Iron Man: After all these years, former Utah head coach Ron McBride still loves coaching football

Published: Monday, July 15 2013 6:10 p.m. MDT

Utah Blaze coach Ron McBride, July 8 in Salt Lake City

Tom Smart, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — At age 73, after a highly successful, hard-working career and a long life well-lived, a guy should get to do pretty much whatever he wants — within reason, of course — with his time.

After all, you're retired, right?

So spend that time fishing, golfing, traveling or playing with the grandkids. Park your keister on the couch and read every book you never had time for, or watch every old movie and TV show that your heart desires.

If you get bored with all of that, go get a part-time job greeting Wal-Mart shoppers, shoving a grocery cart their way and telling 'em to "Have a nice day."

Or, if you're Ron McBride, you just keep doing what you've always done — coach football.

And retirement? Well, as they like to say back East in New York and New Jersey, "Fuhgeddaboudit!"

No, retirement didn't set too well with the former University of Utah and Weber State head coach. So, after taking little more than three months off, he went back to work in 2012 as the offensive line coach for the Arena Football League's Utah Blaze.

Now finishing up his second season serving in that capacity, coach Mac — one of the most beloved sports figures this state has ever known — still shows no signs of slowing down.

"I thought it would be good to take time off and see how the other half lives," he said of his short-lived retirement, which started in November 2011 when he resigned at Weber State and ended just 93 days later when he took the Blaze job. "It wasn't very long. After about two weeks, I said 'I've gotta find me a job.' So I started kinda looking around and seeing what could I do to keep me in town and still be involved in coaching.

"I was on a radio show with Ron James, the Blaze head coach, and I'd heard that they were looking for a defensive line coach or maybe an offensive line coach. So I said to him, 'I understand you're looking for a coach, and I've got a couple guys that might be interested in that. And if you're interested, I might even be interested.' And he said, 'If you want the job, it's yours. I'll draw up the contract tomorrow and you come down and sign it.' And I said, 'OK, I'll call you tomorrow.'

"So I went home and told my wife (Vickie), 'I think maybe I'll coach with the Blaze.' And she said 'Do what? The who?' And I said, 'You know, the Blaze, the indoor team. It's not gonna take too much time,' which of course was a lie," McBride said with a wry smile. "I knew it would, but I just told her that. So then I went down and signed the contract the next day and started working for them."

McBride said he's just never been one to do much sitting around the house. He's always got to stay busy, got to have somewhere to go and something to do. "I get bored easily," he said. "I don't like hanging around the house too long. I've been that way ever since I was a little kid.

"When I was a kid, I'd get up early in the morning — it didn't matter if it was for school or for something else — and as soon as I'd get up and ate breakfast, I was gone. And I didn't come back until dinner time. I didn't want to hang around the house, didn't want to mow the lawn, just wanted to go and do something. Around 5 o'clock, my mom would holler out the door, 'Ronnie, time for dinner.' And I'd come home.

"I like staying pretty busy; I can't just stay home and sit around," McBride said. "I just figure that as long as I have a reason to get up in the morning and have got a place to go, that way I'll keep myself doing something positive."

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