Manny Matsakis

Episode 1: Manny Matsakis (Pilot Episode)

Manny Matsakis and Lynn Groll

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This pilot episode of The Manny Matsakis Show kicks off with guest and interviewer Lynn Groll. Lynn is the publisher of Black Swamp Football Magazine and current blogger for Lynn interviews Coach Matsakis regarding his career as a successful football coach, blogger, and entrepreneur.  Together they delve into topics of Manny’s influences from hall-of-fame coaches to what he plans to create in future shows on this podcast.

Make sure to check out Episode 2 and Episode 3!

Episode 1: Manny Matsakis (Pilot Episode)

Summary: On this pilot episode of the Manny Matsakis Show, Lynn Groll discusses the origins of Coach Matsakis’s career and how he and coach have had success with their different media platforms.

Coach Manny Matsakis: This is the Manny Matsakis show with me Manny Matsakis, where you will gain insight on how to win on the field and optimize your life. This is episode number 1.

Today I would like to introduce you to the publisher of the Black Swamp football preview magazine who's one of the top sports personalities in the state of Ohio, Lynn Grohl.

Well, let me tell you about Lynn alright Lynn has 17 years of sports journalists and radio personality here in Northwest Ohio he's the creator of the Black Swamp football podcast he's also covered Defiance College athletics since 2004. Tons of experience. One of my favorite people in sports. Lynn, welcome to the show.

Lynn Groll: Good to be here, thanks coach for all the nice things you just said about me are you laying it on pretty thick

Manny: No it's good stuff, you know we've we've been able to get to know each other the last couple years it's been fun

Lynn: Yes hasn't even been two years

Manny: No it hasn't

Lynn: That's crazy!

Manny: Year and a half. It has, you know how is this happening? You know it's it's funny you know each of us have been podcasting for about a year now we've learned a lot about podcasting in the process

Lynn: Yeah absolutely

Manny: We both have our own we just talked about you know your Black Swamp Football podcast that you do you're in this region of Ohio and then I do one with the college here at Defiance College called the Swarm and Shoot Football show that we do out and we both run them pretty much every week and we've learned about how to put these things together you know and what's interesting thing for me is I've had coaches and people in the profession when I go to conventions or you know I get an email here and there you know they bring up the idea of doing a different type of podcast designed for football coaches and people in the profession and in the game and so forth and what they could give coaches some maybe out of the box different type of insights you know and we thought hey let's make a run at this you know and I think through that process you know we have a shot to do something special what do you think?

Lynn: Absolutely yeah you know you got the brains behind this operation

Manny: Yeah you know, we'll see where that takes us you know but fortunately I have a lot of good friends you know

Lynn: Yes that helps, that helps.

Manny: Like that song friends in low places you know well I've got a little bit of that and I've got some friends in high places so that that's what's pretty neat about this. We should have some country music in the background we shouldn't wait yeah

Yes indeed you know you know I was fortunate about five years ago I launched what ended up becoming a fairly popular blog on my website and at the end of that blog which I honestly I hate to admit it, that I haven't updated in over two years since I left Widener University to come here as the head coach at Defiance College. What I did was I started doing these zoom calls and my wife had this little setup where I could get somebody on the other side make sure they were mic'd up right and it was video of me and them going back and forth sometimes we would put video of what they were doing and have all kinds of insight and they were extremely popular. I mean I had some great football coaches on that and it was just it was just like hmm and I didn't know much about podcasting at that point and then we started podcasting and I started thinking hmm I'm getting all this emails from guys hey how come you haven't blogged in a while you know what's going on. Yeah well we're trying to you know we're in the middle of a turnaround and a college football program and the art of the turnaround is basically it takes a little bit of time out of your schedule you know and you try to balance things out and I sort of, I let that website sit there and I keep getting subscribers almost daily to that without any updates because it's just sitting there on the internet and you know with that being said, what we've learned we've decided to launch this particular podcast you know and you know I think we all want to get better we want to be better and learn more and the underlying theme of this platform that'll be coming out is lessons learned.

