Mike Srock is a renowned speed and strength coach for James F. Byrnes High School in Greenville, South Carolina and has helped win 13 state championships in football, volleyball, softball and cross country. He has been awarded numerous Coach of the Year titles for his incredible work, and was inducted into the South Carolina High School Strength Coaches Hall of Fame in 2017. His drive and passion are infectious, and his perspective and wisdom are inspiring.
We recently chatted with Mike over Zoom to talk about his longtime coaching career and the greatest lesson’s he’s learned over the years.
“I got out of the army in 1969. My college roommate had just taken his first head coaching job at a high school in Detroit, Michigan, and he called me up and asked me to come and help him train this football team,” Srock remembers. “I’ve done a few other things coaching and training in the private sector, but I believe this will be my 23rd year here at Byrnes.”
Coach Srock grew up with a deep love of sports. “I had some great high school coaches and that left a big impact on me. And at that point in time I decided I wanted to be like one of those coaches. I mean, I couldn’t believe that you could actually get paid to coach or do something that I would do for free.” He joked that he still hasn’t worked a day in his 45 year career.
He says as long as he’s been coaching, even though technology changes, the kids he works with never do. “They make me laugh and I just roll my eyes and I say, ‘look guys, we did this stuff 60 years ago and we did it a whole lot better than you.” Srock finds so much joy in coaching, “I love that they make me belly laugh every day.”
Of course he has faced challenges on the job; he shared that as a young coach he struggled to find a balance. “The balance part took me awhile because you know, like most young coaches just starting out, I thought that if I missed a workout or something at the school, everything would fall apart. I thought that I was indispensable and this mindset meant that I missed a lot of things with my daughters as they were growing up.” He said over the years his priorities have shifted. “Now that I have grandkids and great grandkids, I don’t miss anything. I’ve always told my coaches and my athletic director that if the state championship was on the same day as my five-year-old grandson’s soccer game, I’m at the soccer game. And that’s the advice I now give young coaches. You cannot neglect your family.” He joked that he hadn’t taken a vacation in 20 years when his wife finally convinced him to take a cruise. “It took me about two days on the boat to relax, because I kept worrying if things with the team were getting done right. I thought ‘they’re really going to miss me,’ but when I got back on campus, the kids didn’t even know I was gone! Everything ran so smoothly. And from that time on, I now take that time for me and my wife. That’s good for us and good for the team to get me out of there for a while. So the best advice I can give to young coaches is to take some time off for their families, because you don’t get those minutes or days back.”
We love this reminder that before we’re coaches, we are humans first, and our relationships are always the most important.
Coach Srock has designed a dynamic speed drill plan for his athletes this summer, and Sport Fuels Life members will have exclusive access to this same workout! Be among the first to know when this workout drops next week and join Sport Fuels Life free today!