This week Noah spoke with the assistant special teams coach Matthew Smiley for the Buffalo Bills. Coach Smiley has been in the NFL for 8 seasons and has Been with the Buffalo Bills since 2017.
Ever since Smiley has been with the Bills, the team has ranked 7th in special teams, helped kick returner Andre Roberts earn a trip to the Pro Bowl in 2019, and guided kicker Stephen Hauschaka towards extending his streak of 50 plus yard field goals to 13, which set an NFL record.
Prior to coaching in the NFL, Smiley served in the United States Air Force as a maintenance officer and was deployed four times when he was in service. After his service in the military Smiley knew he wanted to coach and started coaching in college in 2003. Coach Smiley coached in all the divisions of football and moved around from college to college for 10 years.
Coach Smiley got the opportunity to be the assistant special teams coach for the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2013 and hasn’t looked back since.
When Was the Moment you Knew you wanted to be a Coach?
“My dad was a high school basketball coach and a teacher, that was a first example of a coach and from a young age it was always in the back of my head of what I wanted to do”--Matthew Smiley
Coach Smiley looked at other majors in college but none of them peak his interest. Coach Smiley knew he wanted to coach and his dream was to coach in college. The NFL wasn’t even in mind for Smiley and he says it’s a blessing from God that he got the opportunity to make that happen.
Coach Smiley was also an athlete and a walk-on for the football team for the University of Illinois. There was a rule in Smiley’s household that you had to do an extracurricular in college. His dad made up this rule so his kids would stay busy and fill up their time wisely.
Late in his Junior year of high school, Smiley announced at the dinner table that his extracurricular was going to be football. At a young age he knew he wanted to coach football and knew he would get the full experience being a player and learning behind the scenes.
Smiley was a player and slowly transitioned to coaching as an undergrad because he knew he wouldn’t be able to see the field with his time there. This launched his career and put his foot in the door for coaching.
How did you learn about Christ? How Do You Live Out Your Faith?
Coach Smiley was exposed to the gospel at a young age while growing up in a Methodist church. At a young age Smiley accepted Christ for the reason that he wanted to be with God forever and not go to hell.
Even though Smiley accepted Christ early, the growth that has happened for him at different rates and at different points in his adult life have been an exciting part of his journey in his faith.
With growing in his faith, Smiley thinks the most important way to live out our faith is diving into the word and reading what God has given us. Smiley stressed about making reading become a habit because it will make your relationship with God more genuine.
When speaking to Noah he had many book suggestions or readings like Matthew from the Bible, Brene Brown’s speech talking about humility, and “The Coach’s guide to teaching” by Dough Lemov talking about the constant desire to learn and grow in life, coaching, and faith.
2 Timothy 3:16
To hear the conversation between Noah and Coach Smiley talked about his faith journey, how he became a NFL football coach, how much he loves Buffalo, and how he stays consistent in his faith, check out “ The Sweat Room: Sports and Faith” Episode 59