Manny Matsakis

Episode 7: Sarah Hogan (Atlanta Falcons)

Interview with Sarah Hogan

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During the 2020 AFCA Convention, Manny sat down with Sarah Hogan (formerly Gigantino) to catch up and discuss her success in the football world. The daughter of Episode 5 guest Greg Gigantino, Sarah has known Manny for quite some time. Currently she is the Head Coach Operations Coordinator on the Atlanta Falcons, and she explains to Manny what that job entails while also reliving some great experiences from her career. A great listen for anyone looking to learn more about the administrative side of a football organization!

Summary: During the 2020 AFCA Convention, Manny sat down with Sarah Hogan (formerly Gigantino) to catch up and discuss her success in the football world. The daughter of Episode 5 guest Greg Gigantino, Sarah has known Manny for quite some time. Currently she is the Head Coach Operations Coordinator on the Atlanta Falcons, and she explains to Manny what that job entails while also reliving some great experiences from her career. A great listen for anyone looking to learn more about the administrative side of a football organization!

(00:00)- Introduction

Manny: Welcome to episode seven of the Manny Matsakis Show, where we give you insight on how to win on the field and optimize your life. Today, I have a special guest with me, and she is Sarah Gigantino Hogan. Last week, we spoke to her father, longtime legendary defensive coordinator Greg Gigantino. And right now, I've decided that it's time for everybody to be introduced to the first female that I'm interviewing on the show, and Sarah has lived football throughout her life and she currently is the coordinator of head coach operations for the Atlanta Falcons, she's heading into her fifth/ six year coming up with the Falcons. Joined the organization as a coordinator of scouting administration, back in May of 2015 and moved into her current role, working for Dan Quinn in January of 2016, enjoy this episode. Sarah's fantastic. I think it'd be a lot of fun to hear her talk about aspects of football, that as a coach, it's important to understand that administrative side. Welcome Sarah, how’s it going?

Sarah: Going great! Thank you so much. How are you?

Manny: So, a high pressure profession of the National Football League. Wow. How do you like that?

Sarah: It is quite interesting, especially when you're on a very, very long season when you start off. Rocky, and then we pick it up midway through the year and it's definitely been a journey, you know, our first year there we were 8-8 and then the next year we were in the Super Bowl so from there We've learned a lot, that we're we're going. It's been great.

Manny: Well you finished strong.

Sarah: Yeah.

Manny: That's, that's amazing and we'll get to everything with the Atlanta Falcons. You know your role and how you've gotten there. But, you know, I just want to go back aways when. Sarah Hogan is by her maiden name, Gigantino.

Sarah: That's right. Now my middle name. Can’t get rid of that one.

(02:22)- Sarah’s father Greg

Manny: Uh huh, comes from a tremendous football family. You know your dad in my estimation is one of the top defensive coordinators in the country over the years. Just has been fantastic. Like at Hofstra and he had a really good run at Bryant and helped build that program into a Top FCS level program. Coached A lot of great players.

Sarah: Absolutely.

Manny: And, you know, he and I coached together for three years. You were tiny. At that point.

Sarah: Yeah I think I was 10.

Manny: Yeah, wow.

Sarah: Unbelievable.

Manny: It is unbelievable.

Sarah: I mean we go back that far. It’s incredible that I'm actually sitting here doing this with you right now.

Manny: Pretty neat.

Sarah: It’s great!

Manny: So you go back to that. Your uncle Arty. You know, another NFL coach.

Sarah: Another big name in the business so everyone automatically assumes that he's my dad. Like, people will be like oh is Arty your father? Like they recognize Gigantino.

Manny: Isn’t that crazy?

Sarah: Especially people on the west coast.

(03:27)- Sarah’s strong passion for the game

Manny: Sure. Yeah, and I could see that, you know, when you grew up in football. And I think what our listeners and people are watching this. The other day we're sitting there talking. I'm telling Sarah about my daughter, who works in New York City in the fashion industry, she works for Diane Von Furstenberg, and Sarah goes, I don’t know who that is... If it's not football. I don't care.

Sarah: It’s true.

Manny: Yeah, so she is totally into the game because you grew up in the game.

Sarah: That's right.

Manny: You know you've been around great football coaches. Just because of your father, really, initially, like how it all got going.

Sarah: Absolutely, that’s right.

Manny: And we're all you know we're all very fortunate from the experiences we have but at some point,

you know, that connection, you ended up doing some amazing things on your own. you know, I mean you got in because of yout father.

Sarah: Exactly, got a foot in the door.

(04:18)- Start of a career

Manny: Yeah and just had to go from there right? so you know you graduate from James Madison. Remembered that. And, you know, you got into the football administrative type deal with the New York Jets.

Sarah: Yeah, well First, right off the bat when I went to school, my dad's like, I don't care what you're doing while you're at JMU, you're going to volunteer in the football office like that was not an option so I, it was second nature for me to go in there and help the coaches and the secretaries and I loved it, I went in there every almost every day for four years. At that time I had no clue I even wanted to work in football, I just did it because that's what, you know?

Manny: You felt most comfortable.

Sarah: Yeah! I felt with the coaches I had to be around them and felt like I was at home when I was around them. So, that's when it started, and not knowing, and then, sorry, not knowing that I was going to be interning with the Jets during the summers but I actually changed my major to become sports management, and that was because I think it was because when I started the whole jet thing and then realizing I wanted to do something in sports I didn't know what it was going to be.

Manny: So that's what he did in the summers.

Sarah: I did that for 3 summers.

Manny: Okay, take us there, so you got in the door, how’d it work?

