At a Glance
Hometown: Mike was born in Hampton, Virginia (born March 15, 1972). He spent his youth growing up in the small Navy shipyard town of Newport News in southeast Virginia. College: Mike graduated from the College of William & Mary with a degree in Sociology in 1995. He played on the Tribe’s football team for three years. Tomlin ended his career with a school record, grabbing 20 touchdowns. Mike was a co-captain and earned second team All-Yankee Conference honors in 1994. NFL Experience: In 2001, Mike entered the NFL as defensive backs coach for Tony Dungy’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers. During his tenure in Tampa, the defense never ranked worse than 6th overall and his defensive backs were extremely productive helping the Buccaneers earn their first Super Bowl title. Tomlin spent five seasons learning valuable lessons in life and football under Coach Dungy.Mike spent one season as defensive coordinator for the Minnesota Vikings before being interviewed by the Rooney family. On January 22, 2007, Tomlin became the 16th Pittsburgh Steelers head coach, replacing Bill Cowher. Mike was the tenth African American head coach in NFL history and the first in Steelers franchise history. He was the third consecutive Pittsburgh head coach to win his first regular season game, and first to win his inaugural matchup against the long time rival Cleveland Browns. During his first year as head coach, Mike led his Steelers to the AFC North Championship. On February 1, 2009, Tomlin became the youngest head coach to lead his team to a Super Bowl victory, fastest in Steelers history. He joined Tony Dungy and Lovie Smith (the two rival head coaches in Super Bowl XLI), becoming the third African American to coach a team into the Super Bowl.
Family Bio: If you could sum up Mike Tomlin’s view of family, it would be “joyful fitting”. Not in a burdensome way, but the lifting up of his wife and children for them to be all God created them to be. Coach Tomlin’s family life started with lifting- weightlifting that is. He met his wife Kiya in the weight room at William & Mary. She was a gymnast recovering from a shoulder injury and he was rehabbing a football injury. They were friends for two years before they started dating but he knew early on that there was something special about her. She was beautiful inside and out. At her mother’s house on Christmas Eve in 1995, Mike surprised Kiya and proposed. Despite being caught totally off-guard, to Mike’s delight, she still said yes right away. A few years later, Mike also experienced the joyful lifting of his first son Michael when he was born. Coach said, “When I lifted him the first time, he was so light, yet so heavy,” referring to the seriousness of his call as a father. The joy and responsibility he felt at Michael’s birth repeated itself again with the birth of his second son, Mason, and more recently, the birth of his daughter Harlyn Quinn. Mike also does heavy lifting regularly with his cereal spoon. He said having breakfast with his children is a wonderful time for conversation. “I have found some of our best moments occur around our breakfast table. It’s in those times that I feel I am really getting to know my kids, what they like and what they are struggling with. It also gives me an opportunity to teach them things that are important for me to pass along like loving the Lord and how to make good decisions. And I want to make sure they always know how much I love them.”Mike knows how important it is to have the security of Dad’s love. As a young boy, he never knew his biological father. But fortunately, Mike was joyfully lifted when his mother remarried and his new step father, Leslie Copeland, became the All Pro Dad in Mike’s life. “He is a wonderful man who coached my little league teams and eventually became my best friend.”Mike has spent a lot of time joyfully lifting, but truth be told, he has been lifted further than he can imagine by the unconditional love of his family. And he wants fathers everywhere to know that a dad’s duty is delightful and joyful. Mike’s mother, Julia Copeland, bore two sons. Mike is the youngest son, his brother ‘Eddie’ is three and a half years older. Julia spent 32 years working in a shipyard in Newport News, Virginia. She built aircraft carriers and nuclear submarines for the United States Navy.Mike’s step father, Leslie Copeland, was what brother Eddie called, “The only father we ever knew.” Copeland, a former semi-pro baseball player, led his step-son’s baseball team to a district championship his first season as Mike’s head coach. Career Bio: PLAYER: The College of William & Mary (1992-1994)COACH: The Virginia Military Institute (1995), University of Memphis (1996), Arkansas State University (1997-1998), University of Cincinnati (1999-2000), Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2001-2005), Minnesota Vikings (2006), Pittsburgh Steelers (2007-Present) Career Highlights: • Produced winning records in his first three seasons as head coach, only the second Steelers head coach to accomplish such a feat in franchise history• Tomlin’s 31-17 (64.6%) winning record during first three seasons as head coach is second best Steelers franchise history• Recorded 22 regular season victories during his first two seasons as head coach, setting a Pittsburgh Steelers franchise record• Super Bowl XLIII Champion (Pittsburgh Steelers)• 1st Steelers coach to win division titles in his first two seasons• One of seven NFL head coaches to win a Super Bowl during first two seasons• Second Pittsburgh Steelers head coach to record a winning record, division title, and earn a playoff berth during first season• January 29, 2009- Named 2008 NFL Coach of The Year• 2008, AFC North Division Title (Pittsburgh Steelers)• 2007, AFC North Division Title (Pittsburgh Steelers)• Super Bowl XXXVII Champion (Tampa Bay Buccaneers)• Finished College of William & Mary with school record 20 touchdown catches• Finished College of William & Mary with school record 20.2 yard per catch average• 1994, 1st team All-Yankee Conference Selection
Volunteer: • Annual contributor and supporter of Hampton Roads Youth Foundation• 2009, Inducted into the Boys & Girls Club Hall of Fame for his leadership in his respective profession and the footprint he has left behind in his community• Mike was a former member of the Boys & Girls Club in Newport News, Virginia (Inducted into the club’s Hall of Fame in 2009)• Speaks to Pittsburgh public school 9th graders about the importance of working hard and succeeding in life• Serves as honorary chair of the annual “Extra Mile Golf Outing”, the foundation provides support for parochial elementary schools educating children of inner-city families• Contributor to the Extra Mile Education Foundation• Annual supporter of the NFL Players Charity Bowling Party
A Few Players Influenced by Mike Tomlin:
Brian Kelly (Tampa Bay Buccaneers), Ronde Barber (Tampa Bay Buccaneers), John Lynch (Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Dexter Jackson (Tampa Bay Buccaneers), Jermaine Phillips (Tampa Bay Buccaneers), Dwight Smith (Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Minnesota Vikings), Will Allen ( Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Pittsburgh Steelers), Antoine Winfield (Minnesota Vikings), Fred Smoot (Minnesota Vikings), Cedric Griffin (Minnesota Vikings), Darren Sharper (Minnesota Vikings), E.J. Henderson (Minnesota Vikings), Aaron Smith (Pittsburgh Steelers), Casey Hampton (Pittsburgh Steelers, Deshea Townsend (Pittsburgh Steelers), Hines Ward (Pittsburgh Steelers), Heath Miller (Pittsburgh Steelers), Willie Parker (Pittsburgh Steelers), Alan Faneca (Pittsburgh Steelers), Troy Polamalu (Pittsburgh Steelers), Rashard Mendenhall (Pittsburgh Steelers), LaMarr Woodley (Pittsburgh Steelers), Max Starks (Pittsburgh Steelers), Lawrence Timmons (Pittsburgh Steelers), Ryan Clark (Pittsburgh Steelers), James Farrior (Pittsburgh Steelers), Antwaan Randle El (Pittsburgh Steelers), Brett Keisel (Pittsburgh Steelers)
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