7/25/07

Someone Who Gets It!

One of my heroes and I do not have too many is Jimmy Radcliffe at University of Oregon. He gets it and has gotten it for a long time. Bellow is some excerpts from an article Rob Moseley in the Eugene Register Guard for Sunday June 15 titled “Building More Than Muscles.” This is a guy who flew all night to Chicago to hear two talks from Frans Bosch at The USA Track & Field Level III Coaching school, the flew all night back to Eugene so he would not miss a workout! He is a consummate coach and professional. He gets his players strong to play football, sure they Olympic lift, but that is one part of a bigger picture. We need more Jim Radcliffes.

"Besides coach Bellotti," senior receiver Garren Strong said, "I think he's probably the most important, key factor."

Watching a shirtless Radcliffe lead the football team through sprints across the grass practice fields at the foot of the Casanova Center, particularly in the summer, it's hard to believe he has actually dialed down his intensity over the years.

When he became head strength coach two years later, Radcliffe, a stickler for technique and efficiency, found participation to be his most effective teaching tool. It remains one of the key factors in players building respect for him.

"There were certain things I wanted done a certain way, and the best way for me to (teach) them was to get in there and do it with them - the pace of how things were going to go, the intensity of how things were going to go," Radcliffe said. "In the early stages, if you wanted change you had to demonstrate the change."

As the years went on, and Radcliffe's techniques were absorbed by veteran players who helped demonstrate them for underclassmen, there became less of a need to do every last drill with the team. And though his weight lifting workouts are now limited to twice or three times a week with two nephews and a godson who live in town, Radcliffe still looks as if he could take the field for the Ducks in a pinch, unlike some other coaches in his field.

Bellotti said that, more than once during his tenure as head coach, he has offered Radcliffe a raise, only to have the strength coach request that it be split among his assistants.

But when his players start talking about him, it's clear he has plenty of kids to watch over at work.

'He's an amazing guy'

Anyone who spends much time around the football team is most struck by Radcliffe's impact on the team when seniors appear in video presentations at the annual postseason banquet.

It happened for redshirt freshman quarterback Justin Roper, who attended the banquet on a recruiting visit.

"One of the things I noticed was, everybody would thank their family and friends," Roper said. "And then they'd thank coach Rad."

With Bellotti and his assistants so often away from the players, whether in staff meetings or on recruiting trips, Radcliffe is the most constant presence in their lives. To freshmen, he can seem a little quirky, with his outdated sweatsuits and the old bike he uses to tool around campus.

That ends when he begins to set such a demanding tone in his workouts. Radcliffe never rests, so that the players won't either.

"It's very business-like," Roper said. "He treats his sport and his work very much like business, which is something we need to do also."

Radcliffe favors calling players by their first names, rather than using nicknames. He demands they wear either green and yellow or neutral colors in the weight room, where he and his staff have offices.

To a man, the players say Radcliffe commands their respect through that professionalism, and also his participation in conditioning drills in even the most extreme weather.

"It's not like he's just standing there with a whistle screaming at us," junior defensive end Nick Reed said. "He's actually running with us, and usually finishing ahead of a lot of us."

Former Oregon punter Josh Bidwell, who plays for the NFL's Tampa Bay Buccaneers, said Radcliffe has been instrumental in his career. It was Radcliffe who oversaw Bidwell's training after the punter underwent surgery and chemotherapy for testicular cancer in 1999.

"At the end of every year, I come back and tell him how much I appreciate him," Bidwell said. "He's a huge reason, in my mind, for my success. ... The way he treats people, he treats you the same way he treats the walk-on who's not highly thought-of. I enjoyed that.

"I never got any special treatment from him, and even now, he'll come out and coach me if I'm doing something incorrectly, and he doesn't coach me with a smile. He comes out and tells me to do it right, and I always get a kick out of that."

Bidwell, who lives in Eugene, does his offseason workouts in the Moshofsky Center, still following a regimen that Radliffe writes for him and leaves for him in a mailbox with workouts for Oregon's punters.

"He's an amazing coach," Bidwell said. "I really look forward to coming back every offseason and getting his stuff in. He just really has a good handle on how to build the total athlete. His drills make you more explosive, which is a big thing in football, even at my position.

"He has a lot of drills, and he has a good handle on putting things in order, so that you're building toward being as strong and explosive as you can. Some coaches, they just want you to be strong. They just want your squat to be high, and your bench to be high. That doesn't necessarily make you the best athlete, and he understands that, but it also confuses a lot of kids, because you come in after benching every day in high school, trying to get strong, and they don't understand why they're doing all these goofy lifts. ...

"He's above and beyond even a lot of pro strength coaches."

3 Comments:

At 7/25/07, 3:56 PM, Blogger Joe P. said...

...Jimmy's forward in "Athletic Development" really helped me in digesting the concepts. Thank you both.

 
At 7/25/07, 6:16 PM, Blogger The Iron Maven said...

Thanks for this article, Vern.

I was introduced to Jimmy's knowledge, professionalism and tremendous athletic ability at an NSCA Coaches College in 1999. After watching him jump and bound, I began thinking of him as The Flea.

His power/weight ratio must be staggering. But even that isn't as impressive as his professionalism and attention to personal/athletic development of his athletes.

Bravo Jimmy Radcliffe for walking the walk and setting the highest standards for your athletes!

-Tracy Fober

 
At 7/25/07, 6:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I met Jimmy Radcliffe back in 95'. My one word description of Jimmy Radcliffe is a flea. The man can jump, jump, jump, jump, jump, jump, jump, jump, jump, jump, jump, and then jump jump jump. He gives you the meaning of power.

TC

 

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