Author Topic: Mike Ekeler  (Read 2367 times)

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Offline the_ugly_clown

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Mike Ekeler
« on: February 18, 2014, 02:10:55 PM »


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Re: Mike Ekeler
« Reply #2 on: February 18, 2014, 02:21:55 PM »
nebraska was his dream job, 'nuff said about ol' crash


Cheesy Mustache QB might make an appearance.

New warning: Don't get in a fight with someone who doesn't even need to bother to buy ink.

Online WildcatNkilt

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Re: Mike Ekeler
« Reply #3 on: February 18, 2014, 02:34:07 PM »
He obviously sucks at coaching too. 
Kansas City Blue Barbecue fan.

Offline hatingfrancisco

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Re: Mike Ekeler
« Reply #4 on: February 18, 2014, 02:58:27 PM »
JFC guys.   :facepalm:

Online michigancat

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Re: Mike Ekeler
« Reply #5 on: February 18, 2014, 03:10:09 PM »
jesus christ, I'm not going to answer a question to read that crap.

Offline MadCat

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Re: Mike Ekeler
« Reply #6 on: February 18, 2014, 03:26:45 PM »
Gross

Offline HELLHAMMER

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Re: Mike Ekeler
« Reply #7 on: February 18, 2014, 06:17:35 PM »
Drank beer with Crash a few times at Scoreboard.  Thought he was an ok guy but a little sketchy.

But eff that idiot.
High on Crack, Toting a Machine Gun

Offline bones129

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Re: Mike Ekeler
« Reply #8 on: February 18, 2014, 11:53:17 PM »
Always thought Crash was a bit overrated. Might be a good coach, might not be.

Offline wabash909

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Re: Mike Ekeler
« Reply #9 on: February 19, 2014, 03:59:33 AM »
Crash can blow me.  So sick of that guy.


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Offline MakeItRain

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Re: Mike Ekeler
« Reply #10 on: June 11, 2021, 02:21:40 PM »
Premium content from The Athletic and our ol buddy Ubs.

Please read, it's fun, there's probably new stuff in here you've not heard about, and it was hard as hell to c&p this from a phone.

Piranhas, media bans, Red Bull and RVs: Tennessee’s Mike Ekeler is college football’s most interesting coach
David Ubben Jun 11, 2021

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — For almost two decades, Mike Ekeler has been on staff at some of college football’s biggest programs: Oklahoma, LSU, Nebraska, USC, Georgia, and now Tennessee.

Boundless energy has marked his entire career. Around 3 a.m. every day, he’s awake.

More than once, he has proven himself willing to go the extra mile to do his job. Sometimes more than 20 miles. He famously attempted to run a marathon by himself on just a couple of days’ notice to motivate his linebackers, stopping 23 miles in after Nebraska state troopers stopped him for running on the freeway.

“To him, good is average. He’d ask how you were doing. ‘Coach, I’m good.’ ‘Good? I’m freakin’ phenomenal today,’” said Clay Jennings, who coached alongside Ekeler at North Texas.

“You’ve got one shot, so your chili better be hot,” Ekeler, 49, said this spring. He’s repeated the latter half in countless tweets since, as Vols fans have embraced what’s become the program’s unofficial slogan.

That mantra has bled into all facets of his life, from his playing days as a linebacker and campus legend at Kansas State to his life at home with his wife and children.

The Athletic spoke to more than a dozen friends, former teammates and colleagues to gather untold stories about Ekeler, who has spent most of his life staking his claim to the title of the most interesting coach in college football. Here are a few of our favorites.

His nickname is Crash.
Ekeler relished his role as a wedge buster on special teams for Kansas State in the early ’90s.

Every kickoff, he’d sprint downfield, throw his body into the now-outlawed wedge and take out as many blockers as possible while trying to flip back over the wedge to make a tackle. His recklessness freed up his teammates to make the play.

“It was my way, as a freshman, to get on the field,” Ekeler said. “And I love special teams, because you’re talking about high-speed collisions, train wrecks. That’s kind of my personality.”

