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Rick Bojak’s legacy of success is more about peace of mind than a bigger piece of the pie.
By Kim Goss
Published: Fall 2001

Many of us assume that those who spend countless hours studying to achieve higher-level academic degrees will naturally seek out the highest-paying professions. Others, such as Rick Bojak, believe that there are treasures in life more valuable than a big paycheck.
Rick was an exceptional athlete who played middle linebacker and running back in college and was inducted into the Northwest Athletic Association Hall of Fame. After graduating with two master degrees from the University of Utah, one in psychology and the other in physical education, Rick went on to achieve his dual goals of becoming a respected educator and coach. He coached football at three universities, and has earned a reputation for being able to turn losing programs into winning programs. In the case of Jordan High School, he took a team with a 0-22 record to the 4A state finals in just one year. As an educator, Rick was named 1995 Utah State Teacher of the Year, an award that earned him a trip to the Oval Office and congratulations from the president of the United States.
Rick has been a firm believer in the BFS program since his first days as a coach. His enthusiasm led him to become a BFS clinician in 1995, and the first clinic he co-taught with BFS President Dr. Greg Shepard in Washington resulted in several state championships for the school. The positive results of his clinics have been documented in the BFS Journal on numerous occasions. For example, in the Spring 2000 issue you can read inspiration stories about how Rick’s BFS clinics helped turn around football programs for the New Albany Eagles in Ohio and the Concordia Panthers in Kansas. A family man with his wife, Janet, and daughter, Jennifer, Rick is currently a teacher and coach at Riverton High School in Utah.
BFS is proud to have Rick Bojak as one of its spokespersons, and in this interview Rick gives us his personal perspectives on connecting with kids through BFS.

First, the big question: You’ve coached at three universities. Why did you switch to coaching at the high school level?

If you’re a head coach at a university you’ll certainly make a lot of money, but I found that to coach at that level you don’t have a life. It’s a seven-day-a-week job, 365 days a year, and during the football season you’re looking at 16-hour days. I certainly respect those who do it, but they don’t have time to do anything else, and life’s too short to live that way. Plus, when I was coaching at that level I wasn’t teaching, and I like the classroom because that’s where you’re molding the kids, making a difference in their lives. It’s where the great things happen. With college kids, they have their lives already planned - you can help a little bit, but the rewards are not the same as you get with high school.

How did you first learn about BFS?

I go way back to the early 70s when Greg Shepard and I were football coaches, sometimes coaching against each other. Greg was always involved in a lot of powerlifting meets; I knew some of the things Greg was doing with weight training, so I was interested in his program back then.

When did you start using BFS with your athletes?

I’ve been doing BFS with my teams for the past 25 years, but particularly in the last ten, which is the time I really noticed the biggest improvements. When we really got to the nitty-gritty - doing the BFS program as perfectly as possible - that’s when it really made a difference. Many coaches will say you’ve got to have the special X’s and O’s, but none of this makes a bit of difference unless you have the athletes. You need to work on their bodies to get them big, fast and strong. If you’ve got big, fast and strong kids who want to win, you can win anything no matter what offense or defense you’re running.

What do you remember most about your first year as a BFS clinician?

After a clinic was over, I was so pumped and so excited that when it ended that day at 4:00, I just wanted to go to sleep - I was just dead tired. The clinics are very energizing and they take everything out of you. Now, I still get excited, but I’m not quite as tired afterwards.

How many BFS clinics have you given?

You first have to understand that August through November I seldom do any clinics because of football. During the rest of the year I try to get in one every third week. So, over the last six years, we’re talking about 80 clinics.

Why do you still feel so enthusiastic about running BFS clinics?

For one thing, I still feel that I’m a rookie because I’m only six years into it. But then, as a teacher I’m in my twenty-sixth year, and I still get excited every day getting up and going to work!

Would you share with us a favorite clinic experience?

I’m always talking about keeping your eye on your target. I gave a clinic to a team in Flambeau, Wisconsin. They were 3-6, and after the BFS clinic they went on to the championships. The next year when I came in again, one of the boys who had been at that earlier clinic told me, “You know, Coach, I’ve got to tell you about that ‘eye on the target’ thing. When we went for that State championship game we took our helmets off, and the other team didn’t. We just kept staring right at them, but they wouldn’t look back - they’d look down, look up, and back down again. After the coin toss we said, ‘We’re going to kick their butts because they couldn’t even look us in the eye they were so scared.”

What’s the best aspect of the BFS program - what sets it apart?

It’s the emphasis on record keeping, because it makes it so much fun for the kids to see themselves getting better.

How has your coaching staff and your school responded to the BFS program?

Most of my staff has either played for me or coached with me, going as far back as the early ‘80s. They’ve known about BFS for a long time, and they’re into all of it. And our whole school is involved with BFS - it’s part of the curriculum.

How does your school implement the BFS program in the curriculum?

The coaches teach the BFS program and they use the videos. It’s like putting on a clinic, but you only have an hour. A clinic lasts eight hours, so it takes about eight class periods to teach everything and teach it correctly. They don’t lift for about two weeks. The kids are so antsy after that they just can’t wait to get going.

How big is your weight room?

We have two weight rooms-one is 40 x 70, and the other is 30 x 50.

Why do you have two weight rooms?

We needed more weightlifting classes because the kids wanted it. Having a class every day in one room wasn’t enough, so the principal, the vice-principal and I made another weight room. We called BFS and bought four more squat racks and five more benches, and platforms and dumbbells and a hip sled. We bought all of it just for the new room and now we get about 300 kids going through the program every day.

What has been the effect of the BFS program at Riverton High School in regard to athletic performance?

Last year we made the state playoffs in football, which we felt great about because we only started seven seniors. The first year we had only about one month of lifting because the school had just opened up, so we were very weak. Now that we’ve had a full two years, we’re looking great and we’re excited about the upcoming season.

How about the women’s sports?

Our women’s sports are doing great. Our volleyball team won the regions, and they’re on the BFS program.

You have a master’s degree in psychology. Do you find that the skills you learned in that field have helped you become a better coach?

Absolutely. Anybody who deals with the mind and behavior is always going to be talking about goal setting. Doing things for the future, doing things to get ready for the future. That’s why our workout card is so valuable. Every day the kids come

Coach Rick Bojak and President Bill Clinton
Rick’s Family: (L to R) Janet, Matt (son-in-law) Rick, & Jennifer
Coach Bojak with Utah Governor Mike Leavitt
Coach Bojak and his Riverton High Silverwolves actively pursue another victory.
Coach spotting Brady Bowen on the Bench.
At only 170 lbs. Rex Jolley Cleans 225 lbs.
Gavin Collier doing 405 lbs. five times.
6’0-255 lb freshman Spencer Bowles lifts 335.
Matt Bland showing his daily BFS Record Card.
Coach Bojak with QB Matt Edwards in the Squat.

Return to Fall 2001 Articles

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