by Sage Mertz
Last week, I asked all of you interwebbers to think of ALL the things you were DYING to know about THE Coach B (my dad!). I had a hard time choosing the best questions because they were all so amazing, but here are 18 questions that I feel truly reflect just who Mike Burgener really is.
Thank you to those who participated…enjoy the show!
1. If weightlifting had never been a part of your life, what other career path/paths would you have pursued instead?
I would say that I would have made the Marine Corps a career…..I loved the USMC and the camaraderie that the Marines have together. It’s like the old saying: “ONCE A MARINE, ALWAYS A MARINE”. There are no EX Marines… only Marines and former Marines.
2. Who is your biggest role model? What is it that sets this person apart?
#33 is my dad!
My strength coach at Notre Dame was a catholic priest, Fr. bhb Lange. Fr. Lange was a lead by example person that everyone loved. My biggest fear wasn’t his gruff style. My biggest fear was not being able to please him. I was also afraid of doing something stupid that would cause his disappointment.
3. Based off of your life experiences, what is the most important piece of “life” advice that you could offer to any given individual?
I learned from the USMC, my time with Fr. Lange, and from Ara Parseghian (my football coach at Notre Dame), that being humble and leading by example are critical to success.
4. What is your favorite type of athlete to train?
One that does not know it all. Someone that is very coachable, will listen and do their homework when given drills and skills to work on.
5. How did you and your wife meet? Was it love at first site?
“Boss Hoss” and I met at a racquetball court while I was in the Marine Corps. I played racquetball with her father who was in the Navy. He actually introduced us!
I thought SHE WAS HOT!!!! I am sure she would NOT say the same about me, but that is a whole other story!!
6. Have you ever had your heart broken?
Sure! Many times! But what exactly does “heart broken” mean?? I’ve been heart broken by the stupid decisions that I’ve made. I didn’t listen to my mom and dad when I should have. I wish I could go back and tell them how much I loved them and appreciated their guidance and leadership…even though at the time, I thought their wisdom was not wisdom at all!
If you mean to ask if I’ve been heart broken by a lady….hmmmm….I refuse to answer that one!!
7. What led you into the Marine Corps?
I always wanted to be a Marine. My freshman year of college, I knew I was going to be Marine when I went to see the recruiters. I think what really drew me in, was the camaraderie and challenge of getting through the tough and rigorous training. And then, when I went to bootcamp, it was amazing to see how wise my parents had become! Out of no where! 😉
8. If you had only ONE wish, what would it be and why?
World peace!! I believe all people are good, and that politicians cause problems. Every country I have had the privilege of visiting while doing courses, the people and culture were outstanding!!! I loved learning about everyone I met and found out that, if given the chance, we are all alike.
9. What are three traits that you feel define what it means to be a “good man”?
First, believing in a higher power or spiritual awareness (for me that is God). Second, being a man that loves his family. Finally, as I have said before, being a man that leads by example and challenges others to be the best they can be.
10. What is the single most important thing you have learned in all your years of coaching?
Believe in your system, but do not be so tied to it that you are afraid of change. Coaches coach different athletes, so there is no ONE way of coaching. We all want the same thing: for our athletes to lift to the best of their ability in a safe, efficient, effective manner. My system has worked for me because I believe in it and I am passionate about it. BUT, I would change something in a nano second if I thought it could make my athlete better.
11. What was the hardest lesson you ever had to learn?
Not to sass my mom. Whenever I did, she would simply say: “wait until your dad gets home!!” OMG!!!! I was stubborn and I had a ton of those lessons…..OUCH!!!!!
12. You’ve traveled all over the world coaching, what has been your favorite place that you’ve traveled to and why?
OMG! How can I answer this? All the places that I have had the privilege of traveling to have been awesome. But, Switzerland is what first pops into my mind. That is my heritage. I have only been there one time, and it was amazing. I loved the people and their love of life.
If I had to pick a second place, I would say New Zealand. I love it there and, again, the people are amazing. I particularly enjoyed the Maori culture and visiting their temple (I think it’s called a temple..sorry if that is incorrect). Also, it goes without saying… the HAKA dance of war really fires me up!!!
13. What is one thing that most people don’t know about you?
I was a golf coach!!! LOL! I win that bet every time!! I ask my classes to choose three sports they think I coached in high school…..NO ONE has ever picked golf!
14. Have you ever had a near death experience? What happened?
I am not sure it was a near death experience but it sure felt like it. About 3 months ago, I had a blood pressure situation come up. My pressure spiked to 195/105. I was strong, and I was fit…soooooo…what the heck???
We had a death in the family, and I was stressed and worrying about family members. We went to the emergency room, and I truly thought I was going to die!!! I took all the tests, and they all came back negative except for my blood pressure. I had very thick, sludge-like blood going through my arteries. Also, my kidney filtration rate was much lower than it was supposed to be. I weighed 205, and I felt great and strong.
Anyway, I found out I had hypertension in my family. My mom, dad, sister, grandparents….all of them. No one back then ever talked about that stuff. I never knew that I was subject to hyper-tension.
Since then, I now weigh 175 and my blood pressure is 120/72 or so… which is average.
This is probably over dramatic, but the whole situation scared me straight into taking care of myself in the proper way.
15. What has been your most life-changing experience?
Marrying my wife!! Aka Boss Hoss!!! (I should get some points for that answer!)
The next most life changing experience was joining the Marine Corps. I learned really fast that I was not as good as I thought I was!!!
16. What is your guilty pleasure?
17. In reference to coaching your kids, if you could go back and do it all over again, what would you do the same and what would you differently?
I wouldn’t change how hard I pushed them, but I might change wanting thier successes and failures to be up to them.
I knew they all had potential, and I pushed their abilities really hard. So hard at times, that sometimes I think I should have let them make the decision of how hard they wanted to work.
18. How do you stay so damn sexy (I would like to point out that this question did NOT come from your daughter)?
LMAO!!! I’m sure it wasn’t you.
In my humble opinion (and thank you for whomever asked), I would never ask my athletes to do something that I would not do. So, I work out hard for a 69 yr old geezer!!! We do geezer workouts 3 times a week, and I walk 4-6 miles on the beach 2-3 times per week. On top of that, Boss Hoss and I follow an intermittent fasting protocol with bullet proof coffee style of fasting.