Past Thorpe Award Winner back in the fold

Once a two-time All-American at Florida State and an elite defensive back in the NFL, Terrell Buckley has returned to his alma mater to be a coach. Buckley returns as the assistant strength and conditioning coach this year for the Seminoles.

A three-year letterman and a two-year starter for the 'Noles from 1989 to 1991, Buckley returned last season to his alma mater as a grad assistant while finishing his degree. This year, with degree in hand, Buckley joins the professional ranks of coaches as FSU's assistant strength and conditioning coach.

Buckley is still the Tribe's all-time leader in interceptions with 21, and in interception return yards with 501, as well as tied in interceptions and punts returned for touchdown with 4 and 3, respectively. That career interception yardage is also tops in the NCAA record book.

Buckley won the Jim Thorpe Award as a senior, and led the nation in interceptions, with 12, as a junior.

Buckley played for seven NFL teams, including the Green Bay Packers who selected him with the fifth pick of the 1992 draft. Buckley has a Super Bowl ring with the New England Patriots after contributing to their squad during the 2001-2002 season.

After the NFL, Buckley returned to Tallahassee as a grad assistant last season and was offered a full-time position early this year.

"When I first came back up here last year," Buckley said, "it was strictly to be going back and finishing my degree. I had no idea I'd get this job."

Buckley will be the assistant strength and conditioning coach this season. Buckley says he brings a lot to the table as a coach and mentor to all the guys on the team.

"I've been here for several weeks now, I'm already starting to develop relationships with all these guys," Buckley said. "Even the guys who are going to the draft. I feel like I can give them a lot of help since I've been there before. I can fill them in on mistakes I made so they won't do the same."

Even with his vast experience in football, Buckley says he knows nothing about coaching football. Buckley fancies himself as a rookie in the coaching ranks, just starting out.

"It's like your first spring training," Buckley said. "You have to start small. To start out at an amazing school, especially my alma mater, it's kind of unbelievable."

Buckley isn't afraid to ask for help either.

"I know one thing, and that's that I don't know everything," Buckley jokes. "I caught Coach (Bobby) Bowden in the elevator last week. I'm not afraid to ask questions so I got all the information I could from him in that short time in the elevator."

Buckley began his new position these past few weeks during the mat drills. Buckley participated in the same sort of mat drills almost 20 years ago during his time at FSU. He said if anything's changed, it's gotten more difficult.

"Work is work, these guys now are working extremely hard," Buckley said. "I commend and respect these guys so much this year. I think these mat drills are even harder than the ones I did way back when."

Buckley also said that there shouldn't be the comparison to work done back when he was at Florida State to now. Buckley shared that there are more options for student-athletes to take and more measure these student-athletes can take to stay in shape.

"There's a big difference from then to now," Buckley said. "FSU offers lot of classes for these kids to take to better themselves. I know Antone Smith is currently taking a yoga class this semester. That class will give him more fluidity in his hips, certain things like that we did not have back when I was here."

Although never coaching before, Buckley has had plenty of practice in the aspect of mentoring. Buckley has three daughters Sherrell (13), Brianna (10), and Britney (7).

"I've had a lot of practice as a 'semi-coach'," Buckley said. "Anyone with kids has. With kids you are a parent, a mentor and a coach."

Buckley still has a lot to learn but plans on being in Tallahassee for a while.

"The sky's the limit when you start out at the ground level," Buckley said. "I want to learn everything I can about being a coach."

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