Mike McDaniel’s path to becoming a coach in the NFL was very similar to the one that many adults go through.
McDaniel attended Yale, and earned his degree in history at the Ivy League institution. It was during a summer internship in business exploring investment banking that McDaniel decided that he needed to find a different path.
During his first press conference as the 49ers new offensive coordinator, McDaniel was asked if anyone ever questions if that Yale degree could be put to better use.
“I get that question a lot,” McDaniel said. “What was funny in that whole process when you’re deciding to become a coach, and going through it, it registered to me. I’d done a summer internship in business, and for me to ultimately be satisfied in my career I had to be passionate about it, and unfortunately there wasn’t much that I was passionate about besides football so for me to be at my best and be satisfied with my ultimate career I knew for a fact that I had to follow my passion.”
The path to being named to the offensive coordinator role for the 49ers wasn’t easy for McDaniel. It took seven stops beginning as an intern with the Denver Broncos before McDaniel finally landed in San Francisco, and then it took another four years of hard work before receiving his most recent promotion.
“I didn’t go into college thinking that the end game was coaching football,” said McDaniel. “But when I started investigating other avenues it was an easy decision to make and something that I never looked back on.”
This is a terrific life lesson for everyone. Regardless of whether you are a twenty something trying to decide what to do once college life is over or a forty something that is just grinding through each day, find something that you are passionate about. If there is an activity that sets your soul on fire, chase it down and do what you can to turn that into your career. It won’t be easy, but if you are steadfast in your belief in yourself, willing to put in the work, and deal with the bumps along the way, you can reach your target.