This week, our Lockr spotlight is on Bucknell Head Coach Joe Susan, a veteran of nearly 40 years in the college coaching profession. In his four years manning the Bison sideline, Joe Susan has certainly impacted the culture of the Bucknell program. Susan has now overseen two above-.500 records in the last three years after leading the Bison to five wins in the their last six games in 2013, including the program’s first victory over Lehigh in 16 years.
Lockr: Who would you consider to be your coaching mentor?
JS: I consider myself fortunate to have been positively influenced by a number of men in my life. The man who had the most influence in my coaching career had is Tubby Raymond, the Head Coach at the University of Delaware when I played there. He taught the game in a progressive manner. He proved to me/us that people count more than plays. The ability to be brought up in a system that was successful and had a defined way of teaching fundamentals, scheme and how to handle people was priceless.
Lockr: Your First Coaching Opportunity?
JS: I will get repetitive here. Tubby Raymond gave me the opportunity to be a graduate assistant at the University of Delaware in the spring of my senior year. It carried into the fall. He gave me a chance to coach the Oline and then I took over the Dline in the latter ½ of the season. The opportunity to coach on both sides of the ball helped me to become a better OL Coach which I was for most of my career as an assistant.
Lockr: What path did you travel to get into the coaching?
JS: I began my career as a GA at Delaware. I was hired as a part time assistant coaching full time at Gettysburg, and then I returned to Delaware to complete my Master’s degree. The experience I have had at different schools is one that I value and look back on as a reference quite often.
Lockr: Advice for younger coaches trying to get into the profession?
JS: I am fortunate in that I am being paid for something I love. If you have a passion for the game and want to learn this is a great career. The other thing that is valuable is that this job is never the same. The change in the seasons i.e.: Pre-season⇒ In Season ⇒ On the Road Recruiting ⇒ Pre-Spring Prep ⇒ Spring Practice ⇒ Spring Recruiting ⇒ Summer Camp season keep it something that is always new, always challenging.
In moving up understand that everyone wants to be the Coordinator, or Head Coach. These are things that you need to learn and be ready for to be successful at.
The other concept that we all must understand is: BIG TIME IS WHERE YOU’RE AT
Lockr: What motivates you to be a coach?
JS: The experience I had being coached while playing the game had a deep impact on who and what I am as a person. I love the challenge of preparation and putting it on the line on game day. I love recruiting. I also know it is a privilege and unique responsibility to coach young men and the impact I can have on them goes far beyond the field. Somewhere along the path of our careers as players they take your cleats and helmet away. This enables me to be a part of the game I love.