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Koopa
01-25-2007, 01:33 AM
Getting right people on staff No. 1 priority

Thursday, January 25, 2007
By Gerry Dulac, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

MOBILE, Ala. -- Gray clouds and a light drizzle conspired to darken the sky over Ladd-Peebles Stadium, where National Football League coaches -- most employed, others out of work -- gathered for another day of shopping, networking and scouting college players.

With the temperature lurking in the 40s, coaches of high visibility were not readily recognizable, some wearing knit caps, others hunched behind turned-up collars. Then, there was Mike Tomlin.

Wearing an unbuttoned brown jacket with a gold V-neck sweater, the new Steelers coach looked the part of a man who had grown accustomed to the harsh winter of Minnesota, where he coached last season. He was not bothered by the unseasonable temperature, not at all.

Perhaps, it was all the body heat being generated from having his back slapped. Or his body embraced. Or his hand pumped.

"We could barely get into the stadium," said Steelers director of football operations Kevin Colbert. "Everyone wanted to talk to him."

It is all a new experience for Tomlin.

For the past six years, he came to the Senior Bowl practices to scout players. Now, though, he is here to scout potential coaches, conduct interviews, assemble a staff. And watch a few snaps.

Essentially, his phone has not stopped ringing since he arrived Tuesday afternoon. Coaches come over to say hello, offer congratulations. Others come over, presenting a verbal resume, letting him know they are interested in employment. He is a human flea market, attracting the curious and the jobless.

And he doesn't mind.

"I really appreciate that people are excited for the opportunity I have," Tomlin said. "But it's tough at the same time because you understand there are a lot of men who come to this event looking for work. It's part of our business. You can't begrudge them for trying to seek employment.

"Of course, you say a lot of times, you can't accommodate a lot of people. Shoot, I can't accommodate most people. You just have to come to grips with that. It's OK. I'm dealing with people in an upfront matter and shooting straight bullets in that regard. That's one of the tough parts of the business, but you got to accept the good with the bad."

He needs to hire a wide receivers coach to replace Bruce Arians, who was promoted to offensive coordinator; an offensive line coach to replace Russ Grimm, who joined the Arizona Cardinals; a running backs coach to replace Dick Hoak, who retired; and a special teams coach to replace Kevin Spencer, who also went to Arizona to join new Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt.

He may also need another secondary coach to replace Darren Perry, who was not retained. Otherwise, he has told all the other assistants from Bill Cowher's staff they will be retained, the first step in his new role as Steelers coach.

"The more quickly we can assemble a staff, the quicker we can get about the business of doing what we need to do," Tomlin said yesterday, sitting underneath the stands after practice. "But, at the same time, we can't have a timetable in terms of doing that. We have to be methodical at assembling a staff because that's important. It's the people.

"Bruce will lead the offense and Dick [LeBeau] will lead the defense. Quite a few of the guys are going to be retained because I believe they're good people and I know they're good coaches."

Asked if continuity was the reason, Tomlin said, "Continuity is a factor, but not the deciding factor."

He used Arians as an example.

"I've known Bruce through mutual friends for a long time. I respect what he does, how he approaches the game. I think we're kindred spirits in that he has a wide, varied background. He's been in a position of leadership. He's been a head coach at the college level. He's coached Peyton Manning. He's been an offensive coordinator. There are a lot of reasons why. First and foremost, he's a solid individual and has good football values."

That appears to be a recurring theme with Tomlin, a defining fiber that was crafted in one season with working under Tony Dungy in Tampa Bay. He has been called a teacher, great communicator and highly principled by Detroit Lions coach Rod Marinelli, who coached with him in Tampa Bay. His former college coach, Jimmye Laycock, said he has an innate ability to talk to coaches and/or players and get them to do what he wants to do.

It is a message Tomlin likes to deliver, whether to an assistant coach seeking employment at the Senior Bowl or to his young quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger.

Tomlin has not met Roethlisberger, but he talked with him by phone the other day.

"I told him, the big thing, in order for us to be uniquely successful, we have to have unique relationships," Tomlin said. "That's not something that's going to happen today or tomorrow. We cannot rush that process. We have to move forward. Along the way, understand we're going to get to know each other. If we let our veneer down and be unselfish, it can be special. That was my message to him.

