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  1. #1
    singersp's Avatar
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    Past imperfect: Childress stands by coach Eric Bieniemy

    Posted on Sat, Mar. 04, 2006

    [size=18px]Past imperfect[/size]

    Vikings coach Brad Childress stands by running backs coach Eric Bieniemy, who says he has learned from several improprieties.

    BY DON SEEHOLZER
    Pioneer Press


    Eric Bieniemy admits he has made mistakes in the past, but he is focusing on his future.

    Take that from Vikings coach Brad Childress, who has assembled a fresh, young staff and believes his running backs coach is among the NFL's up-and-coming assistants.

    "Let's face it, football is a game of emotion," Childress said, "and he's got a little bit of emotion to him, and he does have fire. And his guys will feel that, and our offense will feel that."

    UCLA coach Karl Dorrell is another fan of Bieniemy, who served as the Bruins' running backs coach for the past three seasons.

    "He's a great coach. He's done a tremendous job for me here," Dorrell said. "I think it's not just the coaching ability you're getting; you're getting a great person, too. He's very passionate about this profession, and that's why he's climbed the ladder so quickly."

    Bieniemy helped develop Maurice Drew into a 1,000-yard rusher and highly regarded NFL draft prospect while at UCLA and earned high marks for his one season as recruiting coordinator.

    But he also had to deal with fallout from the football scandal that rocked the University of Colorado, where Bieniemy starred as a running back from 1987-90 and served as running backs coach and lead recruiter from 2001-02.

    According to an April 28, 2004, article in the Daily Bruin, UCLA's student newspaper, information about Bieniemy's time as a player and coach at Colorado resurfaced in several depositions given in 2003 for a lawsuit brought against the university by a former student who alleged she was raped during a football recruiting party.

    Included in those depositions, according to the article, were allegations that Bieniemy choked a female parking attendant at a Colorado football game in 1994.

    Not true, according to Bieniemy.

    "What happened, happened," he said. "Whether you agree or not, I just happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time where I got blamed for something that I didn't do. Obviously, I was charged, but 30 other people were there who didn't get charged, and I didn't do anything. That's how it happened, but when you're Eric Bieniemy, you cannot put yourself in certain situations. That's what you learn throughout all of this."

    Bieniemy, who was cited for DUI in April 2001, after he returned to Colorado to coach, said he has learned from his mistakes.

    "We've all done things as 18- to 21-year-olds," he said. "We all have made our share of mistakes, but I also know what's important in life. You've got to have a strong family base, and I do, and that's very, very important to me. I want my family and my kids to have the finer things in life. And in order to do that, you've got to make changes."

    Childress, quarterbacks coach with the Philadelphia Eagles in 1999, when Bieniemy finished his nine-year NFL career there, said the Colorado allegations weren't a factor in the Vikings' hiring process.

    "They were a nonissue because they were researched by myself and by the NFL, and I felt like they had been dealt with," Childress said. "Everybody makes mistakes."

    Character issues have taken on added importance with the Vikings, who have been involved in a number of embarrassing off-the-field incidents in recent seasons and last year adopted a team code of conduct.

    Owner Zygi Wilf, asked shortly after Bieniemy was hired in January what he knew of the new coach's background, said Childress and others had checked him out thoroughly.

    "That's a coach's decision," Wilf said. "We're used to giving people chances."

    Childress, who got to know Bieniemy in '99 as a player and during the minority coaching internship Bieniemy served with the Eagles in 2004, said the Vikings have added an individual of high character.

    "I can tell you that he's a guy that is a good family guy, a good teacher, a very good role model," Childress said. "The guys that he's recruited to Colorado and UCLA, nobody there would tell you anything but. I think he's someone his players can look up to because he's walked the walk."

    Bieniemy was a good enough player to finish third in the Heisman Trophy balloting as a senior at Colorado, but he is 36 now — a husband of 12 years and father of an 11-year-old son, Eric III, with cerebral palsy.

    According to those who know Bieniemy, all that has had a maturing influence on the former running back.

    "He loves his son dearly," Dorrell said. "I know they have a special relationship. Eric has a great family, a great wife, Mia, and their youngest son, Elijah (7). It's very loving, caring, supportive. It's a great fit for Minneapolis to get the Bieniemy family up there."

    Leaving UCLA was difficult for Bieniemy, who is from New Orleans but grew up in Los Angeles. But the opportunity to live near the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, which has facilities to treat cerebral palsy patients, made it easier.

