo and setting the right values. And you know, those first couple years were hard because you changing systems and doing all those things. We didn't have as much on field success, we had some really horrible injuries at first year, you know, the first game, you know, you're losing camaraderie to a torn Pec and you know, called chick gets hurt and you know, you lose these guys right away that are some miss cody fractures is tim.

Isaac Serwanga:

Okay.

Speaker 2:

And we didn't have the depth at that time to overcome them and you lived through this tough year, but I think it made us all better journey and, and the way we handled it together has allowed us to have the success we had in more recent years. And you know, I look back with such pride with the people I got the coach and coach with and those early parts of the journey. And I just, uh, you know, the fact that this thing could have went one or two ways when we weren't having success and it went in a direction that was positive that every time we win a game, now the group that played in 2010 and 25, 12 like those for that, you guys feel such slide, those wins like those winds. Are you those winds are, are, are, are all, but when you say Princeton football, you know, there's guys and you know, they're sweating, we got lift test today. They're doing all those things but you know, that are on the field. But it's everything. When you say a program and you say a football organization, it's everybody and you guys, you guys come back whenever you're in town, you guys come back and puts a smile on my face and I see you guys and we talk about what you're doing and all those things. And that's when you say culture, you know, you got the right people because people come back and they care and they care greatly about the experience that the current groups having and they care enough to give out internships, advice, wisdom, career thoughts, everything. And you know, you, I mean you profound ivy. Nobody view as I have been the, the ringleaders of service, you know. And, and, and when you say Princeton in the nation's service and the service of all humanity, that's you and you guys, you know, right after college, you guys are back here providing something to make a difference that is better than I could have provided you guys are living that and understood that and graphs. What are student athletes needed, not just football players and hit home runs with these guys that are now following your footsteps.

Isaac Serwanga:

I think it's very evident to all high school student athletes in high school parents right now that are thinking about making that next step. What a, an experience of being a collegiate athlete, especially on Princeton University campus is all about, uh, I like to tell people, man, I didn't, you know, football wasn't just a team that was a family, right? So, you know, thank you for those words, but I do want to throw, take a little, a left turn and I want to get into the shoes of a in particular high school student athlete. So coach cups to race. I'm a, I'm a high school sophomore and I just had my first year of football went well, you know, and I'm looking to get to the varsity team next year. Um, I'm in class, I'm on the field, I'm doing everything that I can. What are some tips or what kind of things are you looking for and how early are you looking at student athletes who are potential candidates to be quite honestly an ivy league athlete.

Speaker 2:

We probably won't start that early other than guys maybe that had did in front of us is guys who have been to our camp. Some positions like quarterback, they don't need quite as much physical maturity. So you're looking at things, but the things that are important. When I go into a school and I'm talking to their coach, what type of leader is he? What type of worker is he, you know, what type of teammate is he, what type of character does he have? Give me some examples of those things. I, I want to see, is this the right fit for us because you know the type of people that fit us is good teammates and people that are gonna work hard and that are high achievers. Doing the work in the classroom opens up more doors, right? There's, there's colleges for everybody, right? If you're a good enough athlete and all you will find a place, but you might be limited in the number of places that you can actually look at when you are a good athlete and a good student. You've opened up doors anywhere and that's what you want. You want options because the end of the day recruiting's a two way street. You know when I have a young son, when he was 10 years old, he judged college and what he wants to play football for by the size of their stadium. We've got all these trips with really going to meet alumni like well, five or six games with him now with alumni type trips and we go and you realize that the biggest stadium might not have the best views. Like he's a little guy. He can't see the views, the sight lines are good and then you realize that if you have to go to the bathroom and he's a little guy, you know, they don't have a lot of restrooms, you waiting. We spent half the game waiting lines at the restroom. So maybe the biggest stadium isn't all that. And you start saying, well, what are, what's important to me? You know, how important the educational, how important is the career, how important stability, how important is style of play, you know, you know, what, what's the depth chart look like, you know, is this school, you know, somebody just recruiting me because I'm a pawn in their game or is this somebody that actually cares about me? You know, you start looking at, well what's the diversity of majors? I wouldn't be a chemical engineer. Do they have that? And you know, the other day you want to find it'd be in position to get the right fit and different schools are gonna fit others, different people differently. And I'd like to think everybody thinks like me and Princeton is the be all end all and everything else. But you know, at the end of the day it's not the right school for everybody and maybe you know, this is the right place and they're not going to be happy if they're not as the right place. And so it is, it's a two way street in sophomore year is a great time to start researching colleges and go visiting and going and see them and starting to work and go to camps because you want to see, you know, you know, very often you go to a restaurant, you want to make sure that you research it, you know,

