We’re back! After a week off for the holidays, we’re so pleased to present our interview Coach Artie for this week’s spotlight. Artie trains as a football coach out of Walnut Creek, California — he was the defensive coordinator and linebacker coach at Cal + USC, as well as the special teams and linebackers coach with the Oakland Raiders and st. Louis Rams in the NFL. Feel free to reach out to Artie for some one-on-one training if you live in his area — you can book sessions with him from his profile page. Read on to learn about Artie’s extensive coaching experience and find out what drives him as a coach. Let’s go!
CoachUp: Why did you decide to become a private coach?
Artie Gigantino: I love the coaching profession — I spent 25+ years as a major college and NFL coach. When I left the coaching profession, I always had an empty feeling like I was missing something in life. Joining CoachUp has filled that void by allowing me to continue to be involved in coaching athletes and interacting with their families.
CU: What do you enjoy most about coaching?
AG: The list is so long; however if the answer needs to be condensed and placed in some order it would be:
- Interaction with the players.
- The journey of creating a team and individual plan, teaching it, watching it develop, and hopefully have success when tested.
- Being part of an athlete’s life. Parents and coaches have the biggest influence on young people and to be part of that was and is the most rewarding.
- The lifetime friendships that are developed after the athlete’s career ends. Watching them become adults and going down their own paths in life is an incredible feeling.
CU: What can a client expect from private lessons with you?
AG: A client can expect 100% passion and a professional, well-thought-out plan. I am extremely detailed and have the ability to cater a teaching plan to the client’s needs and abilities. I will not take on a client who does not have the passion or the determination to improve. Lastly, I make a point to go beyond the norm of just coaching a session. I will attend my client’s games and write up reports to the parents on the progress being made.
CU: What is your coaching style or philosophy?
AG: My coaching style is simple: passion and realistic drills. Passion is easy to define — you love what you do or you don’t. The drill part is more complex. I create realistic training drills in my coaching sessions. For example in football — great coaches can create a learning environment without having to tackle someone or without wearing a helmet and shoulder pads. Finally, it is the coach’s fault if an athlete gets bored and stops paying attention or loses their focus — you’ve always got to keep it interesting and challenging.
CU: What is your favorite moment in your athletic career?
AG: There are a few — winning three Rose Bowls at USC and being part of a Super Bowl with the Raiders would rank up there for sure. CU: Do you have any success stories from coaching an athlete? AG: Too many to list: I’ve had athletes who have become first round draft picks, All-Americans, and All-Pros. The one success story I might be the proudest of is from college. As a PE major we were required to take a course in atypical PE, today, this is now what the Special Olympics basically are. The course was divided into two parts — six weeks of classroom work and six weeks of practical application working with these disadvantaged students. During the last 10 minutes of each session we would take the 20+ kids and teach them a skill in football. It was a great experience that was capped off in the last session when the kids actually executed a football play. We taught these kids how to snap the ball, hand it off, and run with it. You would have thought we won the Super Bowl when we were able to finally put a whole football play together. I have a picture on the wall of my home office of those kids from many years ago in a gym in Bridgeport, Connecticut.
CU: What is your favorite sports related movie?
AG: North Dallas 40.
CU: Do you have any special talents or a surprising thing someone might not know about you?
AG: I spent 8 years with CBS and FOX as a game and studio football analyst. I was with the number one team on our national broadcasts.
CU: Who is your favorite coach and why?
AG: My high school football coach, Joe Gutowski. I grew to love football while playing for him and I realized the dedication and focus it took to be a champion. When coaching in the Rose Bowl for the first time at USC, Coach Gutowski was the first person I called and invited to the game — a great coach can do wonders for an athlete and he means that much to me. Thanks for taking the time, Artie! We have so many coaches at so many different levels and skills, but it’s rare that we get the viewpoint from someone as experienced and distinguished as Coach Artie! What was your favorite part? What can you take away from these sentiments? For any football players in the Northern California area looking to work with a coach who has experience training players at the highest level, we’d recommend reaching out to Coach Artie and get training!