Frequently military terms and jargon are used when discussing the sport of football. And at times, they can be overused, but if Texas Tech’s coach Rusty Whitt is using it, then you may just want to listen a little closer. The Red Raiders Strength and Conditioning Coach was a US Army Special Forces Communication Sergeant during the war in Iraq and credits his training and leadership for bringing him home safely to resume his life.
Whitt is known as one of the toughest, no-nonsense coaches in college football. He credited the lessons learned at Ft. Bragg and Camp Mackall as the catalyst for getting him home safely from two different tours in Iraq. Whitt was voted the most intimidating strength coach in 2013 by lostletterman.com.
“So I happened to go to selection for 21 days. The next class went for 15. Then it just kind of changes up. But those 21 days, I think 220-some odd guys started and around 48 completed it and got selected. Then you get into the actual course, which took me two years. I had to learn … I was an 18 Echo, which is your communications sergeant. Anything that has to do with military communications, I had to become proficient in, which was a long course. I took Russian, which is an extremely hard language to comprehend. It took two years to do all that.”
“And so I’m riding in a truck with all these guys. The driver had been there for a year. My incoming, my new team captain, was with me riding up front. I had a gunner who had been there almost a year and a medic sitting by me who’d been there for almost a year.
“We left our patrol base, came to a T-intersection and the outgoing team sergeant in the very first truck radios back: ‘OK, Captain. We take a right, it’s Little House on the Prairie. We take a left, it’s Black Hawk Down.’
“Pause. Captain goes, (Click) ‘Uh, let’s go ahead and watch Black Hawk Down.’ And the gunner starts laughing. He goes,(twangy voice) ‘Hey, man, you’re gonna get a CIB in about five minutes.’ And we took a left and within a minute we’re receiving gunfire. So it was an eye-opening experience.”
Whitt is known for his intensity and he has brought that in spades to the Red Raiders football program along with some Special Forces training methods, including a rucksack event on the first day of training.
He once was so amped up that he head-butted a player before a bowl game that was wearing a helmet, opening a deep gash in his forehead. Rather than having the cut attended to, Whitt spent the entire game on the sidelines with a stream of blood running down his face. Welcome to the big leagues Texas Tech.
The entire article and interview from Lubbock On Line can be found here:
Featured photo: YouTube Rusty Whitt
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