Speaker 3:

and everybody else, they're cooking a good meal,

Speaker 2:

you know, so you want to see, hey, well what are the cooks like, what is this chef like, what's the atmosphere at that restaurant? And so when you get to go to a camp and you're a wide receiver and you get to work with coach Goldman, are you gonna work with the running back coach? Find Out, yeah, this, this really fits me. And you know, one of the misconceptions is Ivy League football's not Division One,

Speaker 3:

right? Because we don't give scholarships right

Speaker 2:

now, financial aids and amazing. I wish financial aid was as good when I went to college now, but it wasn't, it is now. And what you realize is majority guys that are on our team could have played anywhere in the country. They are, they are scholarship athletes that are utilizing their unbelievable academics in high school to look at their career. They're the big picture of what they want to do longterm. And so, you know, I do think kids who are looking at schools like Princeton or schools like us, they value those things.

Isaac Serwanga:

I'm a high school junior football player. Do you need a four point? Oh, GPA and sat to play in the Ivy League?

Speaker 3:

Yeah. Well I had that, but uh, no, to be honest with you, one of the things that,

Speaker 2:

one of my fears was when you read in the newspaper or Nowadays Online, uh, you know, an Ivy League school, Princeton turns down a thousand Valedictorians.

Speaker 3:

It is terrifying. It's terrifying.

Speaker 2:

But then you realize the reason they're turning those students down is because they valued balance. They value service, they value leadership, they value students that bring so many things. That table and you don't have to be a three star, three sport varsity athlete like you were right. You can be in the, you can be in the drama club, you can be in the debate team. You can have so many interests and bring so many things to the table, but what they value, what they don't value with somebody that all they care about is getting a perfect sat because this is a place that wants to educate leaders and people that are gonna make a difference to me. The great schools, the Ivy League schools value those things more importantly than, you know, do you want to be, you know, they want us to. People that work hard in school, they certainly don't want kids who have the potential to be really high end students in her lazy and instead of being a b, students are the b minus c plus students. They're, they're not gonna, you know, they don't want underachievers. They do want high achievers, but people who you know when you have a leadership component, and when I walk into it, I know if I walked in to see you, obviously didn't recruit you. If I walked into CEO, there's a story to be told and everybody from your high school coach to the principal because when, when when a princeton walks in with an ivy league school, walks in, the principal gets to meet the coach because it's like, wow, this is

Isaac Serwanga:

right.

Speaker 2:

This is. If you don't get a lot of kids to go, the acceptance rate is five, six percent. So when we walk in, you know the principle that the high school coach wants you to meet the principal like, look what are these young men? I'm coaching their students as well and they all tell a story about that, that that student. And that just makes me feel so good that they're going to fit in here. That these kids just light up a room. And that's what. When I came back to Princeton, it was no different than 1986. You guys lit up a room with your personalities, with your work ethics, all those things, and I think our guys currently, you know, do a similar thing. They just, you know, what do they sell out? They excel at life. They enjoy life and earth and are they perfect? No, there's not a friend of yours that I know that you have. That was perfect here. You guys went through a journey. There was ups and downs and not everything was was roses, but you had some struggles. You've had some obstacles. Gosh knows the obstacles when I got here and some of the classes that you had no different than the obstacles that I have and what we found was there's people here to help us along the way and support us to overcome obstacles and I know you became stronger and I know I became stronger and we share that bond for the rest of our lives. How we, how we overcame those obstacles.