Kirby Hocutt, a former Kansas State teammate who’s now the athletic director at Texas Tech, still calls him “Crash,” a name that originated with former voice of the Wildcats Mitch Holthus, who now calls Kansas City Chiefs games.

“He was an absolute madman coming down on kickoff,” said Kevin Lockett, who also played alongside Ekeler. “He was a wrecking ball. His energy level was absolutely nuts. If everyone was at a 10, Mike was at a 20.”

His pet piranha was kidnapped after its untimely death.
In high school, Ekeler purchased a piranha at a local pet store in Nebraska. He named him Carl Lipbalm Spackler, after Bill Murray’s character in “Caddyshack,” a film he can proudly quote verbatim.

“He was awesome, man,” Ekeler said of his beloved Carl. “He was big. He was probably a pound and a half.”

In college, he’d bring friends over to witness its live feedings; it ate about two dozen goldfish a day.

“Carl would corner all the little fish in the tank and then just attack and go to town,” said Laird Veatch, a college teammate who’s now the athletic director at Memphis.

Just before Ekeler’s senior season, while moving apartments, a roommate tried to fish Carl out of his tank with a net, and the fish bit a hole in the net and choked to death.

To honor his pet, Ekeler had it mounted on a plaque, and he hung the taxidermied corpse above his locker.

“He dedicated his season to Carl,” Veatch said.

Ekeler made a habit of kneeling in front of the piranha and chanting to it during the season. Not everyone was a fan of the ritual, especially Hocutt, who had an adjoining locker. Just before their final home game, the stuffed piranha went missing.

“I stole the dang thing and hid it. And Mike went ballistic,” Hocutt said.

He returned Carl to Ekeler before the Aloha Bowl in Hawaii.

He embraced a signature look at Kansas State. Weekly.
Each week, a teammate gave Ekeler a custom haircut.


“One week, it might be a mohawk. The next week, he’d color it a new color,” Hocutt said. “He’d always have something new on game day.”

He’d add eyeblack that would cover almost the entirety of his face under his eyes.

“He came out looking like a professional wrestler,” said J.J. Smith, a Wildcats teammate who now coaches high school football in New Orleans.

Hocutt once shaved an X in the top of Ekeler’s head on a whim. At the team meal later that night, head coach LHC Bill Snyder noticed his special teams captain’s newest look.

“Michael, what is that?” Snyder asked.

“It’s an X, coach. We got four games left and I’m going to let it grow in each quarter of the X for every win,” Ekeler said.

Snyder once banned Ekeler from talking to the media.
Ekeler and a few other seniors were asked to speak at Fan Appreciation Day. His teammates offered boilerplate speeches thanking fans for coming to the event and expressing enthusiasm for the upcoming season. Ekeler had bigger plans.

When it was his turn with the mic to close the event, he launched into Murray’s extended monologue from “Caddyshack” about his day caddying for the Dalai Lama in the Himalayas.

At a student pep rally the next day, he shrugged off Snyder’s request to thank students for attending and performed an unauthorized Bob Nelson skit to a confused crowd.

Snyder later approached his senior with a brief, critical review.

“Michael, you’re done speaking,” Snyder said.

Snyder later lifted the ban — and regretted it.
Snyder allowed Ekeler to talk to the media before his final game, the 1994 Aloha Bowl against Boston College. A Boston Globe reporter asked Ekeler to tell him something about Snyder most people didn’t know.

“The fact of the matter is, the man’s a party animal,” Ekeler said, launching into a Murray monologue from “Stripes.” “Chicks dig him, because he rarely wears underwear, and when he does, it’s usually something unusual.”

Ekeler compared Snyder to Sgt. Hulka from the film.

“He is our big toe,” he said.

The following day, papers across Boston ran Ekeler’s comments.



At a team meal that day, Snyder’s wife, Sharon, approached Ekeler.

“Hey, Mike, where’s this party animal you speak about?” she asked him.

He hit the bull’s-eye and paid the price.
Ekeler put his head through a plywood advertisement at the stadium during Kansas State’s 1994 spring game. Despite scraping up his neck, it spawned an idea.

Laird and Hocutt, when they spoke to alumni groups during the summer, told fans Ekeler would put his head through a different sign each game.