Lynn: Yeah good stuff, can't wait!

Manny: Right yeah should be a lot of fun.


Lynn: Yes lifelong football coach, what year did you start coaching? Because you've been in this business good while

Manny: Well you know I started and would have had to have been in the late 80s after I was done playing professionally and I started at Barberton high school over near Akron Ohio that was my first coaching job so

Lynn: Both Schembechler territory

Manny: Yeah well you're a Michigan man

Lynn: Yes gotta bring that up

Manny: Yes indeed, so yeah so started there coached for a guy that had been the head coach at Slippery Rock University, a guy named Don Alt and so he had left the college realm and took the job at Barberton and we put together a really nice staff there and you know and right there I learned, it was remarkable. I learned about the art of the turnaround we had taken over a team that was three and seven and went seven and three the first year it was like wow to watch a master like Coach Alt put things together in a short period of time was fascinating for me you know so that that's how it all started out, so in the late 80s you know.


Lynn: Yeah also founder of the American Football monthly magazine, another thing to your repertoire that you had. How did, what was the genesis of that? How did that get started Coach?

Manny: It was funny you know it was in 1993 and I was the offensive coordinator Hofstra University who doesn't play football anymore but we had some really good players there's and a lot of NFL players came out of Hofstra it was basically oh what would you would consider that the FCS level a juggernaut I mean we were really good and and the offense that I happened to be the coordinator of we led all divisions of football in total offense, scoring and and all that and I had somebody come to me about writing a book on the offense that publisher I said I thought about a little bit and then it I had this like two-month interlude I was called from Bill Snyder to come back to Kansas State where I had been before to be a special teams coordinator tight ends coach at Kansas State and during that time because they were in a bowl game and they had to wait to hire me after everything and I starts doing around my head like yeah you know how can I you know don't really want to write this book.

I’m about to go work for Coach Snyder so yeah I took a little bit of money but one of the original Mac books that were out there and just started typing up my ideas and I decided not to write the book and from that point I put an outline together for what I thought would be it's about a 20 page outline what I thought would be a really cool magazine to help coaches all right.

So I move out to Manhattan Kansas I meet a guy who was a former attorney and was actually selling clothes at the Fine Men's stores named Barry Terranova and we shared this with him we had because we had an early morning one of those 5:30 a.m. meetings at a coffee house and I shared the manuscript of it.

He comes back to me literally he said he couldn't sleep for 48 hours and then he showed me that 20 pages became well over a hundred pages of him expanding on the ideas that I had and then he took it and together we created something special that is still around today called American Football Monthly so it's I've always had a passion to help coaches and through a vehicle of educating them and that was in print media and you know now here we're doing something similar I feel we have an opportunity something similar via our podcast.

Lynn: Yeah and staying in the in the journalism realm you also did some writing for magazines down in Southeast Ohio that dolphin developed into what Youngstown, Columbus.

Manny: Oh all over yeah we start doing these preseason football magazines regional football magazines which is what you know you're doing right now in Northwest Ohio and it was just, I just had to find a niche it was after I had left being the head coach at Texas State University and just and there was a there's a couple years or three years there that I immerse myself in being the CEO of that particular company and getting some magazines out there in regions where I was doing a lot of like color commentary on TV with games and stuff and then also had done known you know a few other things with some TV stations, some shows were regular shows I 'd like in Steubenville Ohio which is over on the eastern side of Ohio and and then I gave that up and you know got back into coaching and ended up in the Canadian league for a little bit and then you know it's been a whirlwind with all the wonderful people have been around in this profession.


Lynn: And... and I want to talk about some of those wonderful people you've worked with because you have a long list of some greats that you work with Bill Snyder probably first yeah that comes to mind kind of where you got your first start at Kansas State in Manhattan

Manny: Exactly I mean we're part of... I was very fortunate we had a great staff there.

Lynn: Yeah and he wasn't the only guy there that ended up getting pretty famous.

