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Dino Babers once told Texas A&M to ‘keep the check’

Some interesting notes from his interview with Hawaii Warrior World.

NCAA Football: Clemson at Syracuse Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

As you likely know by now, Syracuse Orange head coach Dino Babers was born in Hawaii, and also played for the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors in college. Last week’s big win had Babers on every national college football show imaginable, but he also made some time for the Honolulu Star-Advertiser’s Hawaii Warrior World. Some of their interview outtakes provided some interesting nuggets -- most notably how and why he became a coach.

Ends up he was planning to go into coaching at six years old, as he explained in the article:

“You really want the story? I asked my mom, what am I supposed to be when I grow up? She said, ‘Pray to God. He’ll tell you.’ So I was praying, praying and praying. And at some point I heard the word ‘coach.’ I’m a little dude, and the word coach came to me. I was short, fat, and my older brother Luther would beat me up and make me go out and play. I just assumed I was supposed to be a football coach. To coach I gotta learn the game. So I did. The weight came off and things changed.”

You rarely get that sort of answer from anyone when asked how they get into their profession. But this feels like an appropriate origin story for Babers. You’d almost expect some additional detail of seeing a cheetah run or watching a car race, and his mind (as a kid) wanting to place that onto the football field. But as we know, Babers wasn’t really focusing on tempo until he got to Baylor.

NCAA Football: Clemson at Syracuse Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

Still, there’s cinematic value in the angle above, something Dino likely appreciates. He can feel free to use it if and when there’s a movie about him one day.

The other interesting tidbit was about how he left Texas A&M. After being demoted from offensive coordinator a few games into the 2002 season, he coached quarterbacks and found plenty of success. But when it came time for the bowl game, he was not interested in Boise State’s blue turf... at all.

“... They said we still have a bowl game, I said, listen, I’ve been really good about this. I’m going to look for a new job. They said if you look for a new job you’re not going to get your bowl check. I knew what I wanted to say, but I just said you guys keep the bowl check. I never played or coached on blue turf before and I’m not going to now. That got out, the team decided to decline the bowl game. And I want off to Pitt.”

You could not pay this man to coach on blue turf. He literally said no.

I’m surprised this never came up during his interview with former athletic director Mark Coyle, who came to Syracuse from Boise State. Perhaps the fact that it didn’t prevent Babers from taking the gig was a sign Coyle was not long for the Hill.

But this is confirmation we’ll never schedule Boise for as long as Babers is here. Even though it was 15 years ago, that’s bulletin board material.

Also, we’ve now found the name of Dino’s yet-to-be-written biopic: “Keep the Check: The Dino Babers Story.”

(let’s hope his feelings on money hold true in the next couple coaching change cycles...)

It’s worth reading the entire outtakes article, as well as the standard interview as well here.