Interview with LFL Defensive Coordinator Tui Suiaunoa Interviewed by Ben Tatar of CriticalBench.com - July 2010
Today I got to talk to Tui Suiaunoa, who once played for the Oakland Raiders and for the California Bears of the Minor League Football Alliance, but most of all he is the LFL Coach from the 2010 LFL Champions! Tui's interview was a very good one, so sit back and enjoy!
CRITICAL BENCH: Tui, welcome to Critical Bench. How did you become an LFL coach?
Tui: I became an LFL coach when the head coach David Bizub asked me to come on and help because he lost his defensive coordinator at the beginning of Jan 09' when he was training the girls for the upcoming season.
CRITICAL BENCH: Tui, you coached the first ever LFL national champions the LFL Temptation. Who taught the most about how to coach?
Tui: Rod Martin (3 time pro bowl in the NFL for the Oakland / LA Raiders) who played back in the late 70's and early 80's, he was my Linebacker Coach and taught me everything I know about defense! Then when I played for the California Bears of the Minor League Football Alliance I also learned a lot.
CRITICAL BENCH: When your LFL season started your team was very competitive. Then before playoffs you had to beat the San Diego Seduction by 33 and you won by 53. After that you and your girls were unstoppable. How did you turn the girls from competitive players to unstoppable athletes?
Tui: I told them that if they really wanted to be in the Bowl game that they were gonna have to start putting fear in the hearts of their opponents! They were gonna have to hit like mack trucks and cause other teams to never want to step on the field against us! If you can't bring the pain, you can't play for me!!
I literally went through each bag drill showing them how I wanted the hits to be made that were gonna cause pain to the other teams. I showed them how to endure the pain we may get during games and then showed them how to unleash it on their opponents!
CRITICAL BENCH: Tui, during your amazing LFL season before winning a championship, what was your greatest moment, funniest moment, hardcore/craziest moment and a changing moment!
Great moment - watching the ladies grow into incredible players from when they first came into camp back in Jan 09' to now! They have really become football players!
Funniest moment - one of the girls was pass blocking her teammate and had her hand around the others throat. She yelled out "stop choking me" the other calmly said "you don't like to be choked and smiled?"….guess you had to be there :)
Hardcore or craziest moment - #1. When my defense looked at me before the San Diego game and asked if I trust them to put the smash on SD. Then I said to them "Don't stop there, after u knock them on their ASS, put your foot on their throat and don't ease up! I told them to send their sorry ASSES back home with the rest of those sorry ass crying Charger fans!!"
#2- When I stepped up to the microphone at the awards ceremony for all the playoff teams and told everyone congratulations on their individual awards trophies. Then I turned around and said that they didn't mean SHIT to me and that I was only there to take one trophy home back to LA and put it up right next to the L.A. Lakers World Championship trophy at LA city hall!
A changing moment - #1. When the team and I saw Chicago play after us against Miami, we all smiled and laughed….we knew we were gonna beat their ASS!!
#2. When the staredown fight almost broke out between our 2 teams ( LA & Chicago), before we even got to the tunnel to be announced onto the field! That let me know for sure our team was ready!!
CRITICAL BENCH: All intense and amazing moments on your road to the LFL gold and glory! Tui, how did you celebrate after winning the LFL championship?
Tui: I'm going to celebrate with the team! We are gonna have a team retreat somewhere nice like Hawaii, Palm Springs, Vegas or something! :)
CRITICAL BENCH: This victory will be celebrated by fans forever! Tui, before the LFL season started did you in your most wild dreams foresee yourself as an LFL champion?
In a way I did cause I take pride in coaching. If these girls did everything I asked and played like how I played and understood the game like I do, no one was gonna stop them from winning!
I won a National Championship Ring with El Camino College at 11-0 and started all 22 games at outside linebacker the 2 yrs. I was there. I know what it takes to win a championship and I wanted these girls to know what it takes to win one!
CRITICAL BENCH: What does it take to win one?
Tui: Understand the game, know what I know, play like I play, SHOW NO FEAR & INSTALL FEAR IN OTHERS, relentless attitude, AND SHOW NO MERCY! Those are just some of the ingredients you need as a player to play for me!
CRITICAL BENCH: Tui, was winning the LFL Championship what you thought it would be?
Tui: It was more! To see all your hard work payoff and see the faces of joy and excitement from my players was worth it all!! It was a very proud moment!!
CRITICAL BENCH: What are the best parts of being an LFL coach?
Tui: Seeing girls understand your methods and techniques and going out there and perfecting them. .....ok, hanging around beautiful women all the time and the pre game meals are also perks to this job! :) lol
CRITICAL BENCH: How are you going to remember your 2009-2010 championship LFL year?
Tui: Whenever I look down at my championship ring, I will remember all the doubters who didn't think we deserved to be there and all the haters who talked shit about us.... I will just smile!
I will remember all the hard work my girls put in throughout all the adversity and drama that we been through and remember how they overcame it all to became one as a team! That's what made them winners!
CRITICAL BENCH: Great stuff. What makes Tui happy?
Tui: Seeing my kids succeed in whatever they do in life. :)
CRITICAL BENCH: List us a secret about Tui..
Tui: I sometimes sing at karaoke bars where no one knows me! lol
CRITICAL BENCH: Write to us about your experience playing in the NFL and professional football.
Editor note: Tui was a member of the Oakland Raiders in 1997 but got cut when he popped his knee in camp.
Tui: It's a business. The fun is gone and it's more about keeping your job and hoping not to get cut than having fun like in college and high school. It's only fun if you're a starter and your team is winning! No fun losing or sitting on the bench!
