Recently-named Ole Miss Offensive Coordinator David Lee, who has coached from Dallas to Miami and several points in between, is no different. Lee, who has primarily been a quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator his whole career, has a star-studded list of players who not only respect him as a person, but credit him for much of their success as a quarterback mentor.
Testimonials for Lee are not hard to come by.
"I would not be where I am today if it weren't for Coach Lee," said current Dallas Cowboys Quarterback Tony Romo, who Lee tutored Romo's first four years (2003-2006) in the National Football League. "I was so raw when I first came to Dallas. My knowledge of the game, my throwing motion, everything was just not good enough for the NFL, to be honest.
"David was a tremendous asset for me. I needed guidance. I needed leadership and he provided those things in abundance. My time spent with him when I first got in the league prepared me to play on the highest level and I will always be thankful to him."
For Romo, the trust he had in Lee started by getting to know the man behind the whistle.
"Anyone who has been around David knows he is a strong Christian who has lived his life the right way and that rubs off on you because he's so consistent with the way he conducts his life and influences those around him," Romo, who was injured in 2010 but has completed his rehab, said. "He has this knack of knowing how to lead.
"His sense of awareness of what buttons to push to get the most out of his players, on and off the field, is a gift. He was a quarterback himself in the Southeastern Conference and he understands what quarterbacks go through. He has great knowledge of the game of football and he passes that knowledge to his players from a quarterback's perspective. He breaks things down to its simplest form and builds from there."
Romo believes Lee will be a success at Ole Miss, as he has been at each stop in his long career.
"David will be a great leader for the Ole Miss offense," Romo closed. "He's firm, but he's fair. He has that ability to get on you when you're not doing things correctly, but you take it the right way because you know it's coming from a good spot. You know it's in your best interest to listen and do what he says. At the end of the day, you know he cares about you and that's very important in developing a coach-player relationship."
Chad Pennington was an eight-year veteran of the NFL as the main QB for the New York Jets when he landed in Miami in 2008 at the same time Lee did as the Dolphins' QB coach.
Pennington had one of his best years in '08 and Miami's offense got the spark it needed from the Wildcat formation that Lee introduced into the system.
"Coach Lee is very innovative and creative," said Pennington, who quarterbacked Marshall when the Rebels played in the 1997 Motor City Bowl. "We were really struggling running the ball and David brought in the Wildcat formation. We started getting good rushing yardage, it created an offensive spark and we rallied around it.
"David deserves a lot of the credit for our success that year."
Like Romo, however, Pennington wanted to talk about Lee as a person before he delved any further into his coaching prowess.
"David is a first class person. His character, integrity and the way he cares about people made my three years with him the most enjoyable years of my career," Pennington continued. "That automatically sets up a working relationship that will lead to success because you develop trust and communication.
"It also set up an environment where he was not afraid to coach me with constructive criticism. He's a passionate person and passionate coach and that gives you more passion for your craft."
From a quarterbacking standpoint, Pennington, who is four weeks removed from shoulder surgery (his fourth) and aiming at a 2011 comeback, continued the praise of his former mentor.
"David is the best technician I have ever been around. He makes sure you are fundamentally sound, he is great at recognizing and correcting your flaws and he's understands the position intimately because he played it on the collegiate level," Pennington noted.
"David can read your emotions and he just gets it. He knows the pressure of the position and what it feels like to play in every kind of situation. He adjusts his coaching accordingly, no matter what you are going through."
Pennington is excited for Ole Miss on two counts – his admiration of David Lee and an introduction he got last summer with Houston Nutt, who visited Lee in Miami last summer.
"I got to meet Coach Nutt with David last summer and you could tell the chemistry they have with each other. We sat down for a long time and talked about passing game concepts and offensive strategy. I learned a lot in that session from those two," he explained. "There is no doubt in my mind that the two of them together will be a fantastic match for Ole Miss football."