Originally created 01/26/03

Callahan's calm masks unstoppable drive



SAN DIEGO - Growing up in a working-class Irish community on Chicago's South Side, Bill Callahan learned an early lesson from his policeman father: Keep your mouth shut, and your eyes and ears open.

Everyone has heard this bit of advice, but Callahan took it to heart. He quickly figured out his placid exterior was the perfect disguise for a dynamo.

According to those who know him, the Oakland Raiders' coach is no less driven than his good friend Jon Gruden, the tireless workaholic he replaced last February after seven years as co-workers.

Callahan just doesn't show it - not where the public can see, anyway.

"I don't see myself as anything more than a coach, and I think that's a pretty good thing to be," he said. "That's always been my motivation. I want to win football games. There's honestly not much more to it."

Callahan has a relatively small contract, a reputation as Al Davis' puppet and an anonymity unmatched by any Super Bowl coach in recent history - and none of it, he says, holds any interest for him.

If the Raiders win today, he would be just the second rookie head coach in NFL history to win a championship. But if he has his way, his life and his plan won't change a bit.

"Bill knew exactly how he wanted to be a head coach from the moment he took the job," said his offensive coordinator, Marc Trestman. "He had a plan, and he had written it out, and he hasn't deviated one bit from it. He has been prepared for every challenge he's faced with a well-thought-out plan. He is relentlessly prepared."