Isaac Serwanga:

Absolutely. I think when you hit on it, no, you do not have to be a four point. Oh, GPA in 1600 sat score. The reason why I said that question, I've literally heard that question from students and parents, so I just wanted to clear that myth. Now there's the other side, and go ahead, sorry.

Speaker 2:

Juniors. Yes. Communication is allowed, so God in unit, Kate will. No matter what sport you play, you play softball. You played tennis and play football, communicate with the coach and we'll help. Best advise student athletes. The last one we want to do is waste your time at archive. If a student is in range, you know there's other options and I'm going through it with my own children, with Ellen Children's friends whose schools for everybody that best fit them and where you find out is most of the kids who were really good students but maybe not, you know, for over 1600. They're perfectly capable of being great students here at Princeton and just communicate those questions to your code.

Isaac Serwanga:

Absolutely. And you lead me to my next question. I have to have to make sure I get it out. Social Media, now, coach, you've been, you've been around football for, I mean coaching collegiate athletics for at least three decades and you've seen so much. My question to you is how have you seen that play a role and in what ways specifically can highschool student athletes leveraged that? If they can write, and I'm speaking, I'll get specific twitter huddle are two that I'm thinking of and if you have any anecdotes around that or ways that you think high school student athletes and parents can kind of navigate that social media aspect.

Speaker 2:

There's no such thing as a group. Yeah, pick up the phone and we always joke and say thank God we didn't have social media. You know, what we would've adjusted and adapted and we would've been better because of it. And I, I think this, that, you know, we all the, you know, I don't want to use the word we're not, you know, this isn't so and so, you know, bob, 18 year old businessperson, right? But you do want, you know, twitter's your, your foray to go out in the world, say who you are. And we had a player a few years ago who was a a nfl prospect and over after he graduated was over the holidays, over Christmas and he kept tweeting out how nice it was to sleep in and lay on this couch and do those things. And I called him up. I said to him, you know, that's not you. And that's not the message. I know you're saying it as a joke to your friend. The message that the NFL scouts, you know, should be knowing about you because this is who you are, is your, you're the guy who's up at six in the morning and I know you're joking about this, but you know, when you're looking at future employers and others, send a message out of who you are. Right? And you know, the guys we get send the message that you are a high achiever. Every once in a while there's something funny and you put something funny on the but you know, well we're putting something out because I didn't use twitter and it as much as things that I've improved. The coaches sat me down and said, you're not getting the message out and you are a leader and you're the head coach and the message of what Princeton football and our tradition and, and what we do with our athletes and how much we care, how they're developing and all those things were not getting the message out and I vowed that I'm going to get better at this. I'm going to start using and get better at it. And I look at other know how other coaches at Princeton use it and some of our own coaches use it and find ways to message what Princeton football is all about. You can research anything so you can't put out lies. You're printing out live birdie ruined the relationship with an 18 year old, but it's a way to let them know, you know, we uh, we, we played the first game of most recruiters wouldn't know that and they just did this logo for the Ncaa 150 and it's Princeton versus rutgers first game of. And I put that out on twitter yesterday and just said, tradition. Right? And you can't, I can't tell you how many recruits didn't know that. And they're like, wow, this is pretty cool.

Speaker 3:

They're not

Speaker 2:

coming to princeton because 18, 69, we played rutgers. But you know what, it adds a little value that this place did start football. This is important to Princeton. And you know, just wait raises a little more awareness. And I just think that, you know, I've had some teammates of mine whose kids, they didn't let them use twitter and I told them, no, no, no, that I, I was the same way. I bucked the on twitter on this grouchy old man on the,

Speaker 3:

you know, Jon Gruden and you know, the other day, I love analytics.