Manny: Right! I remember you know we're in the staff meeting room and you know you're sitting there in the meeting room and there's Bob Stoops and Mike Stoops and Mark Mangino and Dell Miller who was the head coach at South West Missouri now Missouri State. Geez, I mean the list is Jim Leavitt you know I mean I don't want to forget anybody I mean there's so many Dana Demo you know head coach right now UTEP had been that coach at Wyoming before that, great football coach I mean on and on and on I mean you've got GA s in the room like Tim Beck the you know who's now the offensive coordinator at well, he was at Ohio State a few years ago and and now he's at NC State as the offensive coordinator they're you know just great minds and good people and you know I learned so much from Coach Snyder you know he's a Hall of Fame coach and rightfully so I mean he was the architect of the greatest turnaround in the history of college football.


Lynn: Yeah and a tireless worker I remember doing an interview with you maybe last year and then we talked about Bill and your first impression of him was that he drank a lot of coffee because he spent you know almost his entire day at the office.

Manny: Yeah he did, I mean he was a guy certainly led by example yeah you know what he never asked you to do anything you know that he wouldn't do himself he was a man that yeah he did I mean we always had the high octane coffee going in the morning and about after what other people would have consider like dinner time then he'd have the half and a half decaf coffee caffeine going for the rest of the day. He was always the first to come and the last to leave you're right tireless worker but, but really understood the mechanics of the art of the turnaround I mean he had been part of that with Hayden Fry at the University of Iowa you know and then also North Texas before that he had fallen to a longtime successful assistant coach that learned from you know fellow that just passed away recent recently you know a couple months ago Hayden Fry who is you know one of the top coaches ever yes yeah in college football so he learned from him applied it with us and you know we were young excited whatever it too and you know we were just you know worked tirelessly to help coach Snyder on his mission and and that was and it succeeded.

Lynn: Yeah you showed me a picture I think one time of what Kansas State Stadium looked like before Bill got there and then when things really got rolling for him there it is it's like day and night

Manny: Yeah I mean it was and They still call it the biggest turnaround in yeah college football history football sports I guess you could say is remarkable and you know, I guess probably the best example I can give you is when I first got to Manhattan Kansas as a graduate assistant you know I'm turning off i-70 driving down the highway and it's basically a two-lane road for about six seven miles maybe before you got to Manhattan right today you take that same turn it's a super highway called Bill Snyder highway that gives you an idea so the highways named after him going to Manhattan and then the stadium is Bill Snyder family Stadium so I mean you know it's it's fantastic to have been associated with him and all the players and coaches and people that made that program so successful


Lynn: And another guy that maybe the younger people will not remember Bill as much as they do this guy Mike Leach yeah who is another guy that you've had a lot of connections with and and a lot of coaching experience with and kind of what mike has done for college football and you know yeah he's hugely popular.

Manny: He is hugely popular now he's usually popular in the state of Mississippi yes you know and I was fortunate enough to get to know Mike when he was at the University of Kentucky working for Hal Mumme at the time so what you know we got to be friends a few years later I'm the offensive coordinator Wyoming he had taken the offense coordinator job with my friend Bob Stoops at Oklahoma and they were going to put the air raid in which you know Bob's a visionary.

I mean it's all over the big12 right now because he chose to make that happen by bringing Mike in and after one year of each of us being the coordinator at those respective schools Mike gets the head coaching job at Texas Tech down in Lubbock he brings on Greg McMackin or as a defense coordinator, me as the assistant head coach and a whole bunch of other amazing football coaches that was fortunate enough to learn from there as well yeah you know you think about those guys I mean I don't know which staff was better but both had their own strengths I mean you know you look at the staff in Lubbock you've got a guy like Art Briles who was super successful at Baylor on the field you've got on top of that Dana Holgorsen, Sonny dykes who's at SMU right now he's always I don't Ruffin McNeil you know who ended up being a maybe one of the greatest coaches East Carolina has ever had you know and recently been at Oklahoma is right now he's on a bit of a leave of absence actually takings take care of his father right now he's just one of the best guys on the planet and you know you look at those guys and all the other guys there Dennis Simmons is the offense he's the receivers coach at Oklahoma we had a graduate assistant Bill Bedenbaugh who's the offensive coordinator I mean he's actually the offensive line coach yeah right at Oklahoma as well I mean the list goes on and on and it's just just great coaches and I was just fortunate to hang out with those guys for three years and learn from him and it was a bit of a think tank there as well and then just the way Mike ran the operation there was something I'm very grateful to have been a part of.

