Sunday, December 7, 2003

Look Who's Talking: Marvin Lewis



Marvin Lewis says things you can't hear, but if you pay attention, you'll understand. He punctuates almost every sentence with a smile. He could tell you your mother wears army boots, flash that cheeky grin, and you'd take it as constructive criticism and head straight to Nine West to buy her sensible pumps. That's a helpful trait for rebuilding an organization that's been as miserable as the Cincinnati Bengals during the past 12 years. Lewis, the team's 45-year-old head coach, has guided the Bengals to a 7-5 record in his first year on the job. The guy knows something about managing, and we say that with a smile.

IF SOMEONE ASKS YOU A STUPID QUESTION, how do you react? Do you blow up?

You can't, you better not. Because they'll quit coming to you with something. That one time can be the most important thing you may have to answer. And you better be a good listener. You can't be sarcastic, short or demeaning in your response.

CAN YOU LEARN ANYTHING while losing?

Any time you don't win, you better learn something from it, because you paid a price. Let's benefit from it in some way, turn it around into a positive.

CAN YOU WORK TOO MUCH? Coaches in the NFL are notorious for working 6 a.m. to midnight.

If they're doing that and they're being efficient, then so be it, that's great. But if they're not being productive and they're not being efficient, then they're probably making themselves overly tired, they're not thinking clearly, and they're being counter productive. I encourage our guys to be productive.

HOW DO YOU stay efficient?

You have a routine, and you can't let things draw you away from that routine. I have to tell Jack "no" (Jack Brennan, the Bengals' PR director who handles interview requests), because that's really taking away from what I really need to be spending my time doing. Sometimes less is better.

HOW DO YOU DEAL with stress?

I encourage our coaches to get a workout in every day. And they need to spend time with their families on Friday night for dinner. That's a big part of how we're going to be successful because we all have something invested in this. If a child's sick, or if a wife's ill, we're going to be OK without them (the assistant coach). They need to go take care of that, because stress at home is a lot greater than any stress that can be provided here.

WHO'S YOUR favorite president?

I don't know. I'm not much into politics. Let's just say G.W. Jr., because I've met him, so that's my favorite.

SKYLINE OR GOLD STAR?

I gotta say Gold Star. They're a sponsor.

WHAT'S ON YOUR car radio?

94.9 (WMOJ). Though I'm about to quit them because on a Friday morning they were talking about the big game in town, and it was Elder-Colerain - the Friday before we played Kansas City.

- John Byczkowski



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