Speaker 2:

That's all we do with it. But I'm not going to hide from those things. I'm going to let people know what we're all about. And I think as a young man or woman who's looking to play athletics in college, it's a great way to communicate. It's a great way to get your message out. If you do it in a positive way. And if you can't do twitter in a positive way, then this is supposed to be the best version of you,

Speaker 3:

the best version of you as a positive by goodness. So you better make the best version of you. The best version on that. So

Speaker 2:

I think. I think kids get it now. I think their parents are awesome and you know, they just, they understand that they, you know, for me, I can within six seconds if you called me up and said hey, there's a young man in my high school that the coach told me about. It's a high end player and he's a three slash seven student and has 1300 on the boards within seven seconds I can get as video

Speaker 3:

on huddle. I can look at it like it is that quick.

Speaker 2:

And it used to be when my dad was my high school coach, we had vhs tapes. That was when be a desk and you would send it out in my high school, didn't have a big budget. So you would send one out and we sent one out to one of our, my current competitors. And that school never gave it back because that was, that was my best game.

Isaac Serwanga:

And Albert,

Speaker 2:

no, there's some of those, you know, little things you can do to gain an edge or advantage. You're young, you know, you don't need to belong to a service.

Speaker 3:

Oh, it's going to cost $5,000 a year, saved your money,

Speaker 2:

talk to your head coach, you know, figure out ways to DM. Every coach in the country now is on twitter or their staff or they're recruiting people are on twitter. Send it directly to that. You know, when you, when you turned 16 or 17, you've had conversations with coaches, your coaches, you should feel comfortable. Comfortable. My job is to watch film. That's part of my job is to watch film of high school students. The Monday, the first Monday in February. Just what I'm doing. I'm watching junior film over with our seniors. I am watching film and in the month of February, I mean I just looked at it. I watched, I watched over 600 film.

Speaker 3:

Now that's not the county, that's just the ones that are in my, in our database.

Speaker 2:

I probably watched another 300, they were sent to me directly. So unreal. It is dirty. You're, you're, you're a prospect. Communicate. Don't, don't ever ever say coach might be busy. No Bush might be watching somebody else that you're better than but doesn't know about you. They might offer that other person, you know, in terms of that. So don't you know, now's the time to do that.

Isaac Serwanga:

I just wanted high school student athletes, high school parents. I just want to quickly summarize the golden nugget that we just heard. This is a college football head coach, twitter huddle.com, h u d l Dot Com. Twitter.com. You have to get aggressive. Put your stuff out there, but at the same time, and correct me if I'm wrong, coach, it's a double edge sword, meaning that you want to make sure you're putting out positive content and watch out for the bad stuff, right? Keep, keep the bad stuff and the jokes to, uh, to, uh, to a limit.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, absolutely. Be the best version of you. You know, we deal with such, you know all your buddies. Yeah. You guys had some fun and tell jokes, but when you're, when you're putting something on twitter that stays forever and when it's, when it's written, when it's written, not everybody knows that you are meant as a joke, right? They didn't know you meant it to be funny, and so when it's written, it can be interpreted many ways. So when you write something on twitter, you put that out, you know that, that, that could be interpreted different ways. So just, you know, just read through your stuff before you send it out to the world. Just just take a, you know, just take a second and just is this, is this me? Is this the best version of me

Isaac Serwanga:

which leads me. This is a question that I have been dying to ask you. It's more so a statement, but it's a true or false and I would love for you to kind of expound a high, high recruit right? In California, the statement is if I want to play in the NFL, I have to play at the top schools, football schools in the country. Right? In other words, there's no way. There's absolutely no way I can go to the ivy league and get exposure to play at the next level to referrals.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, that's absolutely false. And I coached in the NFL and I was the assistant align coach. So the coach, you know, he was looking at certain guys very often I was going to schools, Ivy League schools included that were mid majors let's say, and you just look at the nfl, like the quarterback position, the cream of the crop, you know right down the road from you. Jimmy Garappolo played fcs football. He just signed a contract for an annuity.

Isaac Serwanga:

Unbelievable amount of money.

