espn.com has a great story titled How it started: First jobs in football for all 32 NFL head coaches. Below are some of my favorites quotes from some of the coaches.
“I was going to make them need me by working as hard as I could,” Rivera said. “I did everything from taking coaches’ cars to get washed and gassed, picking up lunch. I did all the quality control breakdowns. Basically, from the ground up. I learned what it took to be successful. You had to make yourself indispensable, where they had to have you around to help the team.”
“To be able to help somebody achieve something and to see them happy and a success, it flipped it for me. Just flipped it. It allowed me to move past not being able to play anymore and really coach and help young guys.”
“He said that when you come to the head coach with a problem, have a well-thought-out answer,” Reid said. “You can use that in all facets of life. Have a plan. The head coach might not agree with you on it, but you’re coming to him with an answer. If he has something different, stick with that and go 100 miles an hour to do it. That’s a huge lesson, and as simple as it is, it’s big for marriage, it’s big for raising kids.”
“It was a lot more about just being a professional coach — preparation, work ethic, dependability, what goes into having a good football team,” Belichick said. “We were 1-4 and won our next nine straight. It was a young team that got off to a slow start, but we gained our confidence, and it taught me a great lesson in football of just keep working, keep fighting, just one day at a time. Don’t worry about the record at the end of the year. Just have a good day, have another good day, win this week, and then move on to the next week. That’s what we did.”
“‘We’re coaching it or we’re allowing it to happen’ is a term that stuck out to me,” Tomlin said. “It kind of reflects the responsibilities associated with our jobs and something I think about often. Forget your capabilities. It’s about what you’re willing to do. Talents are less important than what they are willing to do to help us pursue what we’re pursuing.”
Sharpe and his staff embodied the Bear Bryant philosophy of “Coach ‘em hard and hug ‘em later.” “I don’t think you can ever be negative in this game,” Arians said. “It’s coaching, not criticism. It’s coaching to get better to where we all want to be.”