CRITICAL BENCH: How was it different being around RAIDER players compared to LFL girls?
Tui: lol hahaha! uh...the way they look! lol
CRITICAL BENCH: What are your pet peeves?
Tui: Not sure about that one :)
CRITICAL BENCH: Tell us about your training/iron journey.
Tui: I started weight lifting my freshman yr in high school. I haven't stopped yet! I love staying in shape cause it helps me get through life and just makes me feel better about myself. Looking and feeling good is a great confidence builder!
CRITICAL BENCH: Any lifting tips for the world?
Tui: For the young guys out there...go heavy until the bar bends!! But for us older guys.....more reps, cut it up! lol
CRITICAL BENCH: What was some of the best and worst advice you were ever told?
Best - never leave a job undone. Make sure you have everything taken care of before you leave. Make sure your ass is covered!!
Worst - trust lawyers!
CRITICAL BENCH: How was your childhood?
Tui: I moved around a lot cause of my parents job. Settled in California in '84 and played football up until '97.
CRITICAL BENCH: What adversities have you had to overcome?
Tui: Divorce was pretty tough on me but I have learned to adapt and deal with it somewhat.
CRITICAL BENCH: What are your future goals?
Tui: To be a head coach in the LFL and win another Championship!!
CRITICAL BENCH: What can we expect in the future of the LFL?
Tui: HARDER, FASTER, TOUGHER TEAMS, AND MORE BEAUTIFUL WOMEN!!
CRITICAL BENCH: Rock on! Can any super tough lady in the the world be in the LFL? What if a 250lbs strong woman wants to play? What if she is a wimpy model, can she play?
Tui: The LFL is about beauty and toughness! That's why it's unique! If you are not hot and tough, you won't make it in this league. The LFL can sell both qualities in a woman to all the football fans out there. Having just looks isn't gonna cut it!
People want to see the beauty, but they also want to see the beast that is in each and every girl that makes it through the screening process and tryouts.
I can't teach toughness. It has to be discovered within oneself. You either have it or you don't.
CRITICAL BENCH: You seem to be pretty self motivated. Do motivational quotes fire you up?
Tui: I never needed words to get me all riled up for a game! I could do that on my own. My girls know how I am and what is expected of them if they are going to play for me!
CRITICAL BENCH: Can any of the LFL girls do anything like bench press 225 or 315 or dead lift 315 or 405?
Tui: None of our girls can lift anywhere near that weight bro! lol haha......Stephanie Psick is probably the strongest squatter at 240lbs.
CRITICAL BENCH: Who was tougher Dallas in the semi finals or Chicago in the championship game?
Tui: Dallas by far was a better team. They have some hitters on that team! Game could have went either way between us two.
CRITICAL BENCH: Some of the girls like to compare themselves to NFL players and say football is just for men. What are your thoughts when girls make that kind of analogy?
Tui: I think it's great that they compare themselves to NFL players cause they want to become better, meaner, more physical players just like the players in NFL.
CRITICAL BENCH: Do the LFL ladies get paid?
Tui: All the players get paid by ticket sales to each game. Certain percentage goes to the winners and losers.
CRITICAL BENCH: What are your thoughts on the LFL girls who just want to play for money?
Tui: If you're playing in the LFL for the money than you're here for the wrong reasons. This is for beautiful, tough, and physical women who just love the game of football!
I know that some girls want the money but the truth is, there is no big time money in this league until we get individual owners for each team with sponsors and endorsements contracts for the players and coaches.
CRITICAL BENCH: Some girls have complained about the head coach of the LA Temptation. Any thoughts?
Tui: A lot of players have issues with their coaches. I've known the head coach for a long time and he has won 6 of the last 7 lingerie bowl games. He knows the system and so do I. I pretty much put together a defense after 5 min of reading the rules to this league!
CRITICAL BENCH: So, why were they upset that about the head coach?
Tui: A lot of these girls were upset that they weren't starting or getting playing time and that's because they don't understand team sports and that the best players are put on the field at all times to win games. You know this isn't pop warner where everyone gets to play, not when money and championships are at stake.
CRITICAL BENCH: How do you motivated teams. You talk about committing violence on other team's players, installing fear on them and all kinds of hardcore things that tough people love. What else works to motivate the girls?
Tui: Sometimes telling the girls stories about what I used to do when I played seems to work pretty well!! lol
CRITICAL BENCH: Love it! Love the unstoppable attitude! Tui, how is it different coaching LFL women from coaching men at a mental/emotional level?
Tui: Drama is a lot different with women than men. There's a lot more bitching and complaining about anything, a lot of excuses, and they can get very emotional when handling criticism. THERE'S NO CRYING IN FOOTBALL!! lol
CRITICAL BENCH: Do the girls ever cry after they get hit?
Tui: LFL girls are tougher and more confident and don't take shit from no one! Well.....at least the LA Temptations don't!! lol
CRITICAL BENCH: Love it! Do the girls cry to physical pain or just emotional pain? What usually makes them cry?
Tui: No they don't cry after getting hit. I haven't seen them cry to physical pain yet. Emotional issues, uh yeah, stress about their playing, their personal life, missing practice, bills. It varies from day to day.
CRITICAL BENCH: Well, Coach you're a TRUE alpha, a true warrior and a true champion! What a job you have done and I can't wait to see more of what you and your future teams have for us down the road. In closing is there anything else that you would like to say?
Tui: I would like to thank Mitch Mortaza (owner of the LFL) and Head Coach David Bizub for bringing me in and letting me be a part of something spectacular!