Sarah: So Dad, you know they were on Hofstra’s campus. Doing their training camp.

Manny: Just across the street.

Sarah: So he just, he called John Griffin, who's the Director of scouting and he said hey John do you guys do internships in the summer and John's like yeah we do we have you know summer interns at college, that are in college that come in and help scouts and help me get prep done and so of course I know that it was couldn't have been a better opportunity for me and I lived on long Island, because that was where home was anyway so it was the best opportunity that I ever had, especially being a college student.

Manny: It's like a dream job. And, you know, when you first got this, there weren't a lot of women

Sarah: Correct.

Manny: Yeah, not a lot of women now you know because of your name they say oh, she's a football person. So that helps.

Sarah: Yes!

Manny: No question. But then as you start to get into it. What did you notice, just working with the Jets, what type of responsibility did you have? I mean I know you're involved in helping out. What does that mean?

Sarah: That’s an awesome question because I didn't know anything about the NFL and how it worked. So, I’m at the Jets, I'm doing scouting and turns and I'm like what other things could I do for an NFL team. Okay, well, you're a woman so you could you could administrative assistant, or you could go work in community relations, or you work in marketing, and I'm just like, that's not what I want to do I don't want to be a scout or coach by any means, you know I want to something more operational. And so, kind of seeing all the different facets at the NFL. I just took all the opportunities that I could at a time as an intern, and then parlayed it into becoming like a well rounded Operations Support person.

Manny: Yes. And then after the Jets, after you graduated from James Madison, what's the next step for you?

Sarah: So I knew I wanted to get a master's degree, and I knew I could get it paid for if I did it inCampus Rec. So I actually went to yeah I got, I went and I got into Georgia Tech. I was a ga at Georgia Tech so I worked 40 hours. 40 hours a week which was like, 90 hours a week at the Rec Center and they paid for my schooling and I did two years. And I thought I actually wanted to go into rec, and by the time I was done with a Master's working full time that was a great experience. I just, it was not I knew it was not for me. And I did miss the athletic realm. So then that's when I went into college athletics after that at Maryland.

Manny: Okay. So who was the coach at Maryland?.

Sarah: So Ralph Frieden. Actually it was. I applied blind, I didn't know anyone it was, it was like an internship coordinator of facilities at athletic facilities and so I just applied blind and I actually got it and they took a chance on me because I was, I was doing recreation facilities, and this one was for the Comcast center and football field, so I wasn't working with the football team. And so I was like oh, maybe I'll just go to college to what I was doing in Rec. Well then, that's, at Maryland, where I discovered the actual position of Director of Football Operations, and I started working with them a little bit. I worked with him a lot and I was like, that's what I want to do.

Manny: Who were some of the coaches in Maryland at the time? That was James Franklin and those guys were all there, so it was a big staff.

Manny: Wow!

Sarah: It was big time. I wish I'd done more with them. I'll tell you I was very close with Gary Williams and his basketball staff Because their offices are right across the street, I mean right across the hall and I did everything with them. Kinda funny but.

Manny: Yeah, so Mayland, and then what?

(08:57)-DFO position

Sarah: So then I left Maryland to go to Hawaii, my little sister, she was at school at UH, Manoa and I was like you know what, I need to, if I really want to go do this I gotta do it now because I don't you know my career is gonna start. Once I left Maryland, went to Hawaii for about three or four months and then when you know the day that I landed on Oahu I got a phone call from Eddie Davis who was at JMU. You know he was the offensive coordinator at JMU when he sat there and that Northeastern. Our administrative assistant job just opened. Would you be interested? And I'm like, Okay, yes, college football I, you know, like I said before, I didn't want to be administrative assistant per se, but he basically told me Look, we don't have an operations person here so you could come and you could build it into that. And so by the time the interview process got rolling. I was out in Hawaii for those three months got back, went to Boston, interviewed, and another place that took a big chance on me. They didn't know me, I didn't have a whole lot of real experience. And they they hired me and I pretty much learned everything from the coaches and I took away all those operational responsibilities for my coaches so they could coach, and I became the director of football ops till we dropped the program.

Manny: Because back in those days and there's a transition. Really the administrative assistants were the football ops.

Sarah: Absolutely.

Manny: At some point it was named football ops.

Sarah: That’s right. Well, and also the woman before me with a very traditional role, Monday through Friday nine to five, so when I got there I'm like, When am I leaving for the game? Let's go, and they were like, why are you coming to the game, they were shocked that I, the administrative assistant wanted to come to the games and I think that’s when they knew I was dead serious about taking this role on.

(10:40)-Sad reality of schools dropping football programs.

Manny: Exactly. Now, it’s sort of bizarre because you say Northeastern and they used to be a really good football program and East Coast, and then they dropped football. Did you see Northeastern and they used to be a really good football program on the East Coast, and then they dropped football.

Sarah: That was the worst experience I've ever been a part of, however it directly led me to where I'm sitting today, in the NFL because we dropped that program the day after our last game in 2009. I vowed to stay there and to help my kids get out of that school transfer to go play football. We must have had over 100 college coaches coming in to look at these kids because they could transfer wherever they wanted to. And lo and behold of God that coach that retain the Georgia State is one of the coaches that came in to recruit one of my kids and he remembered me helping him, try to get this kid into his school and that's why I kept my job at Georgia State, and then that's also how I met my husband, because he was the same coach, he introduced me to his brother in law,

Manny: Oh my god.

Sarah: So it changed my life tremendously and I still keep in touch with a lot of the northeastern players and coaches and when you go through something like that with a group of people, you have the bond, it's hard 10 years ago.

