Everett Withers: 'We will have trophy-kissing practice'

Posted by: Chris Vannini on Friday January 08, 2016

Everett Withers is driven by two losses in his coaching career, and he wants players to practice what it's like to win.

Withers was introduced as Texas State head coach on Thursday, coming from James Madison, and he described the motivation.

“I’ve been one game away from the Super Bowl,” he said. “I lost in an AFC Championship Game to the Oakland Raiders when I was with the Tennessee Titans (in 2002). I still think about that today. We were one game away from the national championship in (2013) at Ohio State. I think about that every day. That’s what gets me up every day to go to work.

“I want to be that team. You watch it on TV, when a team wins a championship, what do they do with the other team? They push them off the field, they bring a podium to the middle, they have guys with red jackets and yellow jackets rope it off, and the winning team gets to get on that podium and kiss a trophy and be recognized as the champions. I work every day to get to that. I work every single day to get to that.”

That includes practicing how to celebrate.

We actually have trophy-kissing practice,” he said, which was met with laughter. “I’m not kidding. We try to teach our kids how to do it right. It’s important. We’re going to get there. It’s a journey, but we’ve got to go to work and get there.”

Withers caught the eye of athletic director Larry Teis when JMU hosted College GameDay in October. When Withers was contacted about the job, he wanted to speak to Teis right away.

When I was called about the job, I demanded one thing right off the bat. I demanded a phone call from Larry,” Withers said. “I said, ‘Tell me, why me?’ That was the phone call. We had a 45-minute conversation. After  that conversation, I hung up the phone and said, ‘I want that job.’ Because I talked to him. When I talked to (administration), it was a no-brainer.”

Chris Vannini is in his fifth year with CoachingSearch.com and serves as its managing editor. He has previously written for the Detroit Free Press, The Oakland Press, The State News, MLive.com, 247Sports and SB Nation.  A graduate of Michigan State University, Chris now lives in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.  Be sure to follow @coachingsearch and send emails to chris@coachingsearch.com.