Speaker 2:

Joe Flacco at one point was the highest paid quarterback in the country and in the NFL and you know Carson Wentz was the second pick of the draft. This is just the quarterback position, the Tony Romo's. You go on and on and on and recent history and that's one position. And then you look when you actually asked the question, the Ivy League and two of your teammates, my cat soprano, Ron Reed were drafted, played in the nfl, started in the NFL Cron, still playing in the NFL.

Isaac Serwanga:

The valve, the valve as well as my teammates.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. Who starting your other, you know, starting in the nfl, you know currently. So you know that the nfl is going to find you if you're good enough. I think what our athletes, when they, when they, when we recruit them and the, there's now a development plan in place where if somebody is good enough and they, you know, you got to stay healthy, right? Somebody is good enough, they're going to have those opportunities. And that's, that's awesome. The great news is if they don't stay healthy enough or something goes wrong along the way, they're going to have opportunities outside of football and they're going to graduate or you know, and do all those things in there. We have opportunities of football that these are, this is a coach speak, these are looking at our history over the last eight years. Guys getting jobs. But uh, guys also that are good enough getting into nfl camps, getting drafted, making teams. And you know, I think our league as a whole has done a phenomenal job with that. And you know, I think we have a possibility for a guy who was a California top player who has a chance this year to get drafted or quarterback Chad enough as a legitimate chance and you know, we have four juniors that NFL teams, we won't, we won't have a practice next year without an nfl scout at because for juniors that are all legitimate candidates.

Isaac Serwanga:

Wow. Me To another question which is, and you tapped on it a little bit, but the idea of a four year decision versus a 40 year decision, something that I've heard over and over again and I would love for you to kind of explain that thought process and what that means when a high schooler is a junior senior getting ready to make that next step and kind of what, what college represents when they make that decision.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. I just love having gone through recruiting how smart the young men that I get to recruit are as far as making these decisions and knowing what, what meets their goals. And you know, my, my son, when he was 10, it was who's on national TV, how big the stage and how much, how much do I get worship for those four years and not, not, you know, when you're that age, knowing that there's a good chance after four years, whether you win the national championship or you don't get to a bowl game, your kick to the curb and you're not really an alum, you're not a member of any group. Everybody in the Ivy League, you're a member of the Ivy League. You remember that group, every member of Princeton, the plate. Football's a member of the Princeton Football Association and we have get togethers and events and we get, you know, we have so much fun together as a group. It's kind of an honor and privilege to be part of that group. And that's what the 40 years about that. Let's take pride in whether you become a football coach, you become a motivational speaker, you become a doctor, a lawyer, a Wall Street commercial, real estate, whatever that is. Take Pride in being the best at that in that field that you possibly can be and you know, whatever it is, supporting your family, whatever your goals and dreams are, you know, make a difference. And I think we all kind of hold hands here at Princeton that we leave here. We're going to find ways to make a difference. It doesn't mean we're not going to earn livings. It doesn't mean we're not going to try to be as successful as we possibly can be, but we're going to look forward to making a difference. And when I look at 40 years and Gosh, you say that and

Speaker 3:

you know, I'm like, Oh, I've got 10 years. Hire to retire in seven years.

Speaker 2:

Make me feel a little bit. But when you look at that, it is. Think about the longterm, you know, when you make a college decision. I say this all the time, hopefully in life you only get married two times, once is to your wife and then the other times to your school. Because when you pick the right school, you're marrying at school, you're forever associated with, you know, Bob's race, Princeton University, now it's head coach for the university alum university, Isaac's Rwanda, Princeton University, three sport athlete, all the things you're doing academically, football, all those things that you do in your life. It's going to say somewhere in there, Princeton University, and you're going to come back to reunions. You're going to come back to other events. We do an event in northern California. You're going to be at an event when your friends are getting together and they're going to say, hey, over this break, you know, we'd been out 10 years. Let's all go to Vegas and or let's all go to Florida. Let's all get together in these mini groups. Subgroups. It's almost always your teammates that you're getting together with. You played on three teams, so there's not a student at Princeton.

