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November 30, 2023

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Head football coach Dino Babers always wanted to be a coach, has previous championship experience

Steven W. Echard Photo Editor

Head football coach Dino Babers at his first press conference at BG.

As a five-year-old chubby mama’s boy, Dino Babers used to pray to God every night to soon find out what he would be when he got older.

He got his reply one night from God in one word: “Coach.”

“He didn’t say football coach, baseball coach, basketball coach. He said coach,” said Babers, head coach of Bowling Green Football. “So for as long as I [can remember] I wanted to be a coach.”

For Babers, picking a sport to coach was not hard at all. His father played football his entire life and was even on the military team, which is how the Babers family became a football family.

“Everybody in my family loved football so that is what we watched all the time,” Babers said. “So that kind of led me down that path.”

Babers had no choice but to play football, he said. His dad forced him to play football but would not let him play tackle football until the eighth grade.

He grew up playing flag football in the park with kids who were years older than him. That age difference made the competition in the park better than some of the tackle football competition.

“I’m not sure I even liked football, but I had to play it,” Babers said. “I think him keeping me from tackle football helped me because it kept me from a lot of bad habits.”

Since Babers was the new kid in the league when he started playing tackle football, he was forced to play center. As a center, his team finished with a record of 5-7. The next year he won the starting quarterback position and led his team to an undefeated record and the San Diego championship.

In his first two years in football he won a championship. Those winning ways would follow him throughout his coaching career as he did a similar thing while at Eastern Illinois; when he joined the team it was last in its division and in the two years he was there it won two OVC championships.

Baber’s other notable coaching position was wide receiver and special teams coach at Baylor University. Baylor Head Coach Art Briles was a big influence on Babers’ and his coaching ways.

“He spun everything to a positive, he tries to give great confidence in his players,” Babers said. “I have never seen him tear a person down.”

Briles’ attitude to football and to his players was something Babers took away from Baylor. He also keeps the values his father taught him growing up as he travels further in his career and his life.

To teach Babers discipline, his father made him remake his bed over and over again until a quarter could flip twice on it. One day the quarter only flipped once and Babers’ father pulled the bed sheets right off the bed and said, “why are you wasting my time?”

“That radiated in everything that I did. I just don’t like to waste time,” Babers said. “He taught me if you are going to do something, do it right, because if you don’t do it right you are going to do it over anyway if you have any substance to you.”

Because of this determination it has allowed Babers to make the jump from a 1-AA FCS school to a Division 1 MAC school as a head coach.

When former head coach Dave Clawson took the head coaching job at Wake Forest there were many rumors about who the Falcons would hire. Out of all of the coaches interviewed Dino Babers was selected because he was best qualified.

“He was doing what we already wanted to do,” Athletic Director Chris Kingston said. “He is winning championships and putting athletes in positions to succeed.”

There were multiple candidates interviewed, according to Kingston. Babers stood out the most because of taking EIU from worst to first.

“I was drawn to him as a coach and began to be drawn to him as a person as the process went on,” Kingston said.

The Falcons are known for their standout defense and manageable offense. Their offense in Babers system may be ready to explode as his offense averaged 372.4 yards a game and 48.2 points a game.

“We have a lot of receivers returning and we like to use all of our weapons,” sophomore receiver Chris Gallon said. “I believe we can go to the top with him.”

Babers has made the adjustment to Bowling Green and all of its perks. When people come to BG they usually talk about the snow or wind, but instead Coach Babers mentioned the restaurants he enjoys.

“It is twice the size of the city we came from and twice the size of the school I came from,” Babers said. “Bowling Green has fresh fish, Burger King and Chipotle. I’m in heaven.”

Now that all the pre-job interviews and introductions are done, the recruiting trail starts and the look toward next season begins. The Falcons are defending Mid-American Conference Champions and have a good chunk of their roster coming back.

“I’m excited to have an opportunity to work with these guys, because they’re not going to know how much success they are going to have,” Babers said. “They think they know but they don’t, the fun part of it will be watching their eyes light up when they are having success.”

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