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Mike Tomlin Reveals Best Advice He Got in His Career




From Hall of Famers Tony Dungy and Dick LeBeau to Monte Kiffin, Jon Gruden and Bruce Arians. Mike Tomlin has been around a lot of legendary coaches in his career. However, the best career advice that he ever received came from former Buccaneers defensive line coach Rod Marinelli. Tomlin said as much on a recent episode of the L3 Leadership Podcast with Doug Smith.

“There is an old coach that I worked with Rob Marinelli,” Tomlin said when asked who gave him the best career advice. “He was a defensive line coach in Tampa when I was a secondary coach. He went on to be the head coach of the Lions for a number of years. You know, he always equated what we do to teaching. He was an education major in college and he talked about the profession of coaching being a teaching one. And there’s an art to it and that we prepare for each day the way that a teacher prepares. Meaning there’s a lesson plan and there’s preparedness.”

Tomlin felt like he always had a talent for teaching and coaching, but Marinelli made him respect the inner details of the profession.

“When I think about coaching, oftentimes you do things innately. Interactions with people, the caring about people, the giving of your time and space and experience to others. But I also think there’s a formality to it that shows respect for what’s going on from a preparedness standpoint,” Tomlin said. “I always thought that I had a heart for teaching and coaching. He made me respect the professional component of the vocation. The preparedness required to maximize the opportunity to capture the audience. And it resonated with me because he took that analogy of teaching and a lesson plan and the things that teachers do from a preparedness standpoint to maximize the time to capture the audience. It took my appreciation for what we do to another level and it allowed me to hone my skills in that area more intentionally.”

Marinelli’s wisdom passed down to Tomlin goes outside of just football, too.

“And really I kind of apply it to everything. To being a dad. You know, just about every component of my life I try to formalize it,” Tomlin said. “The things that I might do innately, I don’t seek comfort in that. I just try to prepare and organize in an effort to maximize.”

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