In case you missed our interview with Navy head coach Ken Niumatalolo from this morning, we touched on the subject of work-life balance that every coach battles. We thought his outlook was fantastic.
"I've always thought, if you're monitoring your players 24 hours a day, who's monitoring your own family? Who's watching your own kids? I make sure that we're not burning the midnight oil here," he said. "I feel like we can be efficient in our work hours here. We're probably more of an early morning staff, guys get here a little bit earlier but I want guys to go home after practice. I want them to go home and see their families."
Contrast that with the answer Shelley Meyer gave when asked virtually the same question at the Chick-fil-A Bowl Golf Challenge this summer. Remember, this is Ohio State, I-signed-a-contract-with-my-family Urban Meyer, not Florida, resign-due-to-exhaustion Urban Meyer.
"Sunday through Wednesday he works a lot," Meyer's wife said. "He's gone by 6 a.m. and not home until 10 or 10:30 at night. Thursday is family night. We see the players, and all the wives and children go to practice. We see our husbands that night, they get to go home early. Friday, he's in the hotel with the team. I don't see him until Saturday after the game. So we have one evening together - if we have a day game."
Taking a closer look at that contract, in which Meyer gave himself a passing grade at the end of last season, Point No. 4 states, "I will not go more than nine hours a day at the office."
At the bottom line of a bottom line business, of course, Meyer posted a 12-0 season at Ohio State, won two national championships at Florida and completed another undefeated season at Utah. Niumatalolo has been undoubtedly successful, but not to that level.
"I go to conventions all the time and I hear all these coaches talk about some of the regrets they've had in their careers, and these are all great coaches that have accomplished a lot of great things, and a lot of them mention, 'I wish I'd spent more time with my family.' I don't want that regret," said Niumatalolo added. "I'd rather at the end of the day look yourself in the mirror and be like, 'You know what? I was able to be a father and a husband.'"
It's not our place to critique how a coach runs his program or how a man runs his family. But it is interesting to see the two differing perspectives when examined against each other.