12 Reps with Dan John, Strength & Conditioning Coach
EDITOR'S NOTE: Welcome to 12 Reps - in each appearance of 12 Reps, our coaches, writers, and occasional guests will be answering the same twelve questions. Go "into the locker-room" with them and get to know our coaches and writers a little bit better!
12 Reps with Football and Strength & Conditioning Coach Dan John
1. Who was your first coach and what did they teach you?
My first coach? Wow, that would be tough, but let’s look at the real first coaches I had: my dad and my brothers. We played every game you can think of and spent hours playing ball. I think I have caught more touchdowns and hit more balls than anyone else in the world!
My brothers also bought a weightlifting set from Sears and that started me on this path. So, you can’t ignore my father, Albert, and my brothers, Richard, Raymond, Gary, and Philip. Actually, mom and Corinne were pretty serious bad asses, too, but that is another story.
2. Who is the coach you most admire?
I have two: Dick Notmeyer and Ralph Maughan. Dick gave me 15-18 hours a week of coaching for twenty-five cents a week in dues. I met him weighing 162 and four months later, I weighed 202. The man changed my life. Of course, Ralph Maughan - think of it this way, drafted by the Detroit Lions, made the Olympic team in the hammer, national champ in the javelin. Oh, and at the Battle of the Bulge, he got two Purple Hearts and a Silver Star. “Other than that,” he recruited me and taught me more than I could ever learn.
3. If you could have a superhero power, what would it be?
I already have several, but mine would be the ability to remain the same person no matter the circumstances.
4. What athlete, dead or alive, would you most like to talk with?
Al John. I never listened well enough when I had the chance.
5. When did you know that coaching was your calling?
My neighbor used to call me the “Pied Piper” as all the kids would hang out with me as I trained. I would teach them and correct them. I had a thought then that I might end up doing something like this.
6. What is the best and hardest part about being a coach?
The best part? When it works, when you watch them overcome the odds and win it all, or simply do their best under pressure.
The hardest part? When they tell you, years later, that you were right. It sounds odd, I know, but it is awful.
7. What is your favorite physical activity or exercise?
I would have to say either the Olympic lifts or the discus throw. In all of these, there is this wonderful moment when you do it right and it just feels right. It is so effortless that it makes you wonder why it took so long to master it!
8. What is your favorite "cheat" food?
Cheese-itz. It’s my crack.
9. What is your biggest accomplishment?
It’s hard to say. I’m not bragging but I have done some pretty cool things. Anyone who can say they have nearly died in Egypt, had machine guns pointed at them in three countries, holds an American record, had a number one book on Kindle, has two daughters who were Prom Queen, Homecoming Queen and all-state in the discus (and state shot put champ) and retired at 53 is doing pretty well.
10. What do you bring to your students/clients that is different than other coaches and programs?
My ability to quote the Bible, Gilgamesh, Don Quixote, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, and The Sword in the Stone in one training session!
11. What is your favorite quote?
“Never let go.” - T. H. White, The Sword in the Stone.
12. What was/is your favorite sport and why?
American football. There is nothing like watching it finally all come together. If you have coached it, you understand. If you played it, you can get a sense of what I mean.
If you missed any editions of 12 Reps, be sure to check out our archives. You never know who we might talk to and what might get said!