Manny: Yeah, 10 years ago.

Sarah: Yeah I can’t believe it.

Manny: It wasn't within a year or two after that when Hofstra dropped football.

Sarah: It was the same year but Hofstra kept their coaches that everybody on for three weeks.

Yes. I remember. That was a tragedy. I mean I, to this day, I just, I don't know.

Sarah: It’s hard.

Manny: Yeah, it's hard with those guys went through

Sarah: absolutely

Manny: all theplayers and it was just, i don’t know. I guess. I don't really care because I don't know anybody

that was there. It was just low

Sarah: Hofstra was a real powerhouse.

Manny: Oh no doubt.

Sarah: That’s amazing that we still have, you know, all the coaches on my current staff are Hofstra guys.

Manny: Yeah.

Sarah: Yeah. quinny, Lance, etc.

Manny: Oh yeah,played for your dad.

Sarah: That's right. He’s been in the NFL for a while so,

Manny: Yeah. Wow, so look at that. you go to Georgia State.

Sarah: Also when Northeastern dropped I didn't start looking for jobs right away.

Manny: Yeah.

Sarah: And then I started, and this Georgia State position came up and when I left there for grad school I said I'm never moving back to Atlanta. I hate it there. I was like such a immature like college brat, so my SID comes into meetings and he’s like, Sarah the job at Georgia State, they just start the program, there's a CFO job, and I’m like, I’m not gonna go there. so I look into it a little bit, guess who one of the athletic directors is, it’smy boss from the University of Maryland.

Manny: What?

Sarah: So I call him I'm like James I'm like what's up like the whole situation. He's like, yeah, let's get you down here to interview for it so I went down interviewed with Coach curry and the place had transformed since I've been there last and they were so supportive and behind this football program. And I was like, I would be lucky to get this job,

Manny: Right!

Sarah: and it was a 1AA, same conference, it was a perfect fit for me.

Manny: It was like rising from the ashes. I mean that’s amazing.

Sarah: Yeah, I was down there and started work at the end of January and then we moved from division 1AA to 1A within three years. And then at that point there was only one other woman doing that role in 1A, at a 1A, level so it was kind of. It was really special that I was able to do it now there's a lot more but.

Manny: Sure, yeah. You guys were Trail Blazers that time so you do that. And so you work for two coaches there. Correct?

Sarah: That's right, Bill curry, he started the program level, and then turn, he retired and Trent Miles stepped in from Indiana State, and he's the one that kept me on. And tried to sneak attack me and introduce me to his brother in law and next thing you know, him and I are married now so yeah and it was just, I don't know what the luck was that Coach Quinn, ended up getting the Atlanta Falcons job, I don't know what kind of-

Manny: Well he was a great defensive coordinator, obviously with The Seahawks.

Sarah: Oh, yeah the absolute best.

Manny: no doubt. So, you know, you got a Hofstra guy there. It's almost like if you've coached at Hofstras, then you’re a Hofstra guy.

Sarah: Totally.

Manny: It's like they all know

Sarah: Everybody knows each other even though you weren't there together.

(14:25)- Hofstra connections

Manny: You follow each other. I can remember coaching at Widener and I was up at the Meadowlands. And at the time, Kyle Flood was the head coach at Rutgers.

Sarah: Yes!

Manny: You know, and I'm there with my buddy, the head coach at Widener, I was the OC over there. You know, and then he goes he was introduced himself, you know to Kyle. And then, as he is I think as he's shaking his hand they look over and says, “Is that Manny Matsakis?” Like it’s Kyle, you know that’s crazy. I had never coached with him.

Sarah: Oh that’s right he was after you.

Manny: Right yeah

Sarah: So funny.

Manny: We all knew each other.

Sarah: That's very cool yeah and I, you know, other than going back to like saying it's families on our current staff right now there's five of us that are Hofstra people, I include myself in that and it truly feels like I'm working with family because these are people I've known for over 20 years. I'll never forget when I was at Georgia State, we went out and played U Dub, and me and one of our coaches got in the car and drove over to see Quinny at the Seahawks facility. And I remember telling him I know you're gonna be a coach one day, I want to be your assistant. And that was like a 2014. I don't remember what year it was but yeah, it was way before he became head coach and so

Manny: And there you were. So you had the opportunity how'd you get into, obviously, the connection with him. How did it all transpire?

(15:48)- Title and responsibilities of the DFO

Sarah: Well the initial connection was I was in the scout, they hired me to work in the scouting department because the position was open. And so it was really good, it was translated well from Georgia State had a lot of relations talking, sending the scouts to colleges. I've been to all these colleges. I know the DFO’s and it was good communication. And then after the 2015 season they moved me over to be his executive assistant. Well, not my jam. I wanted to be his assistant but like more of an operational role, I'd like to do more. And so he kind of talked about it and let me pick the title in the lab we figured it out. I've been doing so much more involved with like the team travel and operations on the team. It's been awesome.

Manny: Yes, alright so it has been what? Five years?

Sarah: Yeah we just finished our fifth season.

Manny: Yeah, so your role there, for people that want to get into operation or just want to see what this is all about and

What do you do?

Sarah: Well this is the way I best explain my job. The whole time I’ve been in operations. I tried my best. I try my best to eliminate distractions for the players and coaches. At this junctior mostly just for the coaches so I take anything off their plate that they don't need to be worrying about so that they can focus on X's and O's.

Manny: Like what?

Sarah: So when we're doing stuff with the families for trips, I’m not gonna even communicate with the coaches, I have a weekly email that goes out to the wives, so I'm communicating with wives on all matters for away games, travel and all that.

