A new coaching experience

He's a new and young coach, but he's definitely experienced when it comes to developing his players and taking a heartfelt interest in them. Much of that internal sentiment towards his football players might come from the fact that he's a father of six children. One thing is certain: Coach DuPaix loves his role and loves his players.

He's definitely not a throwback to the old "do what I say or I'll make you wish you had" type of coach. No, Coach DuPaix is a different type of coach with a view rather refreshing in its approach. It's an approach that even running backs like Drew Phillips, who come from a different background and culture, have grasped to like a son to the arm of a father.

"That's perfect," DuPaix said with a smile. "I'll tell you what, I have six kids and a beautiful wife [Monica] that looks after them when I'm gone. This is a football team that we truly care about. We would not bring them into BYU if we didn't believe that they would be successful."

When it comes to coaching, Coach DuPaix feels the greater success of his players won't necessarily come by how many touchdowns or yards they can rack up on the field. He measures his success by how high those in his care have reached outside the field of play.

"It becomes our job to help these players be successful because they want to be successful, and they want to be the best they can be," said the former Navy coach. "Sometimes, you know, they'll make decisions that aren't the best decisions. However, it's our job to continue to motivate, influence them and prod them to help them reach their potential. We truly feel it's our responsibility to take care of our guys."

When asked about his individual players, Coach DuPaix smiled and overly gushed about each of them. Like a hen that gathers the chicks under the wing, Coach DuPaix simply loves each of his players as if they were his own kids.

"I love my guys," DuPaix said. "Every single one of those guys that I get the opportunity to work with in the film room and out here on the football field, I love. J.J. [Di Luigi] is a very competitive person and a great leader. Bryan Kariya has unbelievable leadership qualities and is a great person. You've got Dave Foote, who just works his tail off in practice and asks the right questions. He's a great football player and is hungry to get better.

"All of these guys are hungry to get better. You just go down the list. Zed Mendenhall has a phenomenal work ethic and has no fear and is willing to do whatever is needed for the team. Drew Phillips is working hard to kind of grow up into the role that we want to see him in, and he's eager to do it. He's fighting to get better at it. The list goes on and on, and every single one of those guys are working hard to be great. That is the fun part about it all."

It's only been a short time, but hearing Coach DuPaix talk about his time at BYU gives one the impression that he truly is going through a unique coaching experience.

"The highlight for me being here at BYU is just being here out on the grass coaching football," DuPaix said, "being able to wear the hat with the "Y" on it, and the whole deal of being here at BYU where my dad played football and where there is so much tradition. So much magic has happened here for year and years and it still is, and I know I said this a couple months ago, [it's] like Christmas morning every day I come to work."

He cited a few examples of why being at BYU is a coach's Christmas-day experience time and time again.

"Well, being here at BYU has been an unbelievable experience of camaraderie," said DuPaix. "The players, I mean, there is a real unity within our team that continues to build stronger and stronger. That part of spring camp has been fun and exciting. When you have a group of guys with a single vision and idea of what their goal is, it's excited and fun and energetic. It's one of those deals that you just want to be part of. I think that's one of they key things right now for our guys.

"I love to come to work and be able to work with guys that I work with and compete with the defense during practice, then be able to come off the field and be able to joke about it with those guys you're competing against as a team. You can compete hard against each other but still have the bond of being a true team. It's just a different deal here and there are so many different aspects that BYU stands for that I love. This has been a phenomenal aspect of my coaching experience here at BYU and I love it."

Ultimately, DuPaix credits Coach Mendenhall with creating the atmosphere in BYU's football program.

"I think Coach Mendenhall does a great job to let his guys – both players and coaches – soar," DuPaix said. "I love how he allows us to try and be the best that the players and coaches be at what they do. I think all of those things with the unity carries a lot of weight of why my experience at BYU has been an incredible one."


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