“So the first game I came sprinting out to the 50. I think the whole stadium had bets on which sign I was gonna be taking out,” Ekeler said. “It was crazy.”

They’d previously identified the first target: A Pepsi ad in the end zone.

“It looks like a bull’s-eye,” Ekeler said.

He took the field with his teammates and sprinted 70 yards, ready to drive his head through the logo. He succeeded but missed the mark slightly, slamming his head into a metal rail that backed the sign. It took a chunk out of his helmet and shoved his helmet down onto his nose, breaking the bone as blood cascaded down his chin.

“I had two stingers,” Ekeler said. “I couldn’t breathe.”

He went out and covered the opening kick anyway, with blood covering most of his face and neck.

“He’s wobbling, running down the field,” Hocutt said. “And gets blown up.”

That tradition ended that day.

He was ahead of the game on name, image and likeness ideas.
Ekeler made a habit of jumping around and slapping his own helmet before kickoffs, whipping the student section into a frenzy before launching himself downfield like a torpedo. His recklessness, attitude and look made him a legend on Kansas State’s campus.

Just after their eligibility expired, Veatch and Ekeler made posters with his face on it and “CRASH” in big, bold letters underneath. They’d walk around Aggieville and sell them at local bars.

“In the end, I don’t think we really actually made any money. I think we probably lost in the end,” Veatch said.

His legend in The Little Apple still resonates. When Ekeler arrived in Knoxville, he found a note on his desk from Troy Lane, the chief of police at the University of Tennessee, who spent more than a decade with the police at Kansas State.

“I was not a great player, but I set an NCAA record: I had more fun than anybody who ever played,” Ekeler said.

His energy is contagious.
John Papuchis was a graduate assistant with Ekeler at LSU and later coached with him at Nebraska and North Carolina. He saw firsthand as other coaches tried to temper Ekeler’s enthusiasm.

“This can be a rough profession at times,” Papuchis said. “The enthusiasm has never been stamped out of him, and it can happen to people, especially if you’re working for someone who’s hard to work for, in environments that aren’t very fun. It’s hard to maintain that level of enthusiasm on a daily basis, but he just always brings it.”

In the early days at LSU, Ekeler would ramble on about how all the work they put in was about to pay off. Papuchis wasn’t so sure.

Three seasons after Ekeler arrived on Les Miles’ staff, they followed defensive coordinator Bo Pelini to Nebraska for their first on-field coaching jobs at one of the nation’s biggest programs.

“That’s just kind of how he’s lived his life,” Papuchis said. “Somehow, someway, he comes out of things always on top.”

He’s not a fan of sleep.
Joe Gordon lived with Ekeler during his freshman year and noticed a pattern.

“He was a great big brother, but you never saw him sleep,” Gordon said. “You never caught him asleep on the couch, never saw him sitting there grabbing a nap. Never. He was always 1,000 miles an hour, he’d come running through the door. He’s a different, amazing type of human being.”

Ekeler says he does sleep … sometimes.

“I get a good, probably four hours a night,” Ekeler said.

That often leads to late-night adventures.
One night, when Ekeler was an assistant at Nebraska, he spotted an ad for a pair of jet skis. He liked what he saw, but there was one problem: They were in Minneapolis, a little more than a six-hour drive.

The Huskers had finished a day of spring practice. Around 9 p.m., after he and his wife, Barbie, put their kids to bed, Ekeler informed her he was going for a drive.

“I said, ‘Would you be mad?’ She said, ‘Yeah, I’d be mad.’ I said, ‘Would you be really, really mad?’ She said, ‘I’d be mad,’” Ekeler remembered. “Well, since you said you wouldn’t be really, really mad, I told them I’d be there by 7 a.m.’

“So I drove to Minneapolis, hooked these jet skis up at 7 a.m., came back, picked up my kiddos and we went out to the lake and went jet skiing all day.”

He bought an RV and drove it cross-country on a whim … multiple times.
Pelini was confused by the question. He asked Ekeler to repeat it.

You want to do what? Why would you drive home?