Lynn: Yeah take me through some of the coaches that have maybe molded you into the coach that you are today

Manny: Well you know I would say certainly Coach Snyder I mean when it comes back to it I think you're my first foray into coaching college football you know I think he is he is the primary mentor that I have had and and what's funny is it's not really about the X's and O's you learn from him it was more about the art of the turnaround and because every head coaching job I've been fortunate enough to undertake has been a turnaround just like here it Defiance College that's what we're doing and and we've been successful at Everyone in a different way along the way because of the things I learned from from Coach Snyder yeah you know so he's number one


Lynn: Yeah what has kept you and the football coaching business so long what what makes it special to you what makes you get up in the morning every morning excited about what you're doing

Manny: I think for me personally the opportunity to be around a great coaching staff good people working in a direction of leadership where we all can lead together to make something special for our student-athletes the guys that we are developing to one find their life's calling as as they're in in college which is number one that's why you're in college and then number two you know is to get them to a point where they can achieve something so much more than they think they can achieve when they're coming in how we can help them by empowering them to take ownership in their life and create something magical as a team by leading themselves as individuals yeah I think that to me is like that's what drives me you know and in this profession

Lynn: Yes in knowing you and and I talked to some coaches high school coaches in the area that you've helped out you're more than willing to give your time to try to help the game and them to better themselves and improve which is so good to see so we people appreciate that about you and you always trying to give back

Manny: Yeah I don't I don't think you can ever move forward unless you're given to everybody you possibly can and obviously you know there's time constraints and what you can afford to do and with your time because you're so immersed in a current project like this you know because this is labor intensive I mean our coaches are really working hard we're all making that effort to do this but you want to find other vehicles out there that can also empower coaches all over the country and that's what this podcast is all about


Lynn: Yeah yeah give the people listening your plans for this podcast what can they expect coach?

Manny: Yeah well here's the plan I mean this I call this a platform I mean we're in and it starts with this podcast and there are alternating weekly podcasts that we will be putting out there so this is obviously the introductory one and then every other week from there what's going to happen is one week it will be an interview with an influencer in football now that can vary from coaches operations directors athletic directors any key people we can learn from they will be in-person interviews and not I'm gonna stay away from the zoom call type of interview because I don't I don't those are those were great back in the day when I was doing those but now I want to be in person with them so I may leave on location people may come in to a studio and so we're gonna do that to give people so much more that you can learn from out there but I have to be selfish I'm learning more than anybody else because I have that opportunity to interview these people.

Lynn: Yeah and we've mentioned some of the people that are gonna be coming on your podcast Bill Bedenbaugh some of the people coach with at K-state Texas Tech yeah other people who do you kind of foresee?

Manny: Well you know I've made some calls out there to guys that were on the staff with me in Lubbock who we've just alluded to that are more than open hey I want to do this you know and I'm getting you know calls from like super successful high school coaches around the country that have their they have they have subscribed via email to the website so yeah I've got you know a significant number of coaches around the country that would love to do that.

