Tyrone Nix is an American football coach. He was born in Alabama, where football is almost a religion, to a football-loving family. Nix was groomed by his legendary Alabama high school football coach to take over his program upon his graduation from college, but Nix’s success at college proved he could take his coaching skills to an even higher level of collegiate coaching.
After concluding his playing career at Southern Miss, he stuck around at his alma mater to coach on both sides of the ball, though primarily the defensive side. In 2005, he made the move to South Carolina, where he served under Hall-of-Fame coach and player Steve Spurrier, who named Nix his defensive coordinator and assistant head coach. His success with SC made him a marketable coach, and he took his skills to Ole Miss, Middle Tennessee, and Texas A&M, after which Nix was hired as an assistant coach for Virginia Tech under the tutoring of Hall of Fame Coordinator Bud Foster.
Most recently, Tyrone Nix served as the defensive coordinator at University of Texas-San Antonio (UTSA) which moved from 92nd to 47th in total defense in one season under his guidance. At each stop, Tyrone has not only achieved high marks for his defensive schematics and winning formulas, but he has mentored countless young men on their achievements on the field, in their spiritual lives, and in the classroom. He has made the most of every opportunity and learned from everyone he’s worked with, both sterling attributes for someone who is a leader of men, on the field and off.
Where did the idea for your career come from?
Well, I’ve always been a part of a football family. My dad played football throughout his short career, and we were always a fan of it in my hometown in Alabama. Being from the state of Alabama, football is king. It’s right there next to religion. The most important things you can do are to be a football player and go to church on Sunday, so it started early for me, and it’s what got me to the point that I am. It provided me with a quality college education and gave me a chance for a successful future.
Not only that, my high school coach, Wyman Townsel, had such an influence on my life. He encouraged me, he motivated me, and he wanted me to take over our high school program once I finished college. We had one of the elite programs in the state at the time, and his coach asked him to come back to coach at his alma mater. One of his goals was to see me coaching our program, and he thought I would be great at doing it as well. I respected him and admired him so much that I wanted to be like him, have impact and be a winner, and have the success that he had. So, I went to college, got my degree and fortunately for me, I was offered the opportunity to stay in the collegiate ranks, and rest is history. I never left college football, but it has always been amazing that he had such faith in me.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
I start off each day with the Word now, and when I refer to the Word, it’s the Bible and being thankful for another opportunity, and that opportunity is to go out and be a witness to someone, to thank the Lord for my health and strength for watching over me through the night, and from that point on it kind of puts me on the right track. That morning routine has become a ritual for me.
When I’m coaching, my typical day varies from job to job and place to place. Every job is a little bit different as far as starting time and completion time as it all depends on what time the head coach requires us to be in. The day normally starts around 5 am, and it’s over typically around 8 pm to 10 pm. It’s a really long day. You’re spending time with the team, the players, and a lot of time with the staff. The staff actually become a part of your family because you spend so much time together. Regarding the players, they have a 20-hour rule where we can only have them 20 hours throughout the week. But players can volunteer and come in on their own any time they want to get ready, so it’s kind of an approach where the minimum you see them is around two to three hours a day. Plus, you have to give the players at least one day off.
How do you bring ideas to life?
A lot of my ideas come from life experience and having had so many opportunities. When you start talking about guiding young men, a lot of whom are African-American, I can say I’ve experienced things from their vantage point. My job is all about helping young men set goals, teaching them how to achieve those goals and to be successful in life, and what better way to come up with ideas about these subjects than to actually live through the process myself? I came from a two-parent home where my dad was a Baptist preacher who worked at Goodyear Tire and Rubber. Both of my parents worked until the age of retirement and they set the example for what hard work is about. And, of course, they instilled in me my Christian beliefs.
When it comes to developing ideas about the sport of football, it’s a lot of copycat. It’s a lot of seeing what other people do and then asking how you can do something similar, only better. Some principles of football have been instilled in me from childhood, from being tough, playing hard, and being physical. Some of those attributes are just things that have been a part of my entire life and that helps carry over to ideas development. But in regards to the schematics of football, it really is just learning from other coaches, spending time with them and learning all their “whys” of the things they do. The great thing about football is that every day there is something that you can learn about the sport and try to get better.
What’s one trend that excites you?
