The Wharton Moneyball Post Game Podcast
Wharton Moneyball - 1/22/20: Coach Paul Alexander, Josh Hermsmeyer
Coach Paul Alexander is a 36 year veteran NFL and major college football coach. An Academic All American football player, he began coaching at Penn State, then University of Michigan and Central Michigan before taking on his first NFL coaching assignment with the New York Jets in 1991. For the next 23 years he was the offensive line coach of the Cincinnati Bengals where he helped set a number of NFL and club records … it’s a tenure unheard of in modern day coaching cycles. In 2015 Alexander was featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated in its article: “The Mozart behind the Bengals 6-0 record”. In 2017, Pro Football Focus ranked his offensive line #1 statistically in pass protection over the 11 year life of their measure; also in 2017, he was once again recognized by Sports Illustrated as the top offensive line coach in the business and named to their “Dream Team Coaching Staff”. In 2018, Alexander joined the Dallas Cowboys as their offensive line coach.
Part of Alexander’s success lies in the fact that he is always learning — always striving to push beyond the limits of his comfort zone. This is critical for remaining competitive in any high performing career, as the bar is always moving from play to play, and from game to game.
True to his philosophy, at the age of 47, Coach Alexander took up the challenge of learning the piano at the University of Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music. His life has been profoundly enriched by the challenge and beauty of learning the language of music, and has inspired him to perform the master works of Beethoven, Liszt, Chopin, Schumann and Mozart. While studying piano at the conservatory, his teachers were three concert pianists: Albert Muhlbock, Michael Chertock and Michelle Conda. Learning from those artists taught him the striking and universal parallels of high level performance across domains and inspired him to write a book on elite performance in athletics and music. Alexander’s book “PERFORM” is about the journey of an NFL Coach training with a concert pianist where he offers lessons for teachers, coaches, athletes and musicians. It’s an inspiring read for anyone who has to stand up and perform in either their professional or personal lives.
Josh Hermsmeyer is a writer for FiveThirtyEight and the Founder of AirYards.com where he works on all things football analytics. He is also a great follow on Twitter at @FriscoJosh.