Manny: Because their husband wouldn’t tell them what’s going on.

Sarah: No exactly! So just cut them out completely and they appreciate it so I started that at Georgia State too. Weekly emails to the wives with the emails. Even to this day they say that's the best thing ever. We don't do that in any other school. So I think it's so important to get them on board. Other things that I help with. I play the music at practice.

Manny: Really?

(17:41)-DJ Jiggy

Sarah: I've been DJing for four seasons and I call myself DJ Jiggy.

Manny: Okay!

Sarah: It is hilarious,Damontae Kazee started calling me Aunty Sarah.

Manny: Don't

Sarah: It’s funny but it’s been a really fun part to do that.

Manny: Do you pick the song?

Sarah: I do.

Manny: Really?

Sarah: I have a playlist now that's about 800 songs, and I play as we go.

Manny: Okay, I need this.You need to give me some of these songs.

Sarah: And it’s all clean.

Manny: Yeah we need this because we try to do some music at our practices. And the players like that.

Sarah: I can hook you up. I have a DJ website that I subscribe to. Here you’ll love this one though. So I, my first season of doing it I go on the bi-week and I go home to New York. I’m in Long Beach at a bar and there was a DJ there. So I’m like what's up? I’m a DJ too, so I start talking to the guy. So I was like, I have a question for you. Where do you get your music? I'm looking for clean music, you know he showed me this website. This is great, you know you pay X amount, you get unlimited downloads.

Manny: What’s the website?

Sarah: Mp3pool online. Right, so it's $20 a month, unlimited downloads clean and dirty. Great, perfect. So we talked for a little bit. He's like alright well he's like, what’s your DJ name? I go, DJ Jiggy. And he goes, wait like Jiggy, like Gigantino? And I was like, I’m sorry what? Yes. How do you know that? he goes oh I played for Greg Gigantino at Hofstra.

Manny: Get the heck outta here.

Sarah: He played at Hofstra! Yeah.

Manny: Wow!

Sarah: And then I ended up going back to Long Island for a break and co DJing with him at a club.

Manny: Really?

Sarah: Oh it was hysterical. I’m definitely into that.

Manny: Okay. Definitely for people subscribed to the podcast and listen. I want to put that link on there, on the website.

Sarah: Okay. Yeah you should.

Manny: Because that is an issue especially college because you’re always looking for, there’s a certain like beat you want, and players like but they're not clean, then you know, like presidents and ADs or whatever, they get all upset.

Sarah: Or the media, yep. I’ll definitely share it with you. It’s a great resource, and highschool friends.

Manny: I just need the songs because like what I listened to is not what they listen to.

Sarah: Exactly! Right, Every day, the DJs all over the world are uploading songs. So how am I supposed to know what the new songs are so now I don't have to worry about it. So I’ll definitely share that with you.

Manny: That’d be great. I appreciate it.

(19:45)- Advantages of being a coaches’ kid.

Sarah: Another thing I was gonna add when you were asking me about like you know my job, my role, it's really cool that I get to be in my role because I am a coach's kid, and I totally understand these guys. People who didn’t grow up in football, they don't necessarily understand just I don't know the empathy and all this stuff that goes into it so I it's so cool that I was brought up in that and it's such a natural fit for me to be around these guys and tell me that some of the players are just like I know you're just like, really chill really good I'm just like, because I've been around you guys since I was zero so it comes naturally, so it's been it's been really cool. My dad is like my biggest mentor so.

Manny: Yeah, he is and he’s proud of you. I know that and just, I think one year I remember, I mean I had obviously met you when you were really young but it was a few years I think I was at the, mmm I can’t remember the year but I was coaching in the CFL or something and you guys came to the senior bowl.

Sarah: That’s right.

Manny: and we have like a little deal or reception. Like hey this is Sarah! And I was like what? You know and we’re talking and he said, she's gonna she's, in football! I was like what?! This is great! And at that point, I really, even though there were others. Not very many, but you were the first one to me like that is just brilliant, you know, to have a female-

Sarah: Right

(21:00)- Balance of men and women in the profession

Manny: In this profession. Because I noticed as a coach all these years it's like, you need that.

Sarah: Yes. There needs to be a balance.

Manny: I think you need it and you’re seeing it more and more at the big schools but it helps in recruiting. You know, when parent s come on visits.

Sarah: Yep, absolutely.

Manny: Rather than just the wives there, but with their football program person, which really helps and it just all relates and puts it together. I noticed that. Not to knock my coaches in places I’ve Been, but most women I know are much more organized.

Sarah: Right, and they don’t want to be a Coach, I mean you want to be the operations and the organized. That was my other selling point where like, why, why shouldn't women be able to do operations it’s perfect.

Manny: Totally, yes and even today. And I was gonna ask you about this. There's a few women out there actually coaching.

Sarah: Yes!

Manny: Like the 49ers, they have an assistant coach.

Sarah: Yeah she was with us at the Falcons.

Manny: Oh really?

Sarah: Yeah, Katie Sowers.

Manny: Yeah And then there was one before I actually think she wrote a book and I follow her on Twitter. I can't remember her name. She was one of the first, or maybe the first one.

Sarah: Yeah, I know who you are talking about, yep. I don't remember anything about her but I totally know who you’re talking about. And then there’s a girl with the Texans as well who I’ve heard very good things about as well. It's just not something that I'm interested in.

Manny: I think it’s good for the profession.

