NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The labels apply, but Dana Bible bristles at them anyway.
Bible, who will lead N.C. State in the Music City Bowl on Monday against Vanderbilt, is all of those things but thats not how he defines himself.
Im Nancys husband, Im Adele and Logans dad, Bible said in reference to his wife and two children.
When you get a second chance at life, you tend to be concerned less with what other people think of you, even when its good, and more about whats important in your life.
Bible, N.C. States interim coach since Nov. 25, does not particularly value attention or credit for the quarterbacks he has groomed, two currently in the NFL Atlantas Matt Ryan and Seattles Russell Wilson and one on his way Wolfpack senior Mike Glennon rather people and the relationships from 35 years in the coaching business.
The bowl game in Nashville with the hometown Commodores is not about Bible, he said, or former coach Tom OBrien, who was dismissed after leading the Wolfpack to a 7-5 record in 2012 and a third straight bowl game.
Its about the people who have been through a lot the past five weeks, the players and the coaches still here, Bible said. We need to finish this thing off well.
The result of Mondays game does matter, Bible said. OBrien, whos in Charleston, S.C., called Bible on Sunday to remind him of their bowl record together, 8-2 at Boston College and N.C. State the best winning percentage for a head coach in bowl history.
Never showed signs of weakness
OBrien and Bible, who both played prep football in Cincinnati, worked together for 14 years, eight at Boston College and six at N.C. State.
OBrien hasnt spoken to the media since his exit from N.C. State at the end of November, but he responded to an interview request on Sunday to talk about Bible.
Bible, 59, survived a 40-day hospital stay and months of chemotherapy from his bout with acute promyelocytic leukemia in 2009. Depsite the physical toll of the cancer and the chemo treatments, Bible did some of his best work with Wilson and Glennon.
Wilson, who has led Seattle to the NFL playoffs as a rookie starter, and Glennon, who has posted consecutive 3,000-yard and 30-touchdown seasons, have helped the Wolfpack win 24 games since the start of the 2010 season, one of the best stretches in school history.
But Bibles star pupils are not what OBrien wanted to talk about Sunday.
Hes a tremendous coach and a great guy, OBrien said Sunday. What he doesnt want you to know is he still goes back to the UNC and Rex (cancer centers) and tries to help out, in any way he can, with people going through the same thing he went through.
Understandably, Bible does not talk about how close he came to death. He does admit he got a second chance at life and hes trying to make the most of it.
He has inspired a group of N.C. State players to start a nonprofit organization, Uplifting Athletes, to raise money for leukemia treatment and research.
He has set an example for Glennon, whos projected to be one of the first quarterbacks taken in the next NFL draft, for how to deal with true adversity.
He never showed signs of weakness, Glennon said. There were days when you could tell he wasnt feeling his best, but it didnt prevent him from coaching with the same emotion.
Hes very intense
Dont confuse Bibles perspective on life, or his compassion, for softness. Theres a requisite honesty to molding quarterbacks, particularly ones who excel in the NFL, and theres no shortage of that from Bible in the film room or on the practice field.
Make no mistake, he demanded a lot of Matt, Russell and Michael, OBrien said. He was hard on them but you dont get to the level of where Matt is and Russell is and, hopefully where Michael will be, without a push.
Glennon said Bibles unflinching evaluations are not for everyone. Bible often tells his quarterbacks: You might not like me, but you wont be able to say I didnt get the most out of you.
Hes very intense, Glennon said. Hes not afraid to speak his mind, but I think every player on the team respects that about him.
Bible downplays his role in the development of Ryan, Wilson and Glennon.
Theyre doing great because of their work and their commitment, Bible said. I was just a small part of it along the way.
Bibles being modest, both Glennon and OBrien insist. Theres no way the players would have advanced, especially so early in their NFL careers as Ryan and Wilson, without Bible. But theres another reason Bible deflects attention when talking about specific players.
Its great to watch the success that both Matt and Russell are having, Bible said, but Ill be honest, I take a lot of pride in all the players Ive coached.