Final Five

with Tony Elliott, co-offensive coordinator and running backs coach, Clemson University football

Tony Elliott, co-offensive coordinator and running backs coach, Clemson University football 

A walk-on wide receiver and 2003 captain of the Clemson Tigers, Tony Elliott spent two years working as an industrial engineer for Michelin North America after his college days. But new coaching opportunities gave him a path back to football, and he now prepares an offensive squad at his alma mater to take on the likes of Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech in the Atlantic Coast Conference. 

As a student-athlete at Clemson, did your industrial engineering major set you apart from your teammates?

As a student-athlete at Clemson, I chose to study industrial engineering and was the only football player in the major at the time. There were other players on the team that also chose to study very challenging majors. Many would say that being an IE and a football player set me apart from my teammates, but that was not my motivation. I wanted to be the best on and off the field, and I was blessed with the talent and support to do so.Tony Elliott, co-offensive coordinator and running backs coach, Clemson University football 

What sort of career path did you envision for yourself as an IE before returning to football?

I envisioned that I would begin in engineering and then transition into a management position. Two years into my career, I decided to make a change and enter the coaching field.

What relationship, if any, does industrial engineering have with college football?

Preparation is the key to being successful in any profession. There is a lot that goes into preparing for a game. Statistical analysis, process analysis and a systematic approach to problem-solving are a few of the techniques that I believe are integrated into college football on some level.

How have you applied industrial engineering as a football coach?

As an IE you must know the process, set the standards and communicate effectively with all levels of a corporation to achieve the goals.

As a football coach you must be an expert of the system that you run, be able to simplify your teaching so that your players can understand and then push your players toward the goals that are set.

As a coach, what's your biggest challenge for the 2015 season?

The biggest challenge for the 2015 season is to motivate the other coaches and players to do the little things correctly on a consistent basis. Games are won during the week with proper preparation. If we will know our opponent, know our plan and execute with precision, we will have a chance to have a successful 2015 season.

– Interview by David Brandt 

David Brandt is the Web managing editor for IIE. 

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