    Bieniemy's in-your-face coaching style reportedly rubbed some players the wrong way at UCLA, but at the recent NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis, Drew credited his former position coach for being a positive influence on his development.

    The fact that Bieniemy has been through some adversity also has helped him as a coach, he believes, and has allowed him to better relate to players who might be going through similar problems.

    "Every player and every situation is different, but yes, it has helped," Bieniemy said. "The one thing in coaching that I've learned is you've got to be able to identify with the player. I truly believe personal relationships help when you're coaching a young man because he's going to know why you're coming at him in a certain way."

    Bieniemy's career goal is to be a college or NFL head coach someday, but he is prepared to work up through the ranks.

    "If you're doing it the right way, doors will open up," he said.

    Sean Jensen contributed to this report. Don Seeholzer can be reached at [email protected]

    Past imperfect

    "If at first you don't succeed, parachuting is not for you"

  2. #2
    COJOMAY is offline Jersey Retired
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    Re: Past imperfect: Childress stands by coach Eric Bieniemy

    Childress, quarterbacks coach with the Philadelphia Eagles in 1999, when Bieniemy finished his nine-year NFL career there, said the Colorado allegations weren't a factor in the Vikings' hiring process.

    "They were a nonissue because they were researched by myself and by the NFL, and I felt like they had been dealt with," Childress said. "Everybody makes mistakes."

    Character issues have taken on added importance with the Vikings, who have been involved in a number of embarrassing off-the-field incidents in recent seasons and last year adopted a team code of conduct.

    Owner Zygi Wilf, asked shortly after Bieniemy was hired in January what he knew of the new coach's background, said Childress and others had checked him out thoroughly.

    "That's a coach's decision," Wilf said. "We're used to giving people chances."

    I wonder if this includes Ontarrio Smith????
    Kentucky Vikes Fan

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  3. #3
    DaunteHOF is offline Coach
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    Re: Past imperfect: Childress stands by coach Eric Bieniemy

    We'll see how it turns out...
    Its not braggin if you can do it!!!

  4. #4
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    Re: Past imperfect: Childress stands by coach Eric Bieniemy

    ofcourse the minnesota media needs to find everything negative that they can like usual
    I don t buy Wisconsin cheese.

  5. #5
    so-cal vike's Avatar
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    Re: Past imperfect: Childress stands by coach Eric Bieniemy

    As fans we need to stand by Coach Childress and the decisions he makes. (For now)

    Dicipline is something that has been sorely lacking in the past few years and I think that having a young coach who's dealt with trouble and is succeding in spite of it can be a positive influence on the players around him. It certainly seems, according to the article, to be the thinking of the higher-ups as well. Now all we need is for the players to jump on board,(no, not a party boat) and we could have a winning franchise again.

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    FedjeViking is offline Ring of Fame
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    Re: Past imperfect: Childress stands by coach Eric Bieniemy

    Like anyone is perfect! Another jab by the media! I'm really getting tired of their getting fans upset over crap like this.
    [move]"Our day WILL come!! I just hope I LIVE long enough to see it!"[/move]

  7. #7
    so-cal vike's Avatar
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    Re: Past imperfect: Childress stands by coach Eric Bieniemy

    The media is nothing more than entertainment. They rely on ratings and the way to get ratings is to put forth a story which will cause controversy. The only thing the media is good for is stats, pure numbers, and they aren't even very good at that.

  8. #8
    singersp's Avatar
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    Re: Past imperfect: Childress stands by coach Eric Bieniemy

    "FedjeViking" wrote:
    Like anyone is perfect! Another jab by the media! I'm really getting tired of their getting fans upset over crap like this.
    But I'd guarantee ya if it was Tice who made the comment & hired that coach, several PPOers would be blasting Tice instead of the media. :wink:

    "If at first you don't succeed, parachuting is not for you"

  9. #9
    so-cal vike's Avatar
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    Re: Past imperfect: Childress stands by coach Eric Bieniemy

    Now yes, but not in his first year.

  10. #10
    FedjeViking is offline Ring of Fame
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    Re: Past imperfect: Childress stands by coach Eric Bieniemy

    "singersp" wrote:
    "FedjeViking" wrote:
    Like anyone is perfect! Another jab by the media! I'm really getting tired of their getting fans upset over crap like this.
    But I'd guarantee ya if it was Tice who made the comment & hired that coach, several PPOers would be blasting Tice instead of the media. :wink:
    That's what I'm talking about. They always need to find negative stuff to print. Why can't they make a big deal out of some good things once in awhile.
    [move]"Our day WILL come!! I just hope I LIVE long enough to see it!"[/move]

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