Why new Lipscomb Academy football coach Kevin Mawae says this is last stop of his career

Three weeks ago, Kevin Mawae wasn't planning on making any life-changing decisions.

Two weeks ago, that changed as he interviewed to become the Lipscomb Academy football coach.

A week ago, he was negotiating the terms of his contract.

Tuesday morning, Mawae was introduced as the Mustangs' new leader, showing an emotional side rarely seen from the former Tennessee Titans offensive lineman and hall of famer.

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"It became very apparent to me that the NFL lifestyle was something I didn't want to be a part of anymore," Mawae told those that gathered for his press conference at Lipscomb University's George Shinn Event Center. "It's all-consuming. I added up the hours. I think on a given week, if I saw my wife for 12 hours in that week, I was doing pretty good. That was pretty tough."

Mawae spent the past two seasons as an offensive line assistant for the Indianapolis Colts, finishing the 2022 season as an interim tight ends coach. But after 16 years in the NFL as a player with the Seahawks, Jets and Titans, and another six as a coach with the Bears and Colts and collegiately at Arizona State, Mawae said this is his last stop.

"You have to have purpose in your life," said Mawae, who was inducted to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2019. "When you sitting on the beach and staring at waves, there's no purpose in that other than fulfulling yourself. I'm standing here today because this is the direction where God has led me. He knows I don't need the money. And he knows he doesn't need my money, but he knows that I have a lot more to offer."

Lipscomb University president Candace McQueen (left) chats with new Lipscomb Academy head football coach Kevin Mawae on Tuesday.
Lipscomb University president Candace McQueen (left) chats with new Lipscomb Academy head football coach Kevin Mawae on Tuesday.

Mawae is the second straight hire of someone with an NFL background for Lipscomb Academy. He takes over a program that was led by former Baltimore Ravens quarterback Trent Dilfer, who won consecutive Division II-AA state championships in his four years at the helm before leaving.

"I will say when we got off the phone, I sat there and thought, 'This is the person we have to hire for this job'," Lipscomb Academy head of school Brad Shultz said. "This person is meant for it. It's because he was very quick to say, 'I want to come here and for the right reasons. I'm not trying to find a stepping stone to a college coaching job or pro coaching job'."

Dilfer announced his decision to become the football coach at UAB on Nov. 30, days before his team's state title game. Mawae has coached youth football in Louisiana and was an assistant high school coach at Montgomery Bell Academy just after his retirement with the Titans. Mawae said his return to Nashville isn't about him.

"Football is a selfish game," he said. "It's a selfish game that takes so much away from a player. It takes time, time away from your family. It takes time away from your body whether you're playing high school, college or NFL. But it takes selfless people to play it. You have to give of yourself and be accountable to others. That's the great thing about team sports. It's never about you."

Reach sports writer George Robinson at and on Twitter @Cville_Sports.

This article originally appeared on Nashville Tennessean: Kevin Mawae explains decision to accept Lipscomb Academy football job