Each Friday during the 2017-18 academic year, the conference office will release a SCAC Spotlight feature story. For the first 13 weeks, the focus of these feature stories will be former student-athletes who played at an SCAC institution and went on to become head coaches in the conference.
In this, the fourth SCAC Spotlight feature, we sit down with Jerheme Urban, Trinity University's head football coach. Urban thanks his time in the SCAC and at Trinity University to help him land a job with the National Football League and now his own football program.
If you attended a Trinity football game or track & field meet during 1999-2003, chances are you could spot Jerheme Urban on the sidelines, sporting a classic white sweatband stretched across his head.
As a two-sport college athlete, Urban set records in football and track and field, but being part of the track team at Trinity wasn’t always on Urban’s agenda.
“It wasn’t something that I had set my mind on,” Urban said. “I loved track from my high school days but I was in a country-western dance class in the fall of my freshman year to satisfy a P.E. credit that was required. We had a track athlete by the name of Tom Pillow, in that class, Tom was an all-conference track athlete, and all-conference cross-country champion. We were just talking and I told him I ran in high school and he said ‘well you know, what’d you run?’ and I told him my times. I think he was trying to call me out on it, ‘well if you run that fast then you need to run track for us.’ So he took me down the hallway and introduced me to the track coach and he said to come out.”
Thanks to his classmate for asking him to try out, Urban helped the Tigers become a track and field powerhouse during his four years.
Trinity’s record board is littered with Urban’s name. He holds seven records in football, and 15 records in track and field. He was also named the Track and Field athlete of the year all four of his years at Trinity.
When Urban walked across the stage at graduation, he had a different path than most of his peers -- Urban was going to play for the National Football League.
“I signed as a rookie free agent right after the draft,” Urban said. “That was my senior year, we had [the track and field] conference [championship] at Rose-Hulman. I knew it was going to be a long shot to get drafted but the odds of maybe being a rookie free agent were pretty high from what I was hearing. I worked it out with Coach Brewer, our head track coach, that I was going to pay the difference on my flight and I took a late flight. We all flew from Indianapolis to Atlanta, and I had to stay there while everybody else took their connection back to San Antonio. I stayed there and found a little airport sports bar that had the draft going, and I was there all by myself, all the sudden some teams started calling, then after the draft things started picking up. I was talking to three or four teams, talking to my agent, finally settled with the [Seattle] Seahawks. It was pretty cool. I called my girlfriend, who’s not my wife, and told her I was going to be a Seahawk. I was getting on my plane coming back to San Antonio, when I got off my plane I was coming down the escalator to baggage claim. She and probably 20-30 of our track teammates and our closest friends were all there to greet me and congratulate me and it was a very, very cool experience that that all happened.”
Signed as a rookie free agent by the Seattle Seahawks, Urban was on his way to starting a nine year stunt playing football professionally. His career moved him around from the Dallas Cowboys to the Arizona Cardinals to finishing his career with the Kansas City Chiefs.
Urban contributes some of his success back to Trinity University and the SCAC. The things he learned on the field and the classroom made making a career in the NFL successful.
“Well, definitely time-management and study habits,” Urban said. “We’re students here at Trinity and all the athletes in the SCAC are the same way. The opportunity to go into the league with extremely rigid time-management skills, to know how to prepare, to know how to study, to look at things objectively, and as a whole project, so to speak. It really allowed me to look at route and play concepts as a whole, not just kind of learn my spot, to learn it all. The time-management that was needed to get a degree at Trinity while playing football and running track at a level that was expected here. That was very much a pro mentality, so I think that I had the upper leg compared to some guys that maybe had things spoon-fed to them. We always had to work for things here, we weren’t on scholarship, we never took anything for granted. I think more than anything it was just the mentality that was established by playing at Trinity.”
When Urban’s playing career came to an end, he couldn’t picture his life without football. He always knew he wanted to get into coaching and noticed Trinity was hiring an assistant football coach. After going through the hiring process, he was offered the position working under his former coach.
“It was phenomenal,” Urban said. “He gave me a chance as a college player, he gave me a chance as a young coach so I will forever be indebted to Coach Mohr.”
From experiencing and being a part of many different team dynamics, Urban has learned many things that helped him develop his own coaching style. He credits all his past coaches but points out two hall-of-fame quality coaches Bill Parcells and Mike Holmgren
“More than anything it’s just attention to detail,” Urban said.
Urban developed his own coaching style during his two years as an assistant coach which lead him to become Trinity’s head coach when Coach Mohr retired. Into his fourth season with the Tigers, Urban has amassed a winning record of 17-13 and looking to build upon his success into this 2017 season.