Ekeler was on a recruiting trip in Tampa, Fla., when he spotted an RV on a Friday afternoon. He wanted to buy it and drive it to Lincoln.

“You’re an idiot. I don’t care if you drive back,” Ekeler remembers Pelini telling him. “But we have a staff meeting at noon on Sunday.”

Ekeler bought the RV.

“I drove back straight through, pulled into Memorial Stadium 10 minutes before the staff meeting started,” Ekeler said.

On a trip to Orange Beach, Calif., Ekeler spotted another RV he liked. He headed on a 1,500-mile trip back home to Nebraska.

“I plugged in my GPS and it took me through the Rockies in the winter. It was a 45-foot diesel pusher with a 400 turbo-charged diesel Cummins in it. So it was bigger than a city bus,” Ekeler said. “I got home and I was like, ‘Man, that was a brutal trip.’ I looked at the map and I saved about 15 miles going through the Rockies. I could have just gone through Utah. Flat as a pancake. I learned my lesson: Look at a map and don’t just follow the GPS.”

While Ekeler was coaching at Indiana and North Texas, he lived in one of the three RVs he’s purchased in the past decade. At North Texas, he parked it in a grass lot a short walk from the team facility and academic center, for convenience’s sake.

“It all sounded like a great idea until he realized the train tracks ran right behind the grass lot,” said Jennings, who coached alongside Ekeler with the Mean Green. “Anytime the locomotives came through and hit that whistle, it would rumble his RV.”

He met his wife at 4 a.m.
Ekeler was attending the Phoenix Open with friends who were staying at Barbie’s place. When he arrived at the house at 4 a.m., upon his friends’ insistence, he woke her up to introduce himself.

“She sits up, smiles, and I walked out of there. I walked out of the living room and said, ‘That’s my wife,’” Ekeler said.

Before leaving Phoenix, he asked if she’d consider dating long distance. Her answer: No. She just wanted to be friends.

Eight months later, they were on a plane to Jamaica to get married. To do it, they had to arrive several days early and declare citizenship for the state to recognize the marriage. More than two decades later, they are now citizens of both the United States and Jamaica and parents of one son and three daughters.

He demolished and replaced their fireplace. Twice.
One day as an assistant at Nebraska, Ekeler decided he didn’t like the fireplace in their home. He spied some river rocks in his front yard and used them to build a new one.

“My wife calls me the project manager, that I can’t sit still and I’m always going to have a project,” Ekeler said.

It wasn’t the first time he’d done something like that. Ekeler also demolished and rebuilt a fireplace in a home back in Baton Rouge, too.

“It’s served me well in life,” Ekeler said, “asking for forgiveness, not permission.”

He cut down 100 trees in his backyard.
When Ekeler was on staff at Georgia for the 2014-15 seasons, his backyard faced a forest. One weekend, while Barbie was away, he decided he didn’t want a forest in his backyard. So he searched “how to cut down big trees” and got to work.

“I got my chainsaw and I bet I cut down over 100 trees,” Ekeler said. “When I got done, it looked like an atomic bomb went off. The cutting down part wasn’t bad. But when I got done, I looked at it and said, ‘Oh Lord, what did I do?'”

One tree felled by Ekeler stood more than 100 feet high. When it landed, a concerned neighbor came running, wanting to know why the ground was shaking.

“I wedged that tree just right,” Ekeler said, “because if I’d been wrong, it would have taken out my house.”

His eating habits may allow him to live to 100.
Barbie is a nutritionist and educated her husband about the foods he consumed. Now, it’s something he takes seriously.

“I spend half my paycheck at Whole Foods,” Ekeler said. “I don’t eat anything that’s not organic. Except Red Bull.”

He’s known for impromptu physical feats.
Ekeler earned a reputation for being the first coach in the office and often getting in a workout before a second coach arrived. At lunch, he’ll often get a second workout in.

In 2005, Ekeler was a graduate assistant at LSU. One wall of the weight room featured a pegboard, where players could grab a pair of pegs and climb as high as their upper body strength would take them. Only one player on LSU’s roster could reach the top of the wall.

Then 33, Ekeler walked in as several others were trying and failing to scale the wall, under the supervision of strength coach Tommy Moffitt.