So it's like either when I'm out recruiting on the road we could set up some type of a deal like what we're doing or they could come to Defiance and you know we can be in a studio and cover those types of things I'm excited about what's about to happen with the quality of guests on this particular podcast yeah you're also going to touch on some books yeah and things like that too coach yeah and I call those that's the alternating podcast so it goes from an interview with a coach and then to what I'm going to call right now analysis and application and what that is, where we'll take a deep dive into books and other media with a co-host that's got an expertise in that particular topic alright so for instance I say all right Lynn you're an expert to this topic here's a book on this get this book and I'll read the book and we'll do some research and let's get on here and we'll, we'll go through the key insights we can draw from that book and then we would banter back and forth about how this may apply to help people that are listening right now on the podcast and you know and what's funny is you know I got I have some friends out there that are not football coaches and they're like oh I love this because I can you know get inside of this and apply it to my business and things like that which we're going to be applying maybe applying a business tool to football and coaching, and different aspects of this so that's that that's the alternating podcast so from interviews with coaches to analyzing and taking a deep dive into books and media which is that part of it and each of these podcasts every episode as we go through this what's gonna happen is we're gonna wrap it up with more information that I'm gonna call and coaches alike this your tips and reminders something that we do with our players toward the end of the week we may say here's a sheet of your tips and reminders to help you get ready for your opponent and you know tips and reminders are something that in essence are there that some insights I may have gotten from somewhere take a look at this product or these items and you may want to try this to increase your energy level and it will range the gamut and I think that will be that will just be sort of a fun way to wrap up every single episode with tips and reminders yeah you know there's also some other

Lynn: Good stuff on coach


Manny: Yeah and you know the idea is obviously you know people are listening to this on their iTunes player or you know whatever podcast player they've got so that's the listening side of this thing or maybe you know they found our YouTube channel which is fantastic too but the place where it's all put together is the website and it's my vision of the website as you start to see this on old is it's gonna have other things that you can't get just from listening to this that will they could help you if you just choose to apply or not apply you're gonna learn some things from my lessons in life and you know I have some blog posts in there that you could relate to and directly or indirectly know you know I've had some popular blog posts in the past that had nothing you would think had nothing to do with coaches but guys would read them and say oh my goodness this so makes sense for me in my life right now you know so we'll have some blog posts on there you can also access various manuals and PDFs as they're created explicitly for people out there listening to this or watching it and then you know from there you know the ideas we're also going to be creating some E courses that will vary in topics design to help coaches and people in a Profession win on the field and optimize your life and that's really what this thing comes down to as we create all this so what do you think of that?

Lynn: I can't wait. In the words of Bart Scott right the former New York Jet let's make it happen.

Manny: Yeah can't wait yeah you know or as Jocko Willink the Navy SEAL says let's get a that's true you know says that as well he does and one of my favorite authors and people out there that I've been fortunate enough to spend a little bit of time with when I was in Staten Island he was awesome but we'll get to that at some point because we will definitely talk about some principles of leadership that Jocko is is out there teaching and helping other people out at all different levels so excited about that and you know I want to thank you Lynn for and helped me out with this introductory podcast glad to be here.

Lynn: Yeah it was an honor coach


Coach: Oh I love spending time with you and you know that so you know I want to thank everybody out there for joining us on the Manny Matsakis show. If you're listening to this podcast make sure to subscribe in iTunes give us a rating comment on the show so all that stuff really helps drive it up in search engine on Apple and on the podcast search engine that helps and gets us seen by more people you know if you're watching this on YouTube subscribe on our YouTube channel. There's a little bell in the top corner you can just click that sucker right there and you'll get notifications every time we release the next show, feel free to comment on specific shows if you want to and how case I'll check those out and we maybe talking about some of those questions on the podcast and if you'd like to get all kinds of updates go to our website where you will be up to date on all the podcasts with that we'll have the audio and the video versions you'll see those feature blog posts we're talking about so take a minute subscribe with your email it's free alright to get regular alerts every time we update the website.

Thank you so much!

Comment Below

What are you excited about hearing in this podcast? Anyone you would like to hear from or topics you’d like discussed?

Leave a reply and let me know!

2 thoughts on “Episode 1: Manny Matsakis (Pilot Episode)”

  1. Coach,
    Just read Extreme Ownership- How the Seals Lead and Win. I just encouraged my high school players to read it during the pandemic. I appreciate the website and the podcast. Thank you

    1. Larry, Thanks for the additional insight. Jocko is the man and I am looking forward to reviewing one of his many awesome books and discuss how they apply to the game of football.

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