NFL coach emphasizes hard work as key to achieving life goals

Joseph Dorschel, Sports Editor

During Black History Month, the ideas of overcoming adversity, perseverance and ethics are prevalent themes to many.

For Madison native Eric Studesville, running backs coach for the Denver Broncos, overcoming adversity starts with shaping and controlling one’s self. At the event held at the West and Truax campuses of Madison Area Technical College, Studesville spoke about “diversity in the sports world.”

During the event, Studesville outlined the principals that he felt gave people the best chance to succeed in their career and life.

The cornerstone of his presentation was the idea of being a two foot person, which means to control what is above your own two feet. Studesville stressed the importance of having a strong work ethic and to be able to make sacrifices to achieve your goals.

As the interim head coach of the Denver Broncos for the final four games of the season, Studesville had a record of one win and three losses. Although he interviewed for the position of head coach following the regular season, the job was given to another coach. He returned to his position as running backs coach, but he is confident about future opportunities.

“I hope the opportunity comes again to be a head coach. I think I’ll do better than I did last time with the preparation and everything with the next opportunity. I just continue to push myself. I just want to be the best I can do every day, and find a way to get better,” Studesville said.

Studesville reflected many of the statements he made in the presentation, attributing his own work ethic as a factor in his success. While he tried to put himself in a position to seize opportunities throughout his life and career, it didn’t come without hard work.

“This is not meant negative in any way, shape or form, but I just was never given the opportunity to do something easy. I had to work, and the work makes you appreciate what you get from it. I was given a lot of responsibility early and held accountable for a lot of things very early,” Studesville said.

As the National Football League continues to move toward next season, there is a growing awareness of qualified individuals regardless of race, according to Studesville.

“I think what we are starting to see now in the NFL, is that people who are qualified and given the opportunity will perform with the expectations of success. Sometimes it takes one door to open and another one. It takes time. In the 15 years I’ve been in the NFL, we went from black quarterbacks not really existing to now being very common, to black head coaches being very rare, to now there are a number of black head coaches,” Studesville said.

During his life and career as an NFL coach, Studesville relied on many for inspiration and influence. Studesville tries to pick the best things out of his experiences with people and incorporate those things into his life moving forward. He also considers the negative experiences and people he has encountered and tries steer clear of that path.

“I think we’re all kind of plagiarists in a way. You take little bits on what you like or whatever it is, but the thing for me, what I truly believe, is that you have to make them you. You can’t be somebody else and how they do it, because their whole life might be completely different than yours,” Studesville said.

As Studesville prepares in the offseason and attends the upcoming NFL combine, he hopes to keep imparting the information he has learned to the next generation of students and athletes. His primary message to them is that they will all face adversity, and overcoming that adversity starts with your own two feet.