Sarah: Yes, I agree, I think it’s great. And there’s women’s tackle football out there now, there’s women’s flag football out there now so they have women that didn’t get to grow up and play it and understand it like a coach would.

Manny: It’s great because in the end, you’re coaching it. And the great coaches are great teachers.

Sarah: That’s exactly right.

Manny: You know, so it doesn’t matter your gender to do that.

Sarah: Exactly!

Manny: I don’t believe so, And if you're intense and you believe in it you can sell it. It's great, you can do that. So, the Falcons. Okay, you guys obviously you're talking about you guys had a good run, this season. Ended up on a high note.

Sarah: Right.

(23:15)-Responsibilities with Coach Quinn

Manny: And what you're doing there, and by title. It's like you’re coach Quinn's right hand person.

Sarah: Assistant. Right, sure absolutely!

Manny: I mean, that is what that entails. So what is your interaction with him? I mean how does that… you know, on a regular basis you know how do you guys work together and so forth.

Sarah: I mean, it’s all day every day. It’s everything he's doing I know where he is, I know what the next thing is so I try to keep him on track so that when he’s at something he’s not worrying about what his next thing is

Manny: Do you keep a schedule for him?

Sarah: Yeah, because he knows I’m gonna come get him for everything so I'm working on that all day as I'm working on other things. Like regular things throughout the day.

Manny: Alright so take us through that. I’ve always been intrigued, I mean It's funny like when I was the head coach at Texas State. Okay. And it was the first time I had, and it wasn’t a football operations because I had an administrative assistant. I hate to admit it. I didn't know what to do with them. I mean I was just like, well I’m still gonna do everything.

Sarah: So you were self sufficient, I got ya.

Manny: I had various staff meetings, and you do those don’t you?

Sarah: Yeah

Manny: I had no clue. I was like I don't know what to do. And I don't think a lot of guys when they become head coaches, that's not… You don’t understand the power it can give you. I’m talking about the power to get things done.

Sarah: Totally.

Manny: Right,

Sarah: exactly.

Manny: So take me through how can a coach- Let’s say there's somebody out there that's coaching, your first head coaching job,and you have a football operations person. What do you do?

Sarah: Honestly, it’s different for every coach like you said like you just don't know what to do with them so Coach Quinn has to do a lot to us so I handle the off the field stuff and then Steve kornacki handles the on the field stuff so his title is assistant to the head coach and I’m the coordinator of head coach operations so we really are the backbone. Steve does more of the team stuff. And then I'll do everything like off the field pertaining to coaches, but it's there is no day, like the other, every day is different. There's so many obligations that Quinnie has that are not with football I mean we do a good job managing them but he just gets pulled in a lot of directions and not in a bad way it's just when you're a head coach of an NFL team you've got four press conferences a week, you've got radio shows to do, so I have to weave all that in with the staff meetings and the team, all the team functions.

Manny: So you keep his master.

Sarah: I keep his Master and then now this year we have a new app that we use for the player schedules that I help Steve with and he helps me with that I manage that so it's been really great because I've gotten a better idea on how to fit everything together, with the team stuff, Quinn’s stuff media everything that he does.

(25:47)-Different coaches’ schedules

Manny: Okay, so we're just, you know, I think it was a few years ago I might have been Sports Illustrated or something I was reading an article. It was talking about John Harbaugh And it was interesting he had like his week, and they would like to lock it in. When you wake up to when it goes to bed and then look at the schedule. Okay, I mean I've been with some guys at work, crazy hours and all this stuff. What's his schedule like with the falcons, coach Quinn.

Sarah: he works late, umm he’s really good about like you know I'm done for the day. I don't have to stay until he goes home, you know, he’ll be watching film and stuff. so yeah i mean he's. I've never driven in that parking lot when his car has not been there,when I leave or drive in so he is an early morning and late night, for sure, but he's really good about always going home and always not bringingwork home with him. So, I think he tries to do all the work. I think he values the home life. He does a good job, balancing that.

Manny: Does he work out?

Sarah: Yeah, we have peloton bikes, one in his office, one in Brian's office, so he has no excuse.

Manny: Really?

Sarah: Now we do we work out, we put a heavy emphasis actually on everybody working out because it's just so important. got to get up and get moving so I like that a lot.

Manny: Yeah, I think balances it out because in this profession as you know you've been around so many coaches and they all handle stress differently.

Sarah: That's right.

Manny: Working out is really critical because you see guys, not to knock them because I've seen some guys who just don't.

Sarah: Right, of course.

Manny: You know, coach Friedgen probably didn't work out a lot, you know, and he's a fantastic football coach. Unbelievable. You know, and, but I think in this day and age, if somebody wants to coach for a long time.

You better take care of yourself

Sarah: You better be in shape, you're one of the guys that run around fast now practices are a lot faster than they used to be. My husband And I talk about that a lot because he's a high school football coach So literally, when Trent was still in Georgia, I was getting on every level so Friday we would go to JP’s game, and then Saturday we go to the Georgia State game because trent was the head coach and so they would go to my game. So the one year where I think my husband counted we went to like 67 football games in one season or something. All levels, college pro everything. It was hysterical, but him and I talked about that a lot because he always, he's big workout guy too and just how you know he's just got to be able to keep up and take care of yourself.

Manny: So, okay, let's go back to Coach Quinn for a second okay just for my own curiosity okay so he works out. But when does he get to the office?

Sarah: by six I would say so.

Manny: Okay,

Sarah: If I had to say,I guess.

Manny: Yeah, and then does he like to work out at the beginning of the day, or when is his like scheduled time?

