Daryl Sims, Steelers Defensive Lineman, 1985-1986
You’re the Athletics Director at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh. How did you find yourself in this role and what about it do you enjoy the most?
I have always had a passion for intercollegiate athletics. An opportunity can available to work at UW Osh Kosh as a development officer for intercollegiate athletics. Then there was a retirement with the previous A.D. and I jumped at the opportunity. Three and a half years later the A.D. retired. I applied along with one-hundred+ other candidates and I was offered the job.
The thing I enjoy the most is working with the student athletes. They all come from different areas of the country, but they all have two things in common: 1) to earn a degree and 2) to be successful in athletic competition.
What are some of the biggest challenges you face as the Athletics Director?
Budget. The ripple effect of what is going on in the country and the state. We are all trying to balance needs versus wants.
How did your time in Pittsburgh help you in this role – what coaching or playing lessons have helped you?
It reminds me of the hard work, dedication and commitment you have to have to work everyday in order to get to where you want to be as an organization.
You were drafted by the Steelers in round one in 1985. What did you know about that Steelers team and was it a surprise to you that they took you?
I always knew about the Steelers’ success. The great players and coaches that they had throughout their history. It was a surprise because I had spoken with the Bears earlier on the day and they had indicated interest.
How did you deal with the pressure of being a #1 pick and what was your biggest adjustment as a rookie?
Acclimation to the speed of the game and the commitment to the craft was the biggest adjustment.
Who on those teams- players and coaches – helped mentor you as a rookie, and how did they do so?
Joe Greene. He shared techniques related to the position. That was very helpful.
You moved on from the Steelers in ’87 to the Browns. What prompted the move and how difficult was that for you – especially to a division rival like Cleveland?
The move was prompted by the organization. It was difficult, but it is part od the business of professional sports.
Who were the toughest guys you faced in camp and what made them so?
Tunch Ilkin. He had great hands. He was very accurate with punching defenders in the chest and negating their rush.
Any last thoughts for readers?
Thanks for the opportunity to be a part of this.