Josh McDaniels has been in the headlines a lot lately at both the local level and the national level. Just this morning, Outside the Lines featured a different side of him. Whenever I see McD, there’s sort of this halo of success hovering above his head. He’s 33 years old, secured a head coaching position at the highest level and has coaching experience with Bill Belichick’s Patriots. Most 33 year-olds I know are still trying to find their niche both personally and professionally.
Outside the Lines looked at some of the experiences that have shaped him as a person and as a coach. His father was a dedicated high school coach in Ohio where McD took a keen interest in coaching. As a 4 year-old, McD attended two-a-days with his father. In fact, Thom McDaniels threatened his son with not attending practices if he misbehaved. McD said this about the possibility of not going to practice:
“I was a very good young boy growing up because that’s the only thing I cared about doing at that point was I’m not doing anything that jeopardizes my opportunity to go to two-a-days.”
McDaniels went on to play QB for his father’s high school team. Describing his time as a QB, he says,
“Not a tremendous physical specimen, but I felt like I knew how to lead, I felt like I had an opportunity to out-think somebody, and help out team win, and I tried to do that every time I was out there.”
Thom McDaniels said he gave his son a lot of freedom to make decisions as QB.
“Quite often, we’d call two plays in the huddle and let him make a decision at the line of scrimmage based on what he saw about which play to run, and the more confident he got, the more willing he was to make suggestions.”
Josh McDaniels was also the kicker on his high school team. After missing a game winning field goal in overtime in a game that was the 100th meeting between two rivaled Ohio high schools, McD said he learned a lot from that experience.
He took an entry level coaching position under Nick Saban at Michigan State before taking on the large task of working under Belichick. Belichick thinks very highly of McD saying,
“Josh is smart, and he’s one of those people that can handle a lot of tasks at once. You give him ten things to do and he seems like he’s right on top of all of them, and then you throw a couple more on there, and it doesn’t faze him.”
McD said Belichick challenged him more and more every year he was with the Patriots, and that’s why he feels like he’s able to take on the role as the Broncos head coach.
A lesson he took from Belichick about adversity: Find a way to win. Period. That motto should serve him well as the season begins.