"That's going to be my message to everyone I talk to."

Tomlin's determination is crystallized in his eyes, and his passion bears the look of a man much older than 34. What's more, he describes himself as a man who "has to be measured," a competitor who said he enjoys what "Sunday brings."

"There's a winner, there's a loser," Tomlin said. "You get measured against your peers. You compete, you move on."

And, yet, for all that, Tomlin said he is a coach who does not get too enamored with his job, even though he has one of just 32 in the country.

"It's what I do, it's not who I am," said Tomlin, a married father of three. "I hope I always keep that perspective. "This is something I constantly remind myself: Do I love this job? Absolutely. Am I passionate about this job, this business? Absolutely. But it's simply what I do."

Tomlin was planning to leave today to return to Minnesota, get his family and house organized, and return to Pittsburgh Sunday.

He is no longer an assistant coach. He is head coach of a franchise that has five Super Bowl trophies in the hallway of its office complex. When he returns to the South Side, he will start to evaluate players on his roster and he will need to get the team back to the Super Bowl.

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07025/756684-66.stm

Steelersfan
01-25-2007, 01:43 AM
Does this sound a lot like the Rooneys when they were searching for a coach?


"The more quickly we can assemble a staff, the quicker we can get about the business of doing what we need to do," Tomlin said yesterday, sitting underneath the stands after practice. "But, at the same time, we can't have a timetable in terms of doing that. We have to be methodical at assembling a staff because that's important. It's the people.

SteelersfaninPhilly
01-25-2007, 02:27 AM
Yes it does.

DIESELMAN
01-25-2007, 03:15 AM
Tomlin has not met Roethlisberger, but he talked with him by phone the other day.

"I told him, the big thing, in order for us to be uniquely successful, we have to have unique relationships," Tomlin said. "That's not something that's going to happen today or tomorrow. We cannot rush that process. We have to move forward. Along the way, understand we're going to get to know each other. If we let our veneer down and be unselfish, it can be special. That was my message to him.
[QUOTE]"That's going to be my message to everyone I talk to."

Tomlin's determination is crystallized in his eyes, and his passion bears the look of a man much older than 34. What's more, he describes himself as a man who "has to be measured," a competitor who said he enjoys what "Sunday brings."


I like what Tomlin is saying and what he brings to the Steelers. This man is on a mission he will not accept anything less then 100%. Whoever doesn't give him a chance or doesn't want to get with his "program" better hit the road. Sounds like hes got his act together.

BBG7
01-25-2007, 11:32 AM
It will be interesting to see how the players respond to someone other than Cowher. I really think once things get rolling though, the players will love him. His players in Minnesota talked very highly of him.

AZ_Steeler
01-25-2007, 11:34 AM
Tomlin is really embracing his new job and I really like how he is handling himself. Thanks for the post Koopa great read!

House of Steel
01-25-2007, 12:06 PM
I think he realizes what a big job this is and what an honor it is to continue the success of a championship organization that has the best owners in the NFL, and the respect of the league. I am darn sure the players will embrace him with respect and honor. They better work their tails off at Training Camp.

BlitzburghRockCity
01-25-2007, 12:22 PM
That's one of the big reasons he got the job, his attitude towards football and his players, his ability to work through situations to achieve a positive result, and his willingness to wait and find the right person for the job without rushing into something..besides his obvious credentials but for Tomlin his intagibles gave him the edge.

Stairwayto7
01-25-2007, 04:11 PM
I like what Tomlin is saying and what he brings to the Steelers. This man is on a mission he will not accept anything less then 100%. Whoever doesn't give him a chance or doesn't want to get with his "program" better hit the road. Sounds like hes got his act together.
__________________

Sounds pretty good toooo!

rainman
01-25-2007, 05:46 PM
I think Tomlin is going to be a perfect fit with the Steelers and I feel he is on a mission, a mission we all hope he achieves!

BBG7
01-25-2007, 10:29 PM
I truely believe he will settle for nothing but the best!!!

TampaSteelGirl
01-26-2007, 12:50 PM
I'm excited to see what this new coach will do and I think he's a great fit. I think he has all the qualities we are looking for in the Steeler family. I think we will be successful with him. :tt02: