Coaches Corner with Richard McNutt

By Eli Gehn

Richard McNutt started his coaching career as a student coach in 2003 at Ohio State, where he became a national champion as a cornerback the year earlier.

Since then, McNutt has served mainly as a defensive backs coach for multiple teams, including the Cleveland Browns, and MAC schools, such as Toledo and Kent State, before being hired this year at NIU.

McNutt took some time to talk with the Northern Star about how he has progressed through his coaching career, what he has learned and if he enjoys coaching more at the college level rather than the professional level.

Northern Star: Do you still have good memories of your national championship season as a player with Ohio State?

Richard McNutt: Those were great times. I was on teams with a lot of fierce competitors. Those are my best friends to this day and winning is always fun, so it was a great time winning all those games.

NS: What did you learn while coaching and playing under former Buckeye head coach Jim Tressel?

RM: You win with the people you have and to treat people fairly. He taught us how to win, he taught us values as people. He didn’t just teach us how to be football players, but he taught us life lessons. I take that from him as I start coaching now. Not just to coach guys on the football field, but to coach them in life as well.

NS: How did being a player help you with your coaching?

RM: It helped me because I started coaching while I was at Ohio State and the experience there – being able to play at that level – helped me understand the game. Being able to coach my peers helped me be able to relate to my players.

NS: What have you learned most about being a coach as the years have gone by?

RM: I learned that all the kids are different and you have to be able to adapt as a coach and coach each particular kid and find what works for that kid and help him improve every day.

NS: You were on the coaching staff for the Cleveland Browns in 2008. Would you say it’s more of a joy coaching college players compared to professional players?

RM: I had a great time coaching in the NFL. I have a great time coaching college players. Coaching football is coaching football. If it’s what you love to do, you’ll have a great time coaching, whoever you’re going to coach.