Friday, December 12, 2008

Competition is what drives all of us

Like Nick Saban at Alabama and Tony Sparano in Miami, Ken Whisenhunt "has succeeded where so many others have failed. He built a playoff team in Arizona, transforming an NFL wasteland into an NFC West champion in just two seasons."

As outlined in this story, Coach Wisenhunt has an interesting back story.

A walk-on at Georgia Tech back in the '80s, he went on to become the school's second all-time leading receiver in yards. He played for nearly a decade in the NFL despite being the 313th pick (of 336) in the draft.

That underdog, overachieving mentality has shaped his coaching philosophy:

"I always had to make the team, I always had to work to play," he said, "and part of that is my philosophy about how we treat our team. You have to earn the right to play. A lot of it is based on how they perform in practice and what you see out of them in their preparation and any competitive situations that they're in. Competition is what drives all of us, and what these players really thrive on."

During the course of his coaching career, he's worked for Dan Henning, Joe Gibbs and Bill Cowher. "I've taken something from all of them," he said. "[They] shape[d] a lot of things that I think and react to."

Says QB Kurt Warner (pictured above with Coach Whisenhunt):

"A quiet confidence is I think what he's brought to this team more than anything. He showed us very early on that he believed in us, that he believed in this organization and what we could accomplish. Players and the organization might not have believed it, but he brought it in and believed it from day one, and slowly it starts to seep in, and guys start to believe it and then you take it to the field, and it starts to show up on the field."