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Thread: Coach Mike Tomlin hungry for next title

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    Default Coach Mike Tomlin hungry for next title

    Coach Mike Tomlin hungry for next title
    Going for 2nd Super Bowl in 4 years
    By John Harvey
    Modified: Saturday, January 29, 2011
    Originally Published:
    Saturday, January 29, 2011 2:09 AM EST
    WILLIAMSBURG — In the locker room after last week’s AFC Championship game, the Pittsburgh Steelers were looking toward the Super Bowl. Head coach Mike Tomlin was thinking about Paul’s Deli.

    “I wish I had a hot Holly, LOL,” Tomlin wrote in reply to a congratulatory text message from Pete Tsipas, owner of Paul’s. Tomlin worked at the popular restaurant during his college days at William & Mary, and the friendship between Tsipas and Tomlin remains strong to this day.

    Tomlin is praised around the NFL for leadership qualities beyond his 39 years. He’s brutally honest and demands much of his players. Those qualities have him coaching in Super Bowl XLV, his second trip to pro football’s championship in his four years as head coach of the Steelers.

    Tsipas got a firsthand view of Tomlin’s work nearly two decades ago when Tomlin worked at Paul’s Deli.

    “Michael is truly a special man,” Tsipas said in an interview on Friday. “He was a strong personality, but was always honest and very down to earth. Guys like that, you give them a chance.”

    Tomlin grew up in Newport News and passed on scholarships from several Ivy League colleges to play at W&M. A three-year starter at wide receiver, he finished with 101 receptions for 2,046 yards and 20 touchdown catches. 20 ranks fourth in Tribe history.

    “Mike was a good player, but his only chance to make the pro game was as a coach, not as a player. I tell him that all the time,” W&M coach Jimmye Laycock said when Tomlin first took the Steelers to the Super Bowl in 2009. “He was very smart about how to play. He understood the game and would challenge you as a coach.”

    When he wasn’t practicing or studying, Tomlin crossed Richmond Road to the deli. He was a jack-of-all-trades, working the door as a bouncer when bands played, or taking orders and ringing up customers from behind the counter.

    “He came from a working class family in Newport News and always wanted to have some extra money,” Tsipas recalled. “I could tell that he was going to work.”

    “We clicked,” Tsipas continued. “We hung out together, we talked a lot about life in general. Even though we were 10 years apart, it felt like we were the same age.

    “When he walks into a room, he lights it up,” Tsipas added. “Mike had the personality that you always wanted to speak to him. During the busy days or after work when we closed, when he came in here with his buddies.”

    After graduation, Tomlin went into coaching as an assistant at Virginia Military Institute. Then came stints at the University of Memphis, Tennessee-Martin and Cincinnati before landing in the NFL. Tony Dungy hired him as a defensive backs coach with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and he won a Super Bowl ring with coach Jon Gruden.

    In 2006 then-Minnesota Vikings coach Brad Childress hired Tomlin as a defensive coordinator, where he coached former Tribe teammate Darren Sharper. A year later, Tomlin succeeded Bill Cowher as head coach in Pittsburgh.

    Tsipas remained in contact the entire time. “We didn’t know that he was going to be a coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers,” he said. “I thought he was going to be a lawyer. He had the personality to be a lawyer. One of the guys that everyone looked up to.”

    A year later, Tomlin, then just 36, became the youngest coach to win a Super Bowl, beating the Arizona Cardinals 27-23.

    Tsipas had mixed feelings when the Steelers eliminated the Ravens in a divisional playoff game since he held season tickets for Baltimore. “It was tough,” he said. He and his brother are “big-time Ravens fans.”

    Tomlin remembered his old boss. A week after he was hired in Pittsburgh, a UPS package arrived at Paul’s Deli addressed to Tsipas. Inside was a Steelers helmet signed by Tomlin.

    “Michael is like a brother to me,” Tsipas marveled. “When he comes back, he comes in here and we stay up to 4 or 5 o’clock in the morning talking. He was here till 6 a.m. one time talking about the season and Super Bowl. It’s just unbelievable stuff.”
    "When you start talking about attitude and focus, Jack is the epitome. He was the most focused individual I've ever had."-- Chuck Noll

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    Default Re: Coach Mike Tomlin hungry for next title

    Tomlin is hungry like a wolf...

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