Is There Life After Coaching?

I'm often asked the question, "Do you miss coaching?" The answer to that question is, "Of course. There are certain things about it I miss and will always miss." My wife is always reminding me of how fortunate I was to have a job that I loved getting up and going to every single day. And she's right. I am very grateful to have been in a profession that I enjoyed so much that I do miss it.

At the same time, I am constantly amazed at what's opened up for me after retiring from a profession I loved and spent 42 years of my life doing.

I continue to work football camps and clinics and enjoy those a great deal. Last year, I was invited up to the Philadelphia Eagles for three days to meet with and share linebacker technique with their new linebacker coach. So, I still continue to use my coaching experience.

But to answer the question, sure I miss it but there really is an interesting and fun life out there after the joy and excitement of coaching football.

I thought I might take this time to share some of what life after coaching is like for me these days.

Immediately after I retired, Doug Moulde, the owner of a local radio station asked me to do a daily sports show. That was a little different side of sports, but it certainly kept me close to and involved with the sports world. We also did a pre-game show on campus for all Mississippi State home games and that was especially enjoyable. We were able to have a variety of people on the show including fans, coaches and ex-players. Young Wade Sims, who is one of Mississippi State's biggest fans, was a regular guest and a real favorite on the show. Jan Gwinn, an alumnus from Memphis, kept us filled in last year about the Liberty Bowl and how much they wanted MSU in it. We usually had the Honorary Captains on as well. A real favorite was Robert Bell, the first African-American player MSU signed, who shared his unique story. Another favorite was former All SEC linebacker Daniel Boyd, who is now an orthopedic surgeon in Oxford, MS. While we no longer do the daily radio show, we will continue this pre-game show in the fall and are really looking forward to it.

For some time now, Paul Lacoste, one of my ex-players, had been asking me to get involved with him in his fitness and training business in Jackson, MS. I had some interest in doing that because I enjoy lifting weights and have a strong personal commitment to working out on a daily basis. I suppose you could call it my hobby. So, I made a decision to prepare to certify as a personal trainer.

After a few months of attending training sessions, hard study, and tutorial help from my wife in the biology, anatomy, and kinesiology sections I took the test and became accredited by the National Strength and Conditioning Association. I started working with Paul in February of 2008.

Paul is very successful in his business in Jackson. He is passionate about it just like he was as a player. He was a pleasure for me to coach at Mississippi State and I enjoyed watching him become an All-SEC linebacker. Paul went on to play in the NFL, XFL, and CFL. He was "Rookie of the Year" in 1999 in the Canadian Football League. He always played the game full speed and he continues with this full speed attitude in his business. He has a wonderful wife and business partner, Laura, and a one-year-old son, Cannon, who is the spitting image of him. I enjoy seeing my players succeed after graduating and Paul is one of those success stories.

I go to Jackson on Sunday to work with Paul and come back home to Starkville on Thursday. We train about 250 adults a day and have a long waiting list. We also do specialized training with middle school, high school and college athletes. I remarked to Paul that he learned linebacker play from me and I am learning training from him. This is certainly hard work with very long hours, but it is very rewarding.

As a side note, I have really come to enjoy Jackson and have met a lot of great people and have made many new friends. People like Bill Gault, who is an ex-player who played before I came to State. He trains really well in class. I was talking with his college coach, Craig Randle, about him and he said Bill was a heck of a competitor as a player. I understand he is now a heck of a lawyer in Jackson as well. I have also become acquainted with many people from "those other colleges" in Mississippi and let me just say conversations get rather interesting at times.

Of course, I coached at the University of Southern Mississippi at one time and my head coach there, Jim Carmody, now lives in Jackson. Coach Carmody and I had dinner the other night and we shared a lot of good stories. He hired me at the University of Southern Mississippi in 1985. I coached some good players there and I enjoyed my experience in Hattiesburg. We signed some really good players during that time, including Brett Favre.

Coach Carmody was also responsible for me coming to Mississippi State from Southern Illinois University in 1989. He was the Defensive Coordinator at State and he recommended me to Coach Rocky Felker. I am very appreciative to Coach Carmody for giving me the opportunity to coach in the SEC. He is a good fundamental teacher and an excellent hard-nosed football coach. I enjoyed very much coaching with him, and my family and I feel very close to him and his family. I certainly enjoyed catching up with him the other night at dinner.

As you can see, I am staying pretty busy these days. When I return to Starkville on the weekend, I train two female athletes. One is a sophomore basketball player at Delta State and the other is an upcoming senior basketball player at Starkville Academy. They are both hard workers and have made a lot of progress.

So, there is life out there after coaching. And it is busy, full of hard work, fun, and exciting. I am just looking forward to whatever else the future holds.

Click here to learn more about Jim Tompkins

Coach Jim Tompkins, a former Mississippi State football coach, is a Mississippi State football columnist for

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