The Words of a Champion:
An Interview with Coach Wender Part I

Tom Wender
Linebackers Coach, Northern Michigan University
NMU Team Clinic

In 21 seasons at the helm of Iron Mountain (Mich.) High School, coach Tom Wender led his teams to 15 playoff appearances, 11 conference championships, five semifinal games, three state finals appearances and state titles in 1993 and 2000.

After compiling a 170-55 (.755) record with the Mountaineers, he was inducted into the Michigan High School Football Coaches Hall of Fame.

Among his numerous coaching honors include being named the 2000 Michigan All-Class Coach of the Year.

During his tenure at IMHS, his teams finished the regular season undefeated four times and had three one loss seasons.

In addition, his teams held their opponents to under 100 points seven times and scored over 300 points eight times.

The 1993 state championships team finished 12-1 while outscoring their opponents by an incredible 404 points (489-85).

After retiring from teaching in 2005, he was named special teams coordinator/linebackers coach at Saginaw Valley State before returning to his alma mater at Northern Michigan University (2006) where he is entering his second season as the Wildcats linebackers and special teams coach.

In Part I of coach Wender's interview he discusses what he looked for in an assistant coach, how to build a successful program, how to change a losing attitude, and what it was like to coach in one of the biggest rivalries in the state.

In Part II he will talk about offensive and defensive philosophy, the responsibility of the head coach, working with parents, coaching his own sons, and gives advice to young coaches.

Coaches Learning Network: Why do you coach?
Tom Wender: For the love of the game. I like working with young men and the energy they bring. I like to take kids and get them to play hard, to see them grow and become an athlete and a man. There is a lot of reward in that.

Coach Wender

In todayís society, a lot kids

donít know how to work hard.

With the right approach, you

can get kids to work hard.

In todayís society, a lot kids donít know how to work hard. With the right approach, you can get kids to work hard. I like the challenge of getting everybody working, spending that energy in a team concept, putting it all together.

There are a lot of lessons in life we teach in football that are important; work ethic, team work, caring for other people, respect for everybody in the system including teachers, peers and parents. ... To read this article, and for full access to all CLN resources, get your MEMBERSHIP NOW.