How the devil are you?
I'm having fun. I've always said the way to have fun in coaching is by winning, so we'll see how much fun we will have.
What do you enjoy most about coaching?
All through when I first got into coaching, it's about helping a player get into position to succeed. Everything I do has that intent. Probably every coach would respond the same way. It's their job to put the players who are responsible for winning in a position to succeed.
What do you miss about playing?
It's a long time ago, unfortunately. I really don't miss it. I enjoyed the playing days. I would have a different feeling if I wasn't coaching. You get a lot of the things you enjoy as a player as a coach. Game day is a special day for a player, but it's also a special day for a coach.
What is your greatest memory from playing?
There is a lot of memories. I can't just pick out one. I was thankful I got the chance to play in high school, college and the professional ranks.
What's your favourite movie?
The Good, Bad and the Ugly with Clint Eastwood, Eli Wallach and the guy who played Angel Eyes (Lee Van Cleef).
What did you learn from your first CFL coaching stint that you can use now?
I learned a lot being on Wally (Buono's) staff about the organization of a football team, about accountability, how to put the program together and the timing and schedules, going from the off-season through training camp, regular season and hopefully the playoffs. It was a great learning experience for me. Obviously Wally is successful for a reason, and I was fortunate to work for him for those years.
Are coaches you worked for mentors in a way?
Yes, I learned from all of them. Anybody who works as a coach and has different head coaches benefits from all the coaches they work for. I have.
You have a Canadian flag in your yard in Jacksonville. How come?
When I signed on, Penny (my wife) and I were up here for the press conference and then we went back. We had a Penn State flag flying, but we bought a Canadian one. We were thrilled about being back in Canada. My kids were all born in Canada and Penny and I are landed immigrants.
What's the key to being successful in football?
You need good players and need to put them in position to succeed. You have to let them succeed on the field but also off the field. One overlaps the other.
You were in the CFL when it went to the U.S. How come it didn't catch on there?
It's hard for people to adapt to something novel and new. It took the Arena League a long time to etch just a little position in the market. The CFL didn't have a long enough duration in the U.S. to find its niche in the sports world. Had it survived a few more years, maybe it would have been successful. The owners, I recall, didn't have it happening for them and teams were folding. The Arena League survived, but only after 10 or so years of struggling. They aren't making wads of money, but they are existing. If the CFL was able to hang in there, it may have found its same niche.
Do you find the same passion for football in Canada that you do in the U.S.?
The passion is there. There isn't as many of them. My eyes were opened by Tony Spoletini and Greg Peterson, who head up amateur football here, because they are on a mission to raise money to enhance the Shouldice Fields. The amount of young players in Calgary and how it's growing each year is a true indication for the passion for football.
What do you do to relax?
Fish and golf. I'm a better fisherman than a golfer. I enjoy all types of fishing, but I will be doing some trout fishing in the Bow River. I don't get to do it now much, but when I'm not working and the weather is doable, I'll be doing one of those two things. I'm not pleased if I'm just out there casting. I enjoy catching and releasing, then trying to do that over again. I live on a golf course in Jacksonville. In my sabbatical, I did it more than in my recent history. I actually got worse. Usually, it's a vacation type of thing.
Who is the greatest player in CFL history?
I happened to coach him (Doug Flutie). I was fortunate to be around a lot of great players, but Doug is at the top of that list. His drive to succeed was exceptional and it didn't matter what game it was. He was giving his all. Anything he pursues, he wants to be the best at it.