Trevor Moawad was a pioneer in the modern era of football. He pioneered the use of statistics and video analysis, which has revolutionized coaching practices today. His impact on college football is still felt to this day, with his influence being seen through many similar programs across America.
Trevor Moawad was a late sports psychologist that made an impact and legacy in college football. He helped the University of Michigan to win two national championships and is considered one of the most influential people in college football history.
TREVOR MOAWAD WAS ALWAYS ON THE outside of things. He wasn’t a coach, he wasn’t on staff, and he didn’t spend every day of every season on campus. But he was there: directing summer training exercises, helping coaches with messaging for critical games, and standing on the sidelines for pivotal games to provide support or a brief word of wisdom. He spent years whispering in the ear of Alabama’s Nick Saban, probably the best college football coach of all time, and he ended up doing the same for several of Saban’s former assistants who went on to run top-25 teams and College Football Playoff hopefuls.
Although not everyone believed in Moawad and his work in the field of mental training, these coaches did. They believed in what he taught about the value of neutral thought and how internal conversation might improve one’s performance. They noticed how his lectures benefited both their players and themselves. At its heart, they thought Moawad provided them with a competitive advantage.
Georgia coach Kirby Smart noted that the skill level among the best teams is so close that victories and losses are typically measured in inches rather than yards or feet.
“What he was truly recognized for was the difference,” Smart said. “If you buy in, he can be the inches.”
And as Smart and others became more invested, and as they spent more time with Moawad, their friendship grew. They found Moawad to be genuine and kind. He was eventually counted as a teammate, a brother, and a buddy.
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Coach Jimbo Fisher of Texas A&M described Moawad as “one of the most sincere persons he’s ever encountered.” Fisher’s 22-year marriage ended in divorce, and Moawad was there for him. Outside of football, Fisher said they “rely on each other a lot.”
“He was constantly trying to think of ways to improve things and improve people,” Fisher added. “He was a selfless individual. He is completely unselfish.”
Fisher and others are still trying to make sense of Moawad’s death three months after he died at the age of 48. Many others were taken aback, ignorant of his personal fight with illness. Less than a week before he died, Maryland coach Mike Locksley exchanged texts with him. Despite his personal difficulties at the time, Moawad reached out to Locksley to link him with LA Clippers head of basketball operations Lawrence Frank, whose daughter was a Maryland student. Moawad then requested that Locksley email him a photo of his family.
For a little while, Locksley was silent as he reflected over the dialogue. He swallowed hard and cleared his throat.
He remarked, “I simply read that paragraph and it grabbed me.” “Trevor is who he is, dude. He placed everyone else ahead of himself.”
Moawad has an extraordinary capacity to make people feel at ease. As a teacher, he had a knack for making the complicated seem easy. He’d use a four- or five-word statement that, according to coaches, would cause them to think differently right away.
“The best is ahead,” Locksley recalls one sentence in particular, which he finds reassuring now.
Trevor Moawad died much too young, yet his influence on coaches and players lives on. As another long season draws to a close, his presence on the sideline and his voice on the other end of the phone are gone, but his teachings are still felt.
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When Bennett faltered against Alabama in the SEC championship game, throwing two interceptions in a 17-point defeat, Georgia’s first of the season, the slow and steady clamor demanding for him to play got louder. Bennett, a former walk-on, seems to have reached the pinnacle of his talent, but Daniels, a former top-100 recruit, has the capacity to do more in the passing game.
If Smart wanted to put an end to the quarterback controversy, he accomplished just the opposite when he told reporters on Dec. 15 that “both of those players are assessed every day.”
Daniels will have his fairytale ending if he can reclaim the starting role and lead Georgia past Michigan to the national championship game. And it’ll all be because to an accidental meeting with Moawad in seventh grade.
Moawad presented a presentation to Daniels and the other quarterbacks in attendance, including future professionals Deshaun Watson and Kyle Allen, during a quarterback camp sponsored by Jordan Palmer. When Moawad spoke about having a competitive attitude, Daniels was amazed by how prepared and energetic he was.
He recalls Moawad telling him about a guy who locked himself in a walk-in refrigerator by mistake. The guy was apparently trapped inside by himself for a weekend and felt he was freezing and would die of hypothermia. According to Moawad, he was discovered dead on Monday, but the fridge had not been switched on.
“Things like that demonstrated how strong it is to believe in negativity,” added Daniels.
It hasn’t been simple for Daniels to avoid falling into that dark abyss of uncertainty. Everything was fine in high school, he claimed, but college has “been rocky as s—-.”
Fans of USC were hailing him a celebrity on social media the next minute. The Trojans then went 1-2 in his first three games, prompting supporters to brand him a jerk.
He stated, “I genuinely received death threats in my DMs and I’m 17.” “You must have a mature, solid attitude.”
Daniels wonders how many Aaron Rodgerses or Tom Bradys have fallen short of their full potential because they were surrounded by the wrong people. He sees teammates who are having trouble adjusting to college, whether it’s dealing with tough coaches for the first time or the shock of playing in front of 90,000 people who will adore you one minute and turn on you the next, and he wants to teach them all he knows.
“I’ve been fortunate enough to be among the proper folks,” he remarked. “I couldn’t tell you where I’d wind up if Trevor wasn’t in my life.”
When Smart told the team about Moawad’s death at a meeting, Daniels was taken aback. He had to take a break outdoors to regain his composure. He contacted his father, crying, to inform him of the situation. Moawad was his closest buddy, according to Daniels, and he never revealed his illness.
But it was his personality.
“He wanted the discussion to be about you and not about himself, no matter who he was talking to,” Daniels recalled.
Yes, Moawad was performing his job by attempting to improve players and coaches.
But he went above and above, such as sending Jimbo Fisher’s kid letters of encouragement and video greetings while he was in high school. Fisher said Moawad didn’t have to do that, but it showed how much he cared on a human level.
Fisher stated, “He had a big heart, a tremendous love for people, and a wonderful passion for life.” “He wanted to make a positive difference in other people’s lives. Whatever they did, whether it was athletics or anything else, he was real, and he was one of a kind in that regard. He was continuously striving to come up with new methods to improve things.”