Sarah: Yeah, usually he'll do it at the beginning, or if not I'll just like try to do a midday. So, I don't you know when I go in the gym during the day when the players are in there so I don't sometimes I don't even know when he does. But he’s good about it.

Manny: How about staff meetings and so forth a typical day How does he handle those things. What is organizational plan?

Sarah: We like doing morning staff meeting every day. During the season, and

Manny: Is that everybody?

Sarah: Yeah, including equipment and medical.

Manny: Trainers and so forth?

Sarah: Yeah video just to get everybody on the same page,

Manny: how long is the staff meeting usually last?

Sarah: During the season, it's like 10 minutes, it's very quick it's a very quick start to the day.

Manny: So is it just an informational deal, like hey I'm giving you info or there's no reports or anything is there?

Sarah: Yeah, I would say it's more of like info, like here’s the practice plan today. Here's what we're adjusting on the walkthrough and all that.

Manny: does he have any, You know I was just gonna say. As the head coach, you know the product in the endis his, you know, but where's he more involved?

Sarah: It was an interesting year this year because he started out he was calling the defense so it was definitely. It was different because of that, because in the past, he was just involved with some of the defensive planning and now this past year for the beginning he was doing. He was the coordinator. So then once that changed over we kinda shuffled people around and freed him up a little bit more he wasn't in any defensive meetings but I know when the players are meeting he's always. He's always meeting with the players, when the D-Line is meeting he's in there,

Manny: Really?

Sarah: No doubt.

Manny: Is that his expertise?

Sarah: D-Line, yep.

Manny: Okay, so he was head coach, pass rush specialist. yes I love that. Okay, so that's as a head coach in it, and he's over it. at the same time so working with a position that He is an expert in.

Sarah: Right.

Manny: And, and he's involved in that facet of the game. I assume that and how do they handle the offensive side of the ball does he have any meetings with those guys?

Sarah: Yeah, I think he sits in on those meetings, like, I don't know how often during the season but Dirk Koetter is our Offensive Coordinator. So, I think he just lets them do their own thing, for the most part I’m sure he's not in there telling them what plays to run and all that.

Manny: I’ve seen some guys try, like Belichick.

Sarah: Oh, really? That’s funny.

Manny: Guy tries to do everything. But Imean he trusts the other people, I mean he’s got some great coordinators that's what they do. Yeah, so that's that's interesting the way that works so when, When the season is over. Right. And I think a lot of people out there like if you're in high school or college you know every annual calendar is different at every level

Sarah: right

Manny: You know I’ve coached High School, college, a little bit time up in the Canadian League, and every place was different, just the levels are different. So when-

(31:12)- Year round career work

Sarah: Well first of all, my favorite question people ask me and the coaches. So do you guys like, do you still work at the Falcons during the spring. They literally think we only work during the season, but our CSR in a typical like right now we're going through a little time off and then we'll do with but we're also doing senior bowl and all that, and then we have the combine coming up so the majority of our time-

Manny: Are you guys hosting the senior bowl this year?

Sarah: No we're not

Manny: So you’re just prepping.

Sarah: Just prepping, a lot of my coaches will go just to watch the practices. Which is great, so Right now we're literally prepping for all the college stuff, video and all the guys that we like and then free agency. And then once that, you know, that's all we're doing until the draft starts. And then our offseason program will also start the week before the draft so the guys will be in doing their workouts and stuff, all together, and then we'll have the draft and then before you know it it's rookie minicamp, and then Vet mini camp and we're practicing it's great! OTAs. And that's, that's my favorite part I mean it's just back to football, and when the players come back. You know how it is. they're gone for so long.

Manny: It's exciting.

Sarah: Yeah. It's very cyclical like you said, and it's just every place is different

Manny: What are the vacations for NFL coaches?

Sarah: I would say. Around this time Now usually they'll

Manny: take a little break.

Sarah: take a break and then around the owners meetings, usually. From that time which is in March, end of March.

Manny: And then do they get a little bit of a break right before training camp too?

Sarah: Yeah, we get a chunk off in the summer, which is great and that's the other thing that I've been very fortunate where he has, because I do work a lot of hours and I am allowed to, you know, take off for those weeks in the summer that the coaches get off so it's been, it's awesome. We work seven days a week for six months straight people don't get that it is in play this year I traveled to all the games that it was literally I was like, Oh, okay. No days off but it was fine, you know, I love it doesn't feel like work when you love your job and you love your boss so very lucky. I really can't say enough about how an awesome human being Dan Quinn is to everybody, players, coaches, everyone in the building, just everyone top to bottom.

(33:10)- Dan Quinn

Manny: Really? What are his best traits you think as a leader.

Sarah: He's probably the most genuine person I've ever been around, he's just he's always giving people compliments and just trying to build people up, and that's his biggest I think it's best attribute for sure,

Manny: Does he really know the guy's playing for him?

Sarah: Yeah, yeah. He I mean he tries, he I mean he yeah he absolutely he's really really good at making connection.

Manny: Very good!It’s those personal connections. Yeah, I mean that's interesting,

Sarah: very interested in yeah what they're doing outside of I mean I'll give you a perfect example, my second year with him, he said, Do you think this would be possible, can we get every single player, coach, Wife, and Kids birthdays on my calendar. And I was like, is this guy nuts? There's no way. So I did it, I get it. We send flowers and gifts, every birthday to every single player, every single coach, wife and child. He doesn't care, out of his own pocket.

Manny: Really?

Sarah: That’s just little things that he does when he wants to connect with people. That's something that he could do to say, Here's from your from your Falcons family.

