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Merging Football and Life Coaching: A Conversation with Alec Cobb

Alec Cobb is a Youth, Family, and Community Sciences graduate certificate student in the Department of Agricultural and Human Sciences. He is also an offensive graduate assistant for NC State’s football team. We chatted with Cobb about his passion for football and coaching and how he is merging the two at NC State.

Tell us about your work as an offensive graduate assistant and the impact it can have.

In my role as an offensive graduate assistant for the football team at NC State, I play an essential part in the team’s success. Specifically, I work closely with the quarterbacks’ coach, offering my support and expertise in various aspects of the game. One of the key elements of my role is assisting in the organization of practice and game plans. This involves carefully crafting sessions that help our players refine their skills, improve their understanding of the game, and work together effectively as a team.

Scouting reports and opponent breakdowns are also within my purview. This involves researching and analyzing our upcoming opponents and dissecting their playing styles, strengths, and weaknesses. I take immense pride in my role, understanding that the quality of my work directly impacts the performance and success of the NC State football team. It’s not just about the individual players or coaches; it’s about the collective effort to achieve excellence on the field.

How are you merging life coaching and football?

My strong passion for life coaching is deeply intertwined with my dream of becoming a college football coach. This aspiration isn’t just about teaching the game; it’s about guiding and nurturing young student-athletes in every aspect of their lives, both on and off the football field. I came to this career choice after reflecting on my own experiences as a former college athlete and recognizing the profound influence that coaches have had on my personal growth. I believe that by pursuing this path, I can be a positive influence on other young adults, much like my coaches were for me.

During my time as a college athlete, I faced the demanding challenges of balancing academics, athletics and personal development. It was during this period that I began to truly understand the pivotal role coaches play in shaping not just an athlete’s skills, but their character as well. These coaches went above and beyond the X’s and O’s of the game; they emphasized life skills, leadership, and the importance of being a well-rounded individual. Their impact on me was transformative, making me not only a better athlete but also a better person.

This powerful influence left an indelible mark on my heart and mind. It inspired me to want to share the valuable life lessons and guidance I had received with others. I realized that coaching isn’t just about teaching the game; it’s about being a mentor, an inspiration, and a guide for young adults as they navigate the challenges of life, both within and beyond the realm of sports.

Cobb (on the far left) with members of the NC State Football team

Are there any NC State faculty, staff, or peers, in particular, that stand out and have helped you along the way? 

My journey at NC State has been a transformative experience, leading to significant personal and professional growth. This university has afforded me the invaluable chance to obtain knowledge and insights from exceptional professors while concurrently immersing myself in the world of football coaching. Among the remarkable mentors I’ve had the privilege of working closely with, two individuals stand out prominently: Joker Phillips and Kurt Roper, who are both coaches with NC State. Their mentorship has played a pivotal role in shaping me both as a coach and as an individual, leaving an indelible mark on my development.

Roper is the dedicated quarterbacks coach at NC State. Each day spent in his company serves as a source of inspiration. Roper’s exemplary coaching approach is marked by his unparalleled dedication and meticulous organization. He places a strong emphasis on the personal and athletic development of our student-athletes, fostering an environment where they can thrive. Observing his coaching philosophy and methods has not only elevated my understanding of the game but has also instilled in me a profound appreciation for the role of a coach in shaping the lives of young athletes.

What are your plans for the future? Where do you see yourself in the next five years?

Regarding my aspirations for the future, I envision a path that is firmly rooted in my focus on football and life coaching. In the immediate future, I plan to continue building upon this foundation by seeking opportunities to gain hands-on coaching experience, whether it be through assistant coaching roles, internships, or volunteer positions. 

Moreover, I recognize the importance of continuous self-improvement and networking within the coaching industry. My journey toward this professional goal has already been marked by a steadfast dedication to the sport of football. Over the course of the next five years, I am resolutely committed to pursuing a career as a Division I college football coach, driven by the unwavering belief that my diligent efforts will ultimately yield success.