Football has been a resilient sport through all the adversity, through all the things that have taken place within our country, especially in this past year. Football is a sport that was able to withstand the test of these times, giving people a form of enjoyment, a view on life, and the pleasure of just seeing guys getting out there to compete. It also gave us a chance to give the world another view of how we could still go on through the pandemic, that even though we have restrictions, we can still be a quality sport built around competition amongst others, if we all agree to do everything we can with the knowledge that we have. If people would look at how football players come together, from all different types of backgrounds and races, and they pull together on one accord, to be successful, just imagine if our world could do the same thing regardless of race or ethnicity or background or whatever way people separate themselves.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
I think one habit that I have is the ability to focus on handling one task at a time. A lot of people are multitasking and micromanaging and they do this and they do that, but my strength is the ability to focus solely on a particular task at the moment and let everything else happen as it may. With that being an asset, it allows you to put in more quality thought, more quality work, and not let the entire day consume you with so many other tasks that you have to get accomplished.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Continue to try to be as humble as possible and understand that it’s not me that’s accomplishing these things by myself. It’s the Lord just using me as an example of how to do these things. Understand that everything is possible through Him.
One thing that I’ve learned in this past year is that those who exalt themselves will be made humble and those who humble themselves will be exalted. It’s better for someone else to talk about the things you’ve accomplished than yourself. Just work on being the best version of yourself you can be on a daily basis.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
That I don’t know it all. I say, “I don’t know”, but everybody else says I do. I do have strong opinions about how things should be, but even so, I keep telling people that I don’t know everything, but they seem to disagree. They seem to think that I know more than I actually do! But I am certainly glad people have confidence in me.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
As I mentioned earlier, I start each morning off with the Word, but I also start off making up my bed. I do that to train myself with discipline. I love that because It’s been stated that if you do nothing else positive throughout that day, you can look at the end result and say I started off on the right foot, I did do something positive today, I put time and discipline into doing the little things right as I started off my day, and then you can look at something that you actually completed with a high standard.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Always being honest with the players. Sometimes you have to have hard conversations with them. Never tell them that you’re going to do something and then not act upon it. I’ve tried to be a man of my word and I’ve tried my best to help them be accountable for reaching their goals and their dreams.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
The failures that I may have had in reality become learning opportunities. When people say something is a total failure, I disagree. This perspective has helped me to understand more about the people that I surround myself with. It’s important to know each other’s background before certain conversations can be taken to their fullest extent. I can respect the boundaries of everyone, especially people who I do not know on a personal level.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
There are motivated people out there that are self-driven, that want to be successful, that want to lead, that want to be challenged. They’re looking for ways to be successful and those people normally find a way to be successful, because of their work ethic, because of their discipline and their due diligence of studying and studying and studying. Those people find a way to the top the majority of the time.
The biggest thing a player can do other than develop their craft at football is invest in their education while they still can. The majority of the kids that we coach are scholarship athletes. Their education is paid for, so I always tell them, “Take advantage of it. Take advantage of the things that are provided to you, so that you’ll have options once you finish playing the game.”
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
I think the best $100 that I most recently spent was on my mom for Mother’s Day with a bouquet of flowers.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
I’m not on the internet a lot, but Google is a great resource.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
The book that I’m currently re-reading is the Holy Bible but there are several books out there that I think can help you. It just depends on where you’re at in your life. One book that I can tell you that I’ve read that I thought was really, really good is called Battlefield of the Mind. It’s a Joyce Meyer book, and it was really interesting. I learned so much from reading it and spending time with it on a daily basis. Another book I would strongly recommend is The Circle Maker https://www.amazon.com/Circle-Maker-Praying-Circles-Greatest-ebook/dp/B01CXDN6C0/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=the+circle+maker&qid=1622151812&sr=8-1by Mark Batterson. It’s an evaluation of your life from events that have taken place and goes into why a lot of things have happened the way they have. It also shows the best way to make the best of a situation and how to make educated decisions in the process of life.
What is your favorite quote?
My favorite quote is from the Holy Bible, the King James version. It is from Philippians 4:13: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
Another favorite quote is from Dr. King, who said, “If you can’t fly, then run. If you can’t run, then walk. If you can’t walk, then crawl. But whatever you do, you have to keep moving forward.” That’s one of the best quotes. No matter what you’re going through, as long as you don’t give up, as long as you can continue to compete, as long as you battle day-in and day-out, nothing can ever stop you. And that’s the true sign of a winner. Never giving up until the mission is accomplished. That mission can vary from person-to-person or place-to-place. But you have a chance to succeed as long as you continue to battle onward.
• Have faith and hope in the dreams and aspirations that you’re trying to accomplish.
• Be disciplined and consistent on a daily basis and continue to move forward.
• Be accountable to the people around you
• Learning more about others will give you a chance to succeed a heck of a lot more than just staying small-minded within a small circle of understanding
Steve (Stefan) Junge hails from Germany and helps with the day-to-day publishing of interviews on IdeaMensch. While he and Mario don’t share a favorite soccer club, their enthusiasm to help entrepreneurs is a shared passion.