Harry Newsome, Steelers Punter, 1985-1989
First, can you let readers know about your coaching career – what you are coaching and what made you decide to become a coach?
I love to be around competitive sports and I love to work with and teach young people so coaching has been a part of my life going on 20 years now from recreational sports, AAU and high school.
After my retirement from the NFL in 1995 I worked with numerous football camps across the country until I started coaching high school football for Cheraw in 2002. Currently I serve as Receivers/Quarterbacks coach and special teams coordinator as well as the head golf coach.
What coaching lessons from the steelers coaches and others do you find yourself referring back to most now as a high school coach and why?
I learned a lot about every aspect of the game by being around it, watching and learning all I could so I picked up everything I know from being around the Steelers and the Vikings players and coaches. I learned a lot from Tom Moore and Tony Dungy as we all went from Pittsburgh to Minnesota at the same time.
You were drafted in the eighth round in ’85 – what did you do as a rookie to help prove yourself to the coaches and players?
I was rated as the #2 punter coming out of college in a year where 7 or 8 were drafted. I had beaten out Craig Colquitt for the job because I had a very strong leg and I guess I proved that I was a pretty good athlete also.
Who helped mentor you as a rookie and helped take you under their wing – both on and off the field?
I became friends quickly with Gary Anderson but we had weekly Bible study classes with many of the players and their wives. Weegie Thompson, Tony Dungy, Tunch Ilkin, Craig Wolfley, Scott Campbell and others.
How close were those Steelers teams you played on, and how much did humor play a part? Who were the guys that played the jokes – any examples?
Every team has certain groups that kind of hang out together and we were no different. I felt fairly close to everyone on the team – you just spend so much time together. I don’t remember any specific jokes but there were a lot of guys that had great sense of humor … Walter Abercrombie, Tunch Ilkin, Scott Campbell, Dwayne Woodruff.
What was your biggest adjustment to the NFL, and how did you overcome it?
The biggest adjustment for me was kicking in extreme cold and wind. It took a while but eventually as was able to get better as my career got longer.
How much emphasis did Coach Noll place on special teams and how did you practice special teams in camp and during the week?
I was a little shocked that we didn’t work on special teams more than we did when I first got there.
Noll was actually the special teams coach and we wouldn’t spend a lot of time on them during the week (team wise) but would kick individually after practice and maybe once on each part of special teams during the week.
Tell us what a game is like as a kicker – what do you do usually on the sidelines in between having to go out and kick, and how hard is it not being more involved between those kicks?
I would just try and stay loose and stretched out during a game and would usually kick a few balls into the net on 3rd down in case we had to punt. When the weather got very cold it was much harder to stay stretched out and loose though.
You left Pittsburgh and played for Minnesota in 1990. What brought on the change and how hard as it to leave?
In 1990, I was placed on Plan B free agency and got a lot of interest from numerous teams who were willing to cough up a lot of money. So I went to Minnesota, which didn’t offer the most by the way.
What are some of your greatest memories playing for the Steelers?
For the Steelers my greatest memory was throwing a TD pass to Preston Gothard against the Bears in 1986 or 87. Then the other was when I was with Minnesota and we played the Steelers n Pittsburgh and I had an 84 yard punt which I think is a Three Rivers Stadium record.