Speaker 3:

I don't think that you've had as a pma. So only half the school was your teammates. For years. I'm serious. Four hundred 10.

Speaker 2:

You know, the real estate part of it is that you married a school and you know, I'm out 30 years and you know, you talk about, you know, the friendships, you talk about all those things. I'm married to Princeton, you know, and you want it to be for better, right? For better or for worse. We all go through a journey and have her ups and downs, but when it comes to that part of your college marriage, you want it to be for better. You want it to be. I had this great experience that I know Princeton has a 20 plus billion dollar endowment I want to give back and it doesn't have to be financial. It can be in so many other ways, but I want to give back because I valued my time and experience and friendships and athletics or whatever other niche you had at that school

Isaac Serwanga:

to that point of being married to your school. You get married, you get married twice in life. One is to your college and the other is to your spouse and I think this conversation is. It is a demonstration of that, right? Hey coach, I want to do a podcast, I want to, you know, try to inform and inspire the youth in California and make sure that high school parents know exactly, you know, they're informed in the right way so that they can help support their kids who are following their dreams and you know, I give you that. I, I literally send you an email and I get an email back with three letters and it's just like, yes, let's do it right. And that's just a, an amazing testament to I think the relationships that are built through college athletics and obviously there's a, there's an incredible special bond there in the, in the, in the orange bubble.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. No, and I say I'm down the hallway and people were talking about you're a Ted talk and I hadn't seen it. I missed it, whatever. I hadn't seen it. And I literally go back to my desk and put that thing on. You're watching it in knew the 20 year old version of you. Right. And I knew the one who went through this struggle and then I knew the 24 year old version, the one who's giving back to the athletes here and it's with this immense pride that you have, you know, with that man, you know, parents, whether you're from Sacramento, whether you're from Cincinnati, Ohio, whether you're from southern New Jersey and you're only an hour away from your college. The parents drop their kids and their kids when you drop them off to college at a school like an Ivy League school, you go to a school like us, we're getting the best kids in the world are still kids in so many aspects. But there was a bet on that and four years later you hope to see them grow and grow into young adults. You know that way. And I just love that part. I mean, coaching college, I love that part of the process. Seeing an 18 year old struggle as a freshman through all those things that I went through and tried to find a way, know meeting new friends and people from all over and all those things. Kids thrive is juniors and seniors and then they graduate and you got to find yourself all over again. Well, you've been through it once, you've been through that struggle once and you know how to better adapt to it and now I get to see you guys come back to you know, an event and I'm like, man, it's so awesome seeing you guys, you know, you do a Ted talk and just crush it. There's no way the 18 year old version, because I had to do one year old version of me and knowing you the diversity here, we weren't ready for that. Absolutely not, but we think we've been given the tools and we've worked hard, you know, to put ourselves in position to do something, something like that. And that's, you know, that's pretty awesome because not everybody gets that opportunity.

Isaac Serwanga:

Coach, thank you so much. I think it's funny the first of all, we're now ted brothers. I guess that's the community we are, which is a beautiful thing, a new community, but on a serious note, I just had to throw this out on a personal note that your, the way in which I don't know if I've said this, but I think the, so I, you know, obviously I went to Princeton, graduated, but had that couple years when I went back and worked in administration there and be, to be honest, I think our relationship actually grew more after I graduated because I was able to see the way in which you communicated and connected with like everyone in the department and uh, the way in which you build personal connections. I'll be personal personally honest with you. I tried to mimic that mirror that because it's so genuine and it's so. It's just real. And when you make real connections like that, they last for a really long time. And being a coach and seeing thousands, literally thousands of young men go through your program. I can only imagine how much impact you've had that spread virtually across this globe. And that's not, that's not an overstatement, but what I do want to say, you're someone who absolutely inspires me, which is why I have you first on this podcast. I would love to end by asking you a couple of questions. The first is inform and inspire. So what informs you? Virtually information that is coming your way, books that you're reading, Ted talks that you're watching, it can be from your son, whoever that is. And the second question is who inspires you? Because you inspire so many of your have people around you, your staff, the players that play for you that have graduated and that are there now. So who inspires you and keeps you motivated to keep doing the incredible job that you're doing. So two fold there. Two full question.

