Back on Thursday, the New York Giants announced that they were parting ways with tight ends coach Mike Pope after 23 seasons with the team.
At 71 years old, most coaches are more than ready to hang up their whistle, but as Pope told Peter King in his Monday Morning Quarterback column, coaching is what inspires him.
“This is my drug, trying to make players better every day is what inspires me."
"Everyone’s got their own way to live on this planet and their own jobs to figure out, and mine is to coach football players. I have listened to people in this business say, ‘Ten years to retirement,’ or however many years, and I think, 'That’s not me. That will never be me.’“
In coaching circles Pope is well known for his quirky drills (like dunking balls in buckets of water before drills, or having players walk out from a pitch black shed onto a lighted practice field as he threw a ball at them). The drills worked quite well, as Pope took tight ends drafted in the late rounds and molded them into guys who could contribute in the Giants' system.
“I had 368 of those drills at one time," Pope explained. "Players learn in different ways, with different drills, and there’s more than one way to accomplish what you want.
"Drills should match what players are going to experience in games. There has to be a reason for everything you do. If Tiger Woods is going to spend one hour practicing three-foot putts, he is trying to refine and perfect some technique, and you have to respect that.”
That's some excellent advice for coaches looking to find the same kind of longevity that Pope has experienced in this great profession.