CHAT WITH JIM CALDWELL (PART TWO)

Jim Caldwell is in his third season as head coach of the Colts. He joined Indianapolis in 2002 as quarterbacks coach before gaining the title of assistant head coach in 2005 and associate head coach in 2008.

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Jim Caldwell is in his third season as head coach of the Colts.  He joined Indianapolis in 2002 as quarterbacks coach before gaining the title of assistant head coach in 2005 and associate head coach in 2008.  In his first two seasons at the helm, Caldwell has directed the Colts to 14-2 and 10-6 regular-season records, winning consecutive AFC South titles, an AFC Championship and a berth in Super Bowl XLIV.  Caldwell is one of approximately 30 NFL head coaches ever to produce 24 regular-season victories and a Super Bowl berth in any two-year career span, while being one of four field leaders to do it in opening a career.  Caldwell spent a few moments recently visiting with Colts.com.

PART TWO Why did you choose to go to college at Iowa?"Number one, I had a great opportunity to play and play early. I felt real comfortable with Iowa City and the surrounding area. It was an institution and program that had the right core values. I really wanted to play for Frank Lauterbur. He was the head coach at that time. He and I forged a bond that remains strong to this day. He is in his 80's and still resides in Toledo, Ohio. I talk to him once every few months or so. Also, it was a great place to go to school and get a quality education. The University of Iowa had an outstanding academic reputation."

Was Iowa culturally similar to Wisconsin?
"It's probably the same as it is today. Back in those days, Iowa was the second-smallest school in the Big 10. Northwestern was the only school smaller. There were a lot of huge land-grant institutions in the Big 10 conference. We had 23,000 students at that time. Northwestern had 6,000 students, and the rest of them increased from that point. It was still a large school, but it had a small school feel to it. Iowa City revolves around the university."

Did you consider going to any other schools?
"Yes, the University of Wisconsin. It was only 35 miles away from my hometown. As a matter of fact, I attended numerous football and basketball games in Camp Randall Stadium and the UW Field House throughout my years in high school. One of my high school teammates actually went to school there and placekicked. I thought about it. It really came down to those two schools."

What was your best collegiate experience?
"As a player, probably the most memorable moment happened during my senior year we played Penn State. Penn State was a real good football team during that stretch, and we ended up beating them in Beaver Stadium, 7-6. It was a defensive battle. It was a real battle from start to finish. It was the kind of game you love to play in. It was hard-fought, very physical and low-scoring."

Can you talk about speaking to the team before the game?
"I was a captain, so it was probably the first extensive dialogue or speech I made to the team. It was just one of those things, certain games certain situations arise, particularly in games where people don't give you a chance to win, and most of the pundits certainly felt that way. We felt the odds were against us, and everybody was anticipating a big blow out. Penn State had beaten us before down at our place, and they beat us pretty handily. State College is a pretty tough place to get to, fly into Harrisburg and then bus up to State College. You couple that with a legendary coach and a great team. At that time they were really humming along. They literally almost got whoever they wanted from some football hotbeds, particularly Western Pennsylvania and New Jersey. We just kind of felt that it was the right time. Fortunately, the guys played hard and played tough, and we ended up winning."

When did you first think about a career in football after your playing days?
"Probably shortly after (my playing days were done). It was probably that following spring. The draft was over with, and I didn't get drafted. I started looking at other options. A couple of guys on staff asked me if I ever thought about coaching and offered me a position as a graduate assistant to come back and work with the team. That's where it all got started. I realized shortly thereafter that I had a bit of a knack for it, and I enjoyed it thoroughly. I had a great passion for it. I always thought I wanted to be involved in a profession where I had an opportunity to significantly impact young people. I think a great place to do that is in the sports arena. A lot of individuals in my family are ministers, and I can see a parallel universe. You can certainly have an impact on them spiritually, mentally, emotionally and physically with the training and dedication that it requires. I felt a calling to coach. It's been fun, challenging and rewarding."

Was it nice to go into coaching after playing football for all those years?
"It was a real smooth transition for me. Coach Bob Commings, who was the head coach at the University of Iowa, offered me a position as a graduate assistant. Those positions were hard to come by. They were back then and they are today. I feel real fortunate that I was asked to do so. The worked me extremely hard, taught me the basic rudiments of the profession and allowed me to develop."

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