Speaker 2:

You've been in my office and I love to read leadership books and I constantly reached out and I see a friend of mine who's in a leadership position. Sometimes they're busy, they're not able to read books. I get, you know, in the fall where I don't get a lot of opportunities to do that. And I do love doing that. And, you know, I remember Doug Gross gone, you know, dove and you know, I, I was talking about giving back and how can I do a better job getting back to the community, not just the players are just individuals or things like that. And he wrote, he gave me, he's like, you gotta read this book, Give and take. And I just recently read that I was like, this is an awesome book, you know, in terms of that and I need to set a better example for you guys. Then it's not just giving back in some ways where you're touching and building relationships, but, but it's giving back to the broader community that way. And I always admired Marvin Louis working with Marvin and Marvin gave back and raised, you know, so many things about the education in Cincinnati.

Isaac Serwanga:

People

Speaker 2:

when use that word inspired people that way. And um, I just gave talk to all the captains at Princeton, you know, we're having Jason Gallucci, you all these leadership talks. And mine was on, you know, on a, on communication. And I talked about the book radical candor. My wife is her eyes. You see she's associate head of school, the Princeton Day school and she's constantly filled with leadership type things and so it's in the educational fields and just, you know, talking about having conversations and communicating, you know, in a way that is authentic and it's got to be that way because when you're 18, when I was 18 I was very cynical and a lot of way. And so, you know, you always look at things as you really mean this or he.

Speaker 3:

Yeah.

Speaker 2:

And you know, at the end of the day, making sure that the things you're talking about, you're having real conversations and you know, and how you communicate is so important. And I do love to read those things and I, I literally send an email to the guys whenever possible. I said that went out this morning on Steph curry. There was an espn article on Steph Corinne. His leadership. He's not a, he's not a leader that is, you know, vocal in a way that's outgoing. It's, he leads by example, but he picks and chooses moments. I know we have guys on our team that are very similar and how they'd like to lead, but they didn't know that was a possibility and so whenever I do that, I probably sent in my last five or six years to 100 emails a year to our guys that have leadership components to it and it's all information. I get current news and it's all current things that I see that I think that they'll relate to that a 20 year old will relate to and make them better and at worst cases pick them up during that day and make them feel better about, you know, it's a Tuesday and the middle of March, you know, maybe that just picks them up and I didn't do that. I wish I did when you were here because I think that's really connected the players and had a great bond with them. And the end of the day what inspires me is you guys, you know, it's, it's my family. It's, you know, when you go to work and you pass the heisman trophy, you pass pictures of. Correct.

Speaker 3:

Read the valve and you know,

Speaker 2:

the tradition and there's current and you pass the other athletes that you know are in this school. You know, that you have this responsibility to lead and to, you know, I can't, I can have the worst day I could drive in, get a ticket for speeding, I could, you know, uh, something I, I step into

Speaker 3:

whatever I can cut the end of the day. By the time I started my staff meeting, I got to be on, right? I got to be able to lead, got to be able to communicate

Speaker 2:

and I got to set the tone for what that day is going to be like for the coaches, the assistant coaches for the team. So today it's easier to look, test everybody's fired up,

Speaker 3:

right? Everybody's fired up, but practice, practice 18 and camp. Everybody's like, what is this over? And the other day

Speaker 2:

fires me. Is this responsibility that if I can come every day with a, with a great attitude that's going to filter in, it's contagious. This passion, enthusiasm or engages and no matter what struggles a guys going through, girlfriend, things at home, classes, job, all the things that hit you when you're 18 to 22, what your future holds, what, where you're at on the depth chart, all those things. If you go with a good attitude, that becomes contagious and everybody around you, you just lost a game. You pick things up right away and you're in it together and you bond with people. And the other day, that's what we remember about the journey. You know, the bottom, we had the journey we took together, you know, the fun times. We're not going to remember,

Speaker 3:

you know, uh, the fourth down that I should have punted. We're not gonna. Remember the time that you know, that, you know, the quarterback over through you or whatever, you know,

Speaker 2:

we're not gonna. Remember those things. We're going to remember the journey and we're going to remember going to the beach as a team and do other things that were, you know, that we got to experience and those things will, will, will take with this for the rest of our lives.

