Video: Auburn's moving tribute to Philip Lutzenkirchen

I did not know Philip Lutzenkirchen, the person, only Philip Lutzenkirchen, the Auburn tight end. But after seeing this moving video tribute, I wish I had a chance to get to know the person that seemed to brighten the lives of so many around him. 

Kirby Smart: 'If you get the wrong (head coaching job), it could be the last one'

Examine Kirby Smart's rise up the coaching ladder, and it looks pretty typical for the profession - almost a stop a year. After playing at Georgia from 1995-98 and then spending another year in Athens, Smart took his first coaching job as the defensive backs coach at Valdosta State in 2000. By 2002 he was a graduate assistant at Florida State, and then joined Nick Saban's staff at LSU as defensive backs coach in 2004. He returned to his alma mater to coach running backs in 2005, then reunited with Saban as the Miami Dolphins' safeties coach in 2006. That's five moves in seven years. Again, pretty typical for the industry. 

Then, in 2007, Smart followed Saban to Tuscaloosa - his sixth stop in eight years - and that's when the moving stopped. It's not as if Smart hasn't been wanted elsewhere, either. He was offered the Auburn head job in 2012 - though the timing of his offer juxtaposed against Gus Malzahn's offer is unclear, Smart was indeed offered the job - and could certainly have pursued head jobs outside the Power Five conferences had he found one desirable.

But he hasn't.

"I'm not sitting here saying I got to go today in order just to take one to take it," Smart said. "Every one of them says don't just jump at the first one. If you get the wrong one, it will be the last one." In an interview with Atlanta's 680 The Fan, Smart noted that he takes pride in the fact that his six-year-old twins know only of life in Tuscaloosa. 

Smart has been counseled by Joe Kines - who went 3-6-1 as Arkansas' interim head coach in 1992 - and Kevin Steele - who went 9-36 as Baylor's head coach from 1999-2002. Neither was a head coach after that. 

With his status (and salary) as one of the very best coordinators in college football, and still being a year and a half shy of his 40th birthday, Smart reserves the right to change his mind, but for right now is more than happy in his current role. 

"I could finish my career being a defensive coordinator and say, 'Hey, he's Mickey Andrews,'" Smart said. "I'd be happy knowing that I had success doing it and I was the best I could be at my job.

"If the opportunity knocks, then so be it."

Read the full story here.

More schools should do this: Showcasing real world success of former players

Martin Rucker was one of the best players in the Gary Pinkel era of Missouri football. Earning both Freshman All-America and First Team All-America honors, the pass-catching tight end helped guide Mizzou to the Big 12 North championship in 2007 and closed his career with a 38-7 thumping of Arkansas in the Cotton Bowl. 

After a fourth round selection by the Cleveland Browns in the 2008 draft, Rucker spent time with the Philadelphia Eagles, Dallas Cowboys, Jacksonville Jaguars and Kansas City Chiefs before a torn ACL ended his career. Though his playing career is done, his professional career is just taking off. Rucker has started Body By Ruc, his own personal training enterprise in the Kansas City area.

Every single school in America touts its ability to prepare its players for life after football. Every single one. But not many schools actually follow their players into the real world and give a first-person example like this. 

Here's how one head coach improved his team this summer: By starting a book club

The summer time is for running, lifting weights, some 7-on-7, and generally doing everything the rules allow to be prepared when fall camp opens. At St. Joseph Central Catholic in St. Joseph, Mo., the Indians have done all that, but without a doubt the best move head coach Jeff Wallace has made has nothing to do with football whatsoever.

Wallace has orchestrated a five-week study of Season of Life, Jeffrey Marx's book on the football-centric journey to manhood of former NFL player Joe Ehrmann.

"By far, I can easily tell you this is the best thing I've ever done in football," Wallace said.

When they're not running and lifting, the Central Catholic football team is sitting around talking about life and getting to know one another. And they believe it could make all the difference this fall. 

"It's really cool how we're able to not talk about so much 'oh did you see the hit I laid on that guy?' Or 'did you see that catch I made?' It's more about, we're getting more personal and I'm getting to know my teammates a lot better," said senior Eric Siemens.

Here's one way you know you're coaching the right way

Bruce Pearl, the new head basketball coach at Auburn, told an awesome story at the Auburn Basketball Letterman reunion a few days ago that packed quite the punch, a recent article in ESPN points out.

While the head coach at Tennessee seven years ago, Pearl received a voice mail from one of the best players (if not the best) in Auburn basketball history, the one and only Charles Barkley. It's a message that he has saved to this day.

"Don't get me emotional about this, but the truth of the matter is he called our basketball office one day," Pearl at the letterwinner reunion. "He says, 'Coach Pearl, this is Charles Barkley, you do not need to call me back. I've just been watching your teams play and I love the way you coach and I love the way your teams play.'"

In the hyper-competitive business that is coaching, it's good to have a morale booster when times get trying.

"I have it on an old cellphone. Believe me, there are times when we get down on ourselves and lose confidence in what we do and I've listened to that message a time or two. I had never met him, I didn't call him back because he said don't call me back, but I kept that message. I absolutely still have it today."

And now, of course, the story has gone full circle, as Pearl is now the head coach of Barkley's alma mater, the Auburn Tigers.

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