(34:20)- Wives and family interaction

Manny: You know, talk about a family atmosphere. Like, before, you talked about how you have been able to connect the wives to the game and what their husbands are doing.

Sarah: Right.

Manny: That’s just great because often times these guys are up before everybody gets up and then they come back and the kids are in bed already so they’re dealing with that you know? It’s like, how do you do that? I mean keep the wives really informed?

Sarah: That’s a great question. This is something I’ve been involving with since Georgia State. Because when I did it there, I saw how well it worked. So, the first thing off the bat if we hire a new coach I asked him for his wife's cell phone number. And I call her personally and I'm like hey, I want you to, I want to welcome you to the family. Here's my name, here's my job, here's what I can do, I can answer any questions I've been in Atlanta 10 years now I can help you with some stuff I mean, you know, I don't have kids so I can't help you find your kids school but I can help you with anything you need help with. If you have a question just text me, I'm always here for you. So I start that off. I'll do an email introduction for the new wife and all the current wives. And then during the season, they'll get a weekly email from me just saying like, What can I get for you, as far as for the pregame, passes, tickets, and all that stuff to the games and let me know who’s coming hotel rooms and constant stream of communication, and they know they can call me text me anytime they need to, and then that way they're not bothering their husbands at work and they feel like they're in the know and it's so important.

Manny: Yeah, because I know as a coach it’s so difficult, because you're, you're immersed in what you're doing. And a lot of people have no, and the outside world,

Sarah: Oh, they have no concept

Manny: yeah they don't know what you're locked into and even, and it's not like it's a constant, watching film all day. Sometimes you gotta get away from it so when you recharge to watch it again you can actually absorb material better. And then, then you get a call from home, you know, and it's like you want. I'm just telling you I'm sure you've dealt with it in your life as a daughter, you know, right, and it's hard because you know, you get a call the office, and they want to talk about things that are going on and home.

Sarah: Right! One hundred percent.

Manny: and you're empathetic but as a coach most coaches just hate to admit it, but they don't know how to deal with that. we suck at.

Sarah: The balance.

Manny: Yeah, we really do.

Sarah: At least once a season I'll get a text from a wife saying. Hey, Sara Have you seen my husband today? Is he alive? I'm not kidding.

Manny: Yeah.

Sarah: Apparently they hadn’t talked to them in Like 48 hours haven’t talked to them or seen them.

Manny: I’ve seenGuys, I know go sleep there.

Sarah: I’m like you, you want me to go knock upside the head text your wife back.

Manny: Yeah.

Sarah: not often but it's it is funny when that does happen but they try to get me locked in

Manny: The stories you get, you tell me I don't know I mean, every every place a little different but it's, it's interesting, like, I, when I was at Weidner University which is outside of Philadelphia right. And a couple of our coaches on the staff had coached for Andy Reid. Okay, you know, sure. We had a. Yeah, we had a our head coach was on the staff there with the eagles and then our defensive coordinator at that time is now the like he's a linebacker coach of Chicago Bears, and he was, he had been with Andy’s staff coaching linebackers right. And there were stories of just sleeping in the office.

Sarah: Oh my gosh.

Manny: Yeah. And, you know, that is just how Coach Reid is.

Sarah: Right

Manny: that's just, you know, he's successful, totally get it, but there's so many different ways to be successful. I don't know that you have to do that at that level,

Sarah: right,

Manny: but you do get those notorious grinders of like Mouse, you know, crazy stories. I was drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles right? Great so, Dick Vermeil hadjust wrapped up his coaching career. We had a new coach Marian Campbell, and the stories of Dick Vermeil with the Eagles are like, oh okay I'm getting all my guys you know they got beds in the walls.

Sarah: Oh my gosh!

Manny: You know, and at home you need there was some research like you sleep. You know, if you're in a certain kind of a bed is like a water bed or something. It's like, okay, you only need six hours instead of 8 hours. So he was like I'm buying them all saying come in the office two hours earlier

Sarah: Oh, that is so funny. That is intense.

Manny: That's the mentality some of these guys have.

Sarah: Yeah, it is. I hope they'll like a lot of the coaches I've worked for, Rocky Hager, Trent, Bill Curry, all of them are very understanding when it comes to family stuff like if a guy has to do something with family, you know further like anything, they'll let them go through it without hesitation. I hope it's getting better, it's changed the grinding mentality still there but very more, much more understanding,

Manny: you have to get things done. There’s no question.

Sarah: Yeah. And if you have a happy life they say the happy wife happy life. It's true. So, you need to be

able to spend time with your kids.

Manny: Yeah and that is So important I mean I know so many coaches and, you know, they never saw their kids, and then they're adults.

Sarah: Right

Manny: How it just happens and it’s hard. You know so in the operations world you get a chance, and I like how you put it you know to eliminate distractions.

Sarah: Yep.

Manny: Yeah, that's sort of neat because I somewhere along the way. I heard a head football coach, say, his job was to eliminate distractions for as assistant coaches

Sarah: Oh man, that's,


you know

Sarah: yeah. Interesting.

Manny: It felt because what it was is oh in college at least, it was like, Okay, you got the AD wants something, the president wants something, so keep these guys insulated so they don't need to be dealing with that, sir.

Sarah: That’s true. That's a good point. you know he's kind of like the head face of the program in that regard,

Manny: and that's how that works.

Sarah: Yeah.

(39:50)-Career Plan

Manny: So, you know, can you see yourself doing this for a long time?

