March 18, 2010
STANFORD, Calif. -
The physical toll of a 12-year NFL career is evident in the way Chester McGlockton sits. The new Stanford assistant football coach shifts his weight far to the right, then to the left, sometimes forward, sometimes back.
Technique, like the swim moves and bull rushes he used to become an All-Pro defensive tackle, continues to serve him well in the never-ending quest for comfort.
"My body hurts every day," said McGlockton, recently hired as a defensive intern. "And it will continue to hurt every day. But I'm used to a lot of pain."
At one time, McGlockton feared that the pain of his post-playing days would prevent him from following his new passion - coaching. And, he expects that someday that will indeed happen. But until that day comes, McGlockton is striving to see how far coaching can take him.
In a way, the suffering has helped place the importance of coaching into greater relief. He realizes there may only be a finite number of years he can stand through a practice before his body breaks down and he has to give up.
"I'm trying to do what God has blessed me on earth to be able to do," he said.
McGlockton's coaching roots began as a player. A four-time Pro Bowl selection, McGlockton had 39.5 sacks during his six seasons with the Raiders. He went on to play three years with the Kansas City Chiefs, two with the Denver Broncos and finished in 2003 with the New York Jets - serving as an unofficial coach on the field during his final years.
After retirement, McGlockton took part in a coaching internship program with NFL Europe, before the league folded, and he co-owned a sports training center in Greenville, S.C.
But his coaching career began in earnest as a defensive line coach at Chabot College, a community college.
McGlockton loved to work with players who nobody thought could make it, the ones who didn't have a luxurious background or upbringing, but would do everything possible to succeed.
Those two seasons in Hayward - far away from the headlines, the crowds, and the limelight -- convinced McGlockton he was on the right path.
And like those players that made had such an effect on his life, McGlockton has been willing to learn the trade in the shadows. Perhaps he could have leveraged NFL contacts to work his way into the pro ranks, but McGlockton said that is not the case.
"Coaching jobs are hard to come by," he said, and instead has been humble enough to begin at the bottom of the coaching ranks, as an intern under Lane Kiffin at University of Tennessee last season before seeking out Jim Harbaugh and returning to the Bay Area, which McGlockton calls home.
McGlockton didn't have a personal relationship with Harbaugh before, other than a blindside hit that knocked the air out of the quarterback during their NFL days.
Now reunited, McGlockton is willing to do whatever he's asked, while learning from not only Harbaugh, but new defensive coordinator Vic Fangio, a coaching veteran of 24 NFL seasons.
"I'm here to help the defense improve," McGlockton said. "I just want to be able to learn how to be a better coach, how to communicate better, how to organize better. Even though I played for a long time and I do know a lot about football - nobody's going to be doing anything that I haven't seen or tried - you've still got to be able to get people to believe what you're saying."
Perhaps the only thing holding him back in his new career is his health. Though the 6-foot-3 McGlockton finished his playing days at 335 pounds, he quickly ballooned to nearly 400 pounds as a civilian. He ate less - but two burgers instead of three - but it still managed to add up.
The pain of his playing days was almost unbearable under all that weight, and McGlockton underwent laparascopic weight-loss (Lap-Band) surgery in 2008 and is now under 300 pounds.
He feels so strongly about the procedure as an answer for obesity that he will approach people on the street and recommend it.
"It really makes you feel like you're supposed to," he said. "It's made me healthier and to do things I couldn't before. I couldn't sit here if I had more weight on me."
If only there was a surgery that could relieve the rest of his physical pain.
What hurts? You name it: back, knees, shoulder, neck, ankle, toe. He had more concussions than he can count. He played barely a month after back surgery.
"There were some games I don't even remember," he said. "Some practices, I don't remember how the heck I got home. You got your bell rung, you shook it off, missed a play and went back in.
"Is it smart? No. Would I do it again? Probably.
"But, now, I probably wouldn't come back so fast. Now, I know better."
So, in some respects, McGlockton is coaching against time, even if he doesn't think about it that way.
"As long as, God willing, my body can hold up, I'd like to do it," he said. "But if it doesn't, God will have something else for me. I believe in that."
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MEN'S BASKETBALL: March Madness Connections
There are two athletes at Stanford (that the Insider is aware of) who have more than a rooting interest in the NCAA men's basketball tournament - they are family.
Stanford women's basketball freshman Joslyn Tinkle will be playing in the first round of the NCAA women's tournament at Maples Pavilion, only about 20 miles from San Jose's HP Pavilion where her father's Montana team plays New Mexico in the first round of the men's tournament.
Wayne Tinkle, Montana's head coach, and his daughter were reunited at Stanford on Wednesday when the Grizzlies practiced at Maples Pavilion.