Isaac Serwanga:

I agree a hundred percent. That's powerful. Coach, I want to thank you so much for spending this hour with me and our audience and dropping these incredible nuggets from everywhere from social media and how high schoolers should take advantage of that to the tradition of Princeton University. Don't have to be a four point, oh, GPA, 1600 sat student to play in the Ivy League. They're looking for balance and looking for great students both on and off the field, which a tremendous things to do regardless of what schools you're looking at. I would love to end in just a little nugget, a message for high school parents who are parents of high school student athletes and really just want to support their son or their daughter in any way, shape or form. Right now as a, as a, as a d, One college head coach, football coach. What advice could you leave them with?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, and I was never as good a basketball player you, but I love basketball.

Speaker 3:

Wow.

Speaker 2:

I started out six years. Joel embiid

Speaker 3:

trust the process. Trust, you know, because it. It can be

Speaker 2:

spent all your time. Is this seat and my son at Camp is this coach, you know, he didn't respond to my emails in 17 seconds, just trust the process and if it's two days send an email again because sometimes they do get lost in the shuffle, you know, don't be afraid to communicate. Right. That's our job. So when, when you get a new sat score and you need advice or financial aid or whatever that is, don't be afraid to communicate, you know, new new video. Hey are your mid season highlights just came up. Don't be afraid to communicate. It's some point. It's important to let the coaches know, hey, you're my number one school. Where are we at in the process? I'd like to make my decision before my seasons starts. I like to make my decision before December first. I'd like to make my decision at the end of January, but, but you know, it's a two way street and at the end of the day I try to ask those questions and get those, but I don't always get those questions answered. And so don't be afraid to just, you know, let, let the coaches know, this is where, hey, I got my number four choices, squeezing me. They want me to make a decision, am I still a possibility? Uh, it's so and so school. I still possibility, for instance, having a conversation with the coach because they might say, look, hey, you're third on our list. You know, maybe this could work out, but I, you know, I had a conversation one time, you know, hey, right now I think you have to seriously consider that offer because it's unlikely you'll get to our school or you know, what we're going to watch your film, Hey, give us your film from this week's game will let you know on Monday. But we wanted to get six games in and right now, you know, we wanted to get enough a video to see how you've developed. So don't be afraid to do those things. Communicate and you know, coaches and aren't willing to communicate back. And you know, you have to win to have a relationship.

Isaac Serwanga:

Are the end of the day. And trust the process. Trust the process. That's social media, it

Speaker 2:

our big sixers fan. I grew up at six or seven, so know we go as far as it needs to take.

Isaac Serwanga:

Awesome. Coach. Thank you so, so much for your time. I greatly appreciate it. I look forward to seeing you come reunions unions in May, for instance, reunions in May and thank you again.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, you're playing in the alumni game.

Isaac Serwanga:

Oh Man. Let me stretch you out. Let me work on it right now and then dominated by both ways. I see you're getting interception. He plays both ways. It's good to every. Every year it gets a little bit more difficult. Coach, thank you so much.

Speaker 2:

I got you thank you so much for having me.

Isaac Serwanga:

Fellows, ladies, old people and babies. Thank you for tuning in. This has been the inform and inspire podcast. I hope you got a wealth of information today, high school student athletes, attention high school student athletes, high school parents. There's some nuggets in here for you, so please tune in. Thank you for tuning in. Until next time, my name is Isaac Serwanga. We'll see you.