Sarah: I really like it, and I think because I have in such a good position with my husband that he's so understanding, because he gets it because in it, and his family is also in it. You know his brother's the assistant GM of the Jets. His other brother’s here at the convention he code or his brother in law coaches for Tulsa so we have a lot of it, a lot of them in the family. And it helps that he's there and we because we don't have kids if it's a career that I can continue with. If I had kids, there's no way I could at this level. So, yeah, I mean I don't, it'd be interesting to see if I would ever go back to college doing DFO stuff.

Manny: That was my next question.

Sarah: I would maybe. you know I always said like I would love to maybe go back to JMU one day and go back to that level and level a Yeah, well, 1AA is a great level and I still think that it's, it's more of a pure. You know there’s no bowl game so it's kind of like just pure playoffs and so I could see myself maybe trying that one day but for now I will definitely stick with Coach Quinn as long as I can honestly, he's just been, they've been so awesome to work for so.

Manny: No question I can say I'm so fired up for you guys as you transition into the next season and,

Sarah: Yes

Manny: You know I know you got good players, great coaches, good people, you know, and, but, you know, as we started this off. I mean, and it's a different game, the National Football League.

Sarah: Yes it is.

Manny: I mean it is a high stakes game, everybody, every week is fighting for their family.

Sarah: Literally, and we showed that to San Francisco this year I mean right, did anyone in the entire world think we were gonna beat them. No, and we did.

Manny: Yeah

Sarah: Yeah so, any given Sunday.

Manny: It's just like the movie. Yeah, I mean it is and it's like, I, you know, college isn't that. And although it's in some area in the SEC, some of the power five schools, they do that, and they have, which is interesting, like some of these power five schools, especially the SEC will have like three operations, guys.

Sarah: Oh, no doubt! I was just sitting in the meetings and there were multiple operations people on a pretty big school and the other thing when I was at Georgia State we had no hardly any resources so I went by myself. Yes, I was lucky to kind of offload some of the recruiting stuff but it was hard like I didn't even have a GA to help me. Wow, so it was when I got to the Falcons I was like, Whoa, there's so many people are doing so many things it's nuts! like it was like the DFO job dispersed among 10 people.

Manny: Yes.

Sarah: Yes, exactly at a higher level but yeah it's incredible and and there should be multiple operations people no doubt.

Manny: Yeah, there's so much too much to it. Yeah, and really by eliminating distractions for the coaches, you're improving the product on Sunday.

Sarah: Absolutely.

Manny: And that's, yeah, that's ultimately what we all want is the best product. you know, on the field, but you know Sarah, I really, I'm just so fortunate we connected again.

Sarah: And got to actually hang out like you know usually it's just a Hi. Good to see you, but

yeah this was awesome.

Manny: Yeah, well thank you so much for joining us.

Sarah: hank you for having me.

Manny: Yeah, and you know for everybody out there, it's like, we talk about this, that, I want to help, and my mission is to help coaches win on the field and optimize their lives.

Sarah: That's cool

Manny: You know it's not just about, you know, no one's happy unless they’re winning. But you can be winning and burning it down

Sarah: That is correct

Manny: and have nothing and so it's part of the things are, you know, in an interview segment like this transition and when I come back I'm going to, you know, the tips and reminders session, give you a hey here's some things you can do for your, you know it could be anything health, you know, organizational skills, things like that that can help coaches out there. When they want to improve because I think if we're constantly improving. We can do this for a long time and really enjoy the greatest profession in the World

Sarah: Very cool, it’s people like you that are moving us forward.

Manny: Yeah it's fun. But, I’ll be right back with your tips and reminders.

(44:08)- Tips and Reminders

Manny: So that was a fabulous interview with Sarah and now I want to, as we normally do, I want to give you some tips and reminders that some an item that I use quite a bit, and was one of the first things I found that from essential oils standpoint that work, pretty much immediately for me and it's called digestzen. and this is an essential oil blend. And what it does. Well it smells fantastic reminds me. It's got some like, I don't know if anybody ever drank Ouzo, it's got like an anisette licorice smell to it, and what it is it's a digestive blend. And it works like this, you can, what I often do is I can get a glass of ice. And then I'll put like two drops one or two drops of that digestzen on it, and then I put in my favorite mineral water in there. And so, spritzes up a little bit and then I drink it and it goes down. And if I have indigestion, completely eliminates it, I'm talking like fast. For years I mean for a couple decades I was taking Pepcid and and different types of these things that just help you settle your stomach you know because sometimes maybe if you were drinking red wine, it would affect you or if you were, you know, just had too much to eat the wrong combination foods. So I, I would just drink this afterwards and I stopped, I don’t want to say addiction or a longtime usage of Pepcid AC so I mean by, by doing that it worked great. The other thing that is interesting about this, you can also take it, put a few drops right there in your hand. And then from there, you can just rub it and then put it literally on over your abdomen over your stomach and it goes in through your skin as well so it's like you can drink this. And you can have it come in through your scin so I think that is a fantastic. If you got indigestion, any issues with eating, and you want your digestion to improve digests and, which is also there, and I like all these essential oils. There is an essential oil page, it gives you some insight on how these things work because people are asking about him. So, go to the link on essential oils,and you'll learn a little bit, more from there. I want to thank you for joining me on the manly men second show. If you are listening to this podcast, make sure to give us a rating comment on the show, watching this, subscribe to our YouTube will you'll notice this there's a little bell so you can get the notification released the next show and you can get it sometimes before it goes up, you'd like to get all kinds of donor websites, up to date is really Wednesday, blog posts inside access. Friday A video released, subscribed with your email, and along with getting these regular alerts you see my free report, fill the stadium coaches secret formula to build a program. So you're staying capacity. Thank you very much.

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