[size=18px]About Brad Childress[/size]
BY KEVIN SEIFERT Star/Tribune
Don't know much about Brad Childress? You're not the only one. He mostly kept his distance from the public after the Vikings made him their coach in January. But in a revealing interview in his office this summer, Childress spoke candidly about his life growing up in suburban Chicago. He discussed his coaching style, his near- artistic view of quarterback play and joked about his, uh, follicly challenged head. Some of the highlights:
QB IS THE PIANO MAN
When a quarterback calls a play, Childress refers to it as "delivering the essay." Asked this summer to elaborate on quarterbacks, he began playing an imaginary piano. "I think you've got to be the master at the piano," he said. "You've got to play all of the keys. You've got to play multiple keys at the same time. So as a quarterback you've got to have a feel for everything. It's probably the hardest position in sports to play."
HE HAD HAIR ONCE
In a 20-year-old photograph sitting in his office, Childress is pictured with his oldest daughter, Cara. His hair is noticeably thinning. He jokes frequently about being bald and says "hair discrimination" is not the reason it took him 28 years to get a head coaching job. He does acknowledge that a few people are surprised when they meet. At about 5-9, Childress is not one of the NFL's tallest head coaches. "I was out with my daughter recently," he said. "People started to identify me. And the flurry started, and somebody came over and said, 'Gee, I expected you to be a little bit bigger than that.' But that's more bark than bite. If you have a presence and command, it doesn't matter what size you are."
DAILY T.O. HELLO
A telling facet of Childress' personality emerged last summer when he was still Eagles offensive coordinator. He had a tense relationship with hotshot receiver Terrell Owens, who did not want to speak to him. So Childress made a point to say, "Hi, Terrell," every day. In his just-released book, Owens implied that Childress did so purely to antagonize him. Childress said: "I'm always going to address you. This is what I said: 'How's it going, Terrell?' Or 'Hey, Terrell.' That was deemed that I was tormenting him. He called it 'antagonizing.' If I was antagonizing him, then I've antagonized 300,000 or 400,000 people in my life."
THE BEST POLICY
Childress certainly was not shy in discussing the shortcomings of Daunte Culpepper, whom the Vikings traded to Miami in March. Speaking directly and honestly "is the only way I know how to do it," Childress said. "I think people in the long run appreciate that. Just deal in the currency of truth. If I tell you a lie, the next time I [talk to you], I can't remember what I told you the last time. If I tell you the truth, it's a lot easier to just keep telling the truth, over and over. Coaching these guys is no different than coaching anybody. As long as you're honest and direct, and the guy knows where you stand, they appreciate it. If they're not afraid to ask, then I'm not afraid to tell. And sometimes I'll tell them before they ask."
IF HE WASN'T A COACH ...
Childress majored in psychology at Eastern Illinois and once planned to go into counseling. "Maybe I'd have had the bald head and the beard," he said. "I would have sat in the chair, nodded my head, rubbed my chin and said, 'Tell me about your mother.' My favorite class was abnormal psychology. Schizophrenia, dementia. I love the way the mind can go bad. It's kind of sick, but you know ..."