At the time, he may of dreamed of what it would be like to be the strength coach of the Ohio State Buckeyes when he stepped foot into the Ernie Biggs Athletic Training Facility, known as the "north" facility, to become a G.A. strength and conditioning coach. That was right around 1987.
But, a little over twenty five years later, football coach Urban Meyer was to be named as Ohio State's 24th head coach. And once again, Meyer would call upon his long time right hand man.... Mickey Marotti... to take on a lead role of the responsibility of reviving a college football powerhouse program that had seemed to have fallen into a stage of hibernation.
Coach Urban Meyer and Mickey Marotti have been teamed together basically since the time Meyer, who as a college football assistant coach, was on a site visit at the University of Cincinnati and witnessed Marotti who was the U.C. Bearcat Strength Coach in action. Coach Marotti was training the 'Cats at that particular moment and it definitely caught Meyer's attention. The training style was seemingly relentless. It was intense. Marotti was building a foundation-- that of a highly motivated and enthused strength coach who infused his fervor on the athletes with whom he worked. He recognized a connection between intense physical training and development of the mindset of highly competive athletes. Even the Cincinnati Bearcat basketball team reaped the rewards of having Marotti there. Basketball Coach Bob Huggins loved it , too. Meyer made note of that coach he'd seen at Cincinnati. Meyer, at the time was an assistant coach at Notre Dame, and sought out to somehow get him in up to South Bend. That happened.
And, finally a few years later, Urban Meyer was able to reconnect with Mickey Marotti and bring him to Gainesville, Florida to take on the task with the University of Florida Gators. The combination worked. The trophy case now sports a pair of glass football trophies: college football's top prize. Several years later, Marotti departed the University of Florida, where he had helped mold top players into a national championship quality program, and headed back to Columbus, Ohio. This time though, the stockily built coach who once played college football at West Liberty University in West Virginia, would take on a larger, all encompassing role. Strength coach, yes... for sure...but now he'd take on even greater span as indicated with a new title of Assistant AD for Football Sports Performance. Departments like athletic training, custom tailored football sports nutrition, sport psychology, sports medicine, team physicians, GPS sports science, game day and practice prep would all be under his umbrella now. But most of all, motivation. That's Coach Mick's specialty.... motivation. When you've been doing the job as long as he has, you know and understand many types of personalities. Marotti developed a knack for knowing how to get elite football athletes from all walks of life to desire excellence and a hard training mentality. Ultimately, it takes a ton of hard work and effort. Marotti can help to extract it.
So, when Coach Marotti made the return trip to "C-bus," this time it was to The Woody Hayes Athletic Center, where a long corridor separates the original football training facility of the 70's and 80's from what is now one of the premier facilities of it's kind in all of collegiate and professional athletics. Ohio State....where Meyer and Marotti were once Graduate Assistant coaches, the two have now assumed their ultimate dream jobs with aspirations of taking the Buckeyes to college football's final four...and perhaps beyond.
Check out some of the photos here from the Woody Hayes Athletic Center, along with Part One of The Buckeyes in Training. These are some behind-the-scenes looks into how Coach Marotti prepares the Buckeyes.
ASAP Video and Blogpost by Ed Cicale
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