Coaching, like a lot of things in life, is about relationships. For former Colby football player Bill Polin ’00, those relationships have paid off.
Polin was finishing up as a graduate assistant with the football program at the University of Virginia a few years back, working with assistant coach Mike London. London went on to become defensive line coach for the NFL’s Houston Texans and then head football coach for the University of Richmond.
London quickly tapped Polin to be the offensive line coach at Richmond. And in his first year as a coach with the Spiders, Polin was part of a Richmond program that won the Division I-AA national title with a 24-7 win over Montana. Richmond won its last eight games and was 13-3.
“It was certainly something I will never forget,” said Polin, an offensive lineman and American studies major at Colby. “Just to see the resiliency of the team and improvement from week one to week sixteen, just the way it came together and to go on that streak at the end. It is everything that coaches talk about.”
Polin got an early start in the business, as he helped coach his brother’s team in a youth league in Massachusetts when he was in high school. Their father was the guiding force behind the program. Since Colby, Polin has been an assistant at Middlebury, Dartmouth, Virginia, Hofstra, and Stonehill, as well as Richmond. He keeps in regular contact with former Colby head coach Tom Austin and current head coach Ed Mestieri, the former offensive line coach for the Mules.
“I always admired his toughness and the way he coached the players,” London said of Polin, who was the offensive line coach when Virginia beat Minnesota in the Gaylord Hotels Music City Bowl in 2005. “When this position opened he was one of the top guys on the list. He has done a good job with the players and teaching them.”
And Richmond kept on winning last season. The fourth-ranked Spiders finished 10-1 in the regular season and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Division I-AA championships.
Polin doesn’t take any of this success for granted. “Any time you can win a game it is special,” he said.