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Remember me?

 

As you probably know, I love broadcasting baseball games, but one of the disadvantages of spending the summer working for the Pawtucket Red Sox is that I miss seeing my friends in Cincinnati and hanging around the UC football and basketball programs.

 

I will say this - the success of the Bearcat football program over the last few years has increased my standing among minor league baseball players.  I've been getting regular questions about the NFL prospects of guys like Tony Pike and Mardy Gilyard, while also being asked about Cincinnati's chances of going to another BCS Bowl in 2010.  You would be surprised to hear how many pro baseball players from all over the country say that they love watching the Bearcats on TV.

 

I've also been getting a ton of questions about UC's new football coach Butch Jones.  I am obviously still getting to know him, and Butch was kind enough to recently answer some non-football questions to give me a better sense of who he is.

 

I thought you might enjoy our Q & A.

 

Butch Jones.jpg 

Where did the nickname Butch come from?

 

My real name is Lyle.  That was my dad's name and he gave me that nickname at a very young age and it stuck.  What's amazing is that the people who know me would never think of calling me Lyle.  I can tell when somebody doesn't know me because they'll call me Lyle.

 

Where did you grow up?

 

I grew up in a small town in southwest Michigan called Saugatuk - right on Lake Michigan.  It's a resort/tourist community - my father was the Chief of Police there for more than 30 years.  In his last year as Chief of Police, they had the largest bank robbery in the United States that year.  They finally caught the guy, but the joke going around was that my dad was going to have a nice retirement. 

 

Was your dad pretty strict?

 

I didn't get away with much.  My dad knew anything and everything that went on, but he was a tremendous role model.  Respect for my father kept me out of trouble.  My dad instilled discipline in us.  When my dad spoke, he commanded respect right away.

 

Did you consider becoming a policeman?

 

That was initially my goal - to be a police officer.  My uncle was a Michigan state police trooper and he was third-in-charge of the entire Michigan state police operations at one point in time, so it was in our family.  Prior to coaching, that was what I wanted to do.

 

Are your parents still living?

 

My father passed away in August.  On the first day of training camp, he went into the hospital and he passed away two weeks later.  That kind of became a rallying cry for our Central Michigan football team and the seniors all showed up at his funeral.  I always carry his ID band in my pocket and at the Michigan State game, every individual held his ID band before we kicked the game-winning field goal.  I told our kicker that, 'All you have to do is worry about kicking the ball and my dad will take care of the rest.'  My mom is still alive and living in Saugatuk and she found some direct flights out of Grand Rapids, so she's fired out about coming to Cincinnati a lot.

 

Aside from your father, who was your childhood hero?

 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Doug Williams.  As a child - don't ask me why - I grew up a big Tampa Bay Bucs fan.  When I had the opportunity to work for them (as an intern, 1987-89), that was something that I treasured very much.  I have an aunt and uncle that are like my second family and they live down there, and in 1976 when the Bucs started, they became my team and I've been with them ever since.  It was a great thrill when I started to work for them and got to be a little part of their history.

 

Who are your biggest coaching mentors?

 

I've worked for so many great coaches - not only head coaches, but assistant coaches.  I think that's really helped me.  Doug Graber, who was the Defensive Coordinator at Tampa Bay, took me under his wing.  Rich Rodriquez - the two years that I spent with him in the Big East Conference at West Virginia really helped me.  I've worked with a lot of great individuals like Brian VanGorder who is the Defensive Coordinator of the Atlanta Falcons . . . Willie Martinez who was the Defensive Coordinator at Georgia and is now at Oklahoma.  I've had the opportunity to work with a lot of great coaches. 

 

Are you the type of guy who studies coaches and reads their biographies?

 

I study coaches each and every day.  I'm also a big fan of John Maxwell, the business author, and a big reader of all of his books.

 

Have you had any other jobs besides football coach? 

 

At the age of 14, my parents wanted me to start working, so I went to work in the restaurant business.  I was a dishwasher and then I worked in the restaurant for a good six years as a short-order cook and I love cooking breakfast.  Outside of football, I've been a cook and a dishwasher. 

 

Who is your favorite entertainer?

 

I like Adam Sandler.  With as much time as you spend in the office, and as stressful as the job can be, I like to go watch a good movie and laugh a little bit. 

 

Any hobbies?

 

I'm a shopper - I like to shop for some reason.  Clothes, gear . . . I've already found Koch's Sporting Goods downtown and I bet that I spent a good two hours down there.  I love to go to a good sporting goods place and do some shopping.

 

Describe the perfect day?

 

A sunny Saturday morning . . . getting up with the family (wife Barb and sons Alex, Adam, and Andrew) and eating breakfast before going to the ballpark and watching the Cincinnati Reds.  Then coming home and grilling out as a family and sitting out on the deck and having some friends over.  I love to go to baseball games and get my mind off of things.  Just sitting at a ballpark with all of the green around is very serene.

 

* * * * *

 

As many of you have probably seen, I have been offered a tremendous opportunity to broadcast three of the Cincinnati Bengals pre-season games on TV.  It will be a thrill to do NFL play-by-play for the first time, and I'm looking forward to working with Hall of Famer Anthony Munoz. 

 

Unfortunately, because of the Bengals final pre-season game at Indianapolis on September 2nd, and the final weekend of the Pawtucket Red Sox regular season, I will miss the Bearcats opener at Fresno State on September 4th.

 

I appreciate Mike Thomas and Mike Waddell from UC, WLW's Darryl Parks, and Mike Tamburro of the PawSox for allowing me to adjust my schedule.  And I'm grateful to Mike Brown and Vince Cicero from the Bengals for giving me this opportunity.

 

Ironically, my first NFL game will also be Tim Tebow's pro debut when the Bengals host the Broncos on August 15th.

 

Let's hope he's not as good as he was on January 1st.

 

I'd love to hear from you.  The address is dhoard@pawsox.com.

 

If you Twitter, you can follow my tweets at http://twitter.com/Dan_Hoard

 

And if you want to follow my baseball adventures, check out my PawSox blog at danhoard.mlblogs.com.

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