“That’s easy. I could do that right now,” said Ekeler, wearing street clothes.

Moffitt rolled his eyes and told Ekeler to prove it.

“No warmup. No nothing. He just does it,” Papuchis said.

Not only did he do it, he did it faster than any player in LSU history, breaking Craig Steltz’s program record.

“I shattered it. And at the top, I did about 10 pull-ups to drive the point home,” Ekeler said.

He once started a Twitter war with himself.
Ekeler has earned a reputation as one of the sport’s most entertaining Twitter follows. Then-Kansas defensive coordinator Clint Bowen wanted a little juice of his own, so he turned over his account to Ekeler.

The two had a history dating to their days as Sunflower State Showdown rivals, when Bowen suited up for the Jayhawks. For more than a month, they traded spicy tweets back and forth.


It kept fans entertained, but it was a very one-sided feud.

“He’d go to my page and post something negative about himself and rebut himself on his Twitter. Everyone in the world thought we had a war going on, but in reality, he posted every bit of it from each other’s phones,” Bowen said. “It took off. I think I added about 5,000 followers that month.”

Playing with joy is a must.
When then-North Carolina linebacker Cole Holcomb got into a fight early in spring practice, fun seemed at a premium. So Ekeler issued an edict: If any linebacker nabbed a pick-six, he had two choices — to either throw or kick the ball into the woods that lined the practice field.

The next day, Andre Smith returned an interception for a touchdown and did as he was told: He chucked the ball out of sight into the forest.

“It’s his first spring there with us and Larry Fedora is pretty serious on the field, and he’s an offensive coach,” Papuchis said. “Defensive guys celebrating a ton is not his favorite thing to see at a practice. I’m dumbfounded, like, ‘What in the hell just happened?’ Larry was beside himself. I’m like, ‘Ek, what was that?’ And he says, ‘I told him to celebrate. I just wanted to see him do it. Wasn’t that awesome?’ I’m like, ‘No, I’m getting my ass ripped. No.’ And it didn’t bother him one bit.”

During film review at the next staff meeting, Fedora asked what happened.

“I told them to do it. I didn’t know we weren’t supposed to do that. It won’t happen again,” Ekeler said.

The lesson underscored a philosophy Ekeler has held since he played the sport.

“You gotta have fun,” Ekeler said. “You gotta whistle while you work. This should be the most fun four years of these guys’ lives. That’s why I love working for Coach (Josh) Heupel. Because Heup is the same way.

“Too many people in our profession, everything is gloom and doom, high pressure, and I just enjoy the process — and I want them to enjoy it, too.”

Online michigancat

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Re: Mike Ekeler
« Reply #11 on: June 11, 2021, 02:33:40 PM »
lmao Snyder was so much cooler back in the day

Offline yoga-like_abana

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Re: Mike Ekeler
« Reply #12 on: June 11, 2021, 02:51:39 PM »
Fun read, thanks for sharing

Offline 8manpick

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Re: Mike Ekeler
« Reply #13 on: June 11, 2021, 02:52:03 PM »
Thanks, that was great
:adios:

Offline nicname

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Re: Mike Ekeler
« Reply #14 on: June 11, 2021, 02:57:55 PM »
This is the content we crave.
If there was a gif of nicname thwarting the attempted-flag-taker and then gesturing him to suck it, followed by motioning for all of Hilton Shelter to boo him louder, it'd be better than that auburn gif.


Offline PurpleOil

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Re: Mike Ekeler
« Reply #15 on: June 12, 2021, 08:20:37 AM »
Awesome read. Love how he started quoting movies to describe Snyder.

Offline bucket

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Re: Mike Ekeler
« Reply #16 on: June 13, 2021, 09:59:26 AM »


I saved this image for the "Countdown to Kickoff" thread, but I'm afraid I'll forget so I'll just post here.

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Re: Mike Ekeler
« Reply #17 on: July 12, 2021, 07:07:20 PM »
Fort Riley Day could've been something with him around. 
"Honestly, I'm not even sure who we are trolling anymore."   ksu_MBB, March 8, 2016