From the Missoulian newspaper of Missoula, Mont.:
Joslyn will be in San Jose's HP Pavilion Thursday night when the Griz face New Mexico, but she had to do some juggling. It's finals week at Stanford and she had a humanities exam scheduled for 7 p.m.
"I e-mailed my professor ... and I told him, `I'm sorry this is my dad,'" Joslyn said. "He goes, `I watched that game, I'm a big fan of hoops. I watched that game and I was happy for them.' So he said sure thing, so I'm taking the final earlier. It's Professor Daehnke, I'm going to have to give him props. He's been awesome all year and now I know why I like him."
Also, Stanford freshman men's volleyball player Jake Kneller is the brother of Ben Kneller, a 6-6 senior student manager who played in two games at forward for San Diego State and is listed on its NCAA roster. The Aztecs were to play Tennessee in the first round on Thursday in Providence, R.I.
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WOMEN'S BASKETBALL: The UConn Factor
Nationally, the biggest question entering the NCAA women's basketball tournament is whether No. 2 Stanford can beat No. 1 Connecticut. The Huskies enter the tournament with 72 consecutive victories since its last loss, to Stanford (82-73) on April 6, 2008.
What does Stanford think?
"I know that we have what it takes to be No. 1," said Stanford sophomore forward Nnemkadi Ogwumike, the Pac-10 Player of the Year. "But at the same time, it takes a lot of hard work. I don't think people should underestimate us, and at the same time, we can't underestimate ourselves.
"It takes a lot to do it. And I think we have what it takes to do it. I'm really excited to see what our hard work will bring us."
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WOMEN'S BASKETBALL: What Makes a Success
During a press conference early this week, Stanford players were asked whether the season would be a success without winning a national championship. The obvious answer was "yes," considering that the Cardinal sets a national title as an annual preseason goal.
But senior guard Rosalyn Gold-Onwude had a different perspective:
"I just think there's so much that happens in the course of a season that's so much bigger than the game itself," she said. "And I would say that the journey we're on right now has already been a success. It would only be more special to win a national championship.
"Of course, at the end of the day, it is a game. There are W's, there are L's. There is a win-loss column. And I'm going to be very disappointed if we don't win. I'm sure we'll be crying about it, especially because, that's it. But I would never say this season was not a success."
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WOMEN'S BASKETBALL: Been There
The last time Stanford received a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament was in 1998, and the season ended infamously with a first-round loss to No. 16 seed Harvard at Maples Pavilion. The situation is similar this season as top-seeded Stanford plays No. 16 UC Riverside in a first-round game Saturday at home.
"I don't think seeding necessarily is the key," Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer said. "The most important thing is to be healthy.
"I think we've earned the No. 1 seed. Last year we were a Two, but it didn't work out badly (reaching the Final Four). That gives this team good perspective to know that there's nothing guaranteed because you're a one seed. We all know the last time we were a No. 1 seed what happened. Obviously, we don't want that to happen again."
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WOMEN'S BASKETBALL: Presidential Support
President Barack Obama picked Stanford to reach the NCAA women's basketball final, as revealed when his men's and women's brackets were unveiled on ESPN's SportsCenter Wednesday.
Obama picked Stanford, UConn, Tennessee and Notre Dame to reach the Final Four, with Stanford falling to Connecticut in the championship.
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FOOTBALL: McColl on Hall of Fame Ballot
Stanford's Duncan McColl, a 1976 first-team All-America at defensive end, is among 77 players and seven coaches on the ballot for induction into the College Football Hall of Fame. If inducted, McColl would join his father Bill, a Stanford All-America end who was inducted in 1973, as the only father-son combination in the Hall's history.
Duncan McColl (1974-76), a two-time All-Pac-8 first-team choice, still holds Stanford season records for sacks (17) and tackles for loss (26) from that 1976 season.
Stanford is represented in the Hall by 17 players and seven coaches. Wide receiver Ken Margerum (1977-80) was inducted in December, 2009.
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HOME EVENT OF THE WEEK: NCAA Women's Basketball
Stanford's quest for its first NCAA women's basketball championship since 1992 begins Saturday at Maples Pavilion when the No. 1-seeded Cardinal (31-1) plays No. 16 UC Riverside (17-15) in first round action at 7:30 p.m.
The game completes a doubleheader that begins with No. 8 Iowa (19-13) against No. 9 Rutgers (19-14) at 5 p.m. Winners meet in the second round on Monday at 6:30 p.m. at Maples Pavilion.
-- David Kiefer, Stanford Athletics
Ideas for future notebook items are welcomed. Please contact David Kiefer at email@example.com. Past editions of the weekly Cardinal Insider can be found on the main page of gostanford.com by clicking on "General Releases" from the "Sports" pull-down menu.