Not long ago, Mike Singletary thought his coaching days were done. He contemplated leaving the game he loved and starting a new career in the ministry.
Then the Hall of Fame linebacker and former NFL head coach received a call that changed both his mindset and his career outlook.
The voice on the other end of the line was Kirk McJunkin, executive athletic director at Trinity Christian, who had an opening and wondered if Singletary might consider coaching a high school team.
Within a week, Singletary was named the head coach of the Trojans.
“I thought maybe I was done with football. I talked with many different coaches and many different programs, and either it just didn’t work, or the timing wasn’t right,” Singletary said. “I never knew if I was going to have the opportunity to get back to a high school situation, but it’s been very refreshing. I’m very thankful.”
So one of the most decorated linebackers in NFL history is now coaching at an Addison private school, where fans on Friday nights number in the hundreds — hardly the tens of thousands on Sunday afternoons to which he’s accustomed.
However, he sees it as an exciting new opportunity.
“I really didn’t quite know what I was looking for at this point. I just wanted to find the right opportunity at any level,” Singletary said. “It was about finding the right fit for what I believe God has called me to do.”
Following a legendary 12-year career with the Chicago Bears, Singletary was named linebackers coach with the Baltimore Ravens in 2003.
He became the head coach of the San Francisco 49ers in 2008 and was fired two years later. After a stint as an assistant in Minnesota, he became frustrated.
“I needed to get out of the game,” Singletary said. “I saw everybody doing the same thing, screaming at the kids and then screaming at themselves. The hotter it got, the louder they screamed. You played on Sunday, and hopefully, you didn’t get fired on Monday. I was thinking there had to be a better way.”
When he left Minnesota, Singletary traveled around the country for more than a year, visiting with active and retired coaches about what made them successful both in football and in life. He interviewed for various jobs that never materialized.
Now Singletary, 59, a Houston native and Baylor alumnus, inherits a TCA squad looking to bounce back after a 2-10 season. He plans to play every player in every game, and said has enjoyed teaching fundamentals to his teenage protégés.
Meanwhile, he also has been named the head coach of Alliance Memphis, a pro team in the upstart Alliance Football League that will begin play next spring. He’s balancing the two obligations with the help of capable assistants in both locations.
“I don’t know how long I’m going to be here, but all I know is that every day, I am going to go 100 miles an hour,” he said. “We’re not just preparing [TCA players] for a football game or a football season. We’re preparing them for life. As I’m coaching them, I’m really coaching my sons. I try to treat these players the same way.”