Passion and a Patch of Grass

Bill Russell

Inside Linebackers Coach and Special Teams Coordinator

Norwich University

I have been fortunate and blessed to be involved in college football for the last twelve years of my life. Four of those years spent as a player, and the last eight as a coach. Initially, I wasn’t planning on a career in coaching – the opportunity just kind of presented itself. At the end of that very first practice I knew that my elementary education degree was not going to be needed going forward.


As a young coach starting out, I thought I needed a lot of “toys” – bags, dummies, cones, etc. I thought the more my individual period resembled an obstacle course, the better job I’d be doing coaching my guys. The more experience and confidence I gained, it became apparent that my job was based on teaching and communicating, not being a pseudo-ringmaster. While the toys are nice and face it, we all flip though the catalogs like a kid with the Sears Christmas Wish Book – we are teachers, plain and simple.


I also used to think that the “big time” programs must be doing things on the practice field which were “cutting edge” and miles ahead of what I was doing with my guys. I was determined to learn these techniques, drills, and schemes. I started accumulating drill tapes and attending clinics with great fervor. Imagine my surprise when I saw that the drills were the same and the fundamentals were the same. What I found was that these great coaches were great teachers and great communicators. Obviously, swapping drill tapes, attending clinics, and just talking shop with other coaches is helpful. The point is that I have been able to learn just as much from high school coaches as I have from BCS-level coaches. We’re all doing the same thing: teaching.


As I close in on my first decade of coaching the greatest game, I’ve learned that the secret isn’t in what you’ve got at your disposal. The secret is to never stop learning, never stop listening and never stop teaching.


You don’t need the newest toys, the biggest budgets, or the most complex drills. All you need is passion and a patch of grass.


I love meeting and communicating with coaches. I can be reached at