The empire can expand only so far

Mike Barwis has a TV show that debuts at 9 p.m. Wednesday on the Discovery Channel. If you know of Barwis, yeah, that’s not a stretch. His personality, his brand of performance is sort of made for television.

“I’ve never been a regular guy when it comes to training,” he said. “I bring an intensity that’s abnormal. I’m energetic and passionate about what I do, and that, as well as the people I work with and the people around me, has elicited results other people haven’t seen as fathomable.”

If you’ve known Barwis at one level or another, uh, it doesn’t make a lot of sense. He and the spotlight are like me and the yoga mat. This is an unlikely, but nevertheless effective combination.

“Do you want the truth?” Barwis said. “I don’t watch TV. Honestly. I just don’t have the time, and I’ve always wanted to spend the time I do have helping people. That’s it. I don’t watch TV. I couldn’t tell you a lot about reality TV, to be honest with you. All I want to do is put something out there that maybe encourages people and brings them a new outlook on life.”

Barwis oversees an expanding empire now. Bawris Methods, as it is called, has five gyms in Detroit. Two are coming in Florida and there are plans for one in Michigan, California and Canada. He works with all sorts of amateur and professional athletes, welcomes all walks of regular folks to take the initiative to change their lives, and he’s particularly proud of his work with the disabled and the success of the First Step Foundation.

I mention all of that because every so often, whether it’s when a team fades in the fourth quarter or gets deep into a season with an offensive line that lacks a push, people want to raise the possibility he’d return to WVU.

“I will say this, and I hope you can tell your readers this because I really do mean it — West Virginia will always be a home to me. The people at West Virginia and in the state of West Virginia I absolutely love,” he said. “I really loved the college kids, no question, but I still get to do that and I also get to help the disabled and help pro teams and Olympic athletes. I have no limitations on how many lives I can impact.

“When I go to bed at night, I want to know if I earnestly gave everything I could to every single person possible that day. Then I can wake up in the morning and look in the mirror and say, ‘OK, I am who I’m supposed to be.’ The goal is to really try and affect as many people as I can and help them find what’s inside of them.”

Barwis said he’s turned down “racks and racks” of job offers from colleges and professional teams. I hate to break it to you, but a full-time gig at WVU or any other college isn’t in the cards.

“It’s pretty unlikely I would go back to college only because I would lose the ability to impact a lot of other people,” he said.

5 Responses to “The empire can expand only so far”

  1. glibglub says:

    I think this is the first time I’ve heard Barwis’ voice. It is powerfully familiar. I am racking my brain, but I can’t quite place who he sounds like. So far, I can only come up with the guy who performs the following spoken interlude in the 1988 hit “Walk The Dinosaur” by Was (Not Was).

    Elvis landed
    In a rock rock rocket ship
    Healed a couple of lepers
    And then disappeared
    (But where was his beard?)

    By the way, George Clinton covered this song on the “Super Mario Bros.” movie soundtrack, snippets of which may soon be heard at MPS. Just like CEJ and Stockholm Syndrome. Everthing is connected.

  2. glibglub says:

    “Everthing”? That’s sort of how we say it around here. “Ever-THANG.”

  3. Oklahoma Mountaineer says:

    Barwis is one colorful, expletive filed dude — listen to his Sugar Bowl pregame speech and you see why he’s one of the great motivators in his business and, obviously from his clients, he’s one of the best at what he does as well.

    That WVY coaching staff in 2005 was quite the cast of characters — I really don’t know who was the biggest hard nose in that group…..this guy may be the one.

  4. Karl says:

    People have often pointed to the loss of Coach Trickett as the moment when WVU football lost its edge, its mean streak, but I always wondered if the loss of Barwis meant more. The first time I saw the video referenced by Oklahoma Mountaineer, I felt like a lot about WVU football made sense. And the first time I read an interview with his replacement, Mike Joseph, I got concerned. All he talked about was proper form.

    I’m sure many of us have worked out with Barwis-types and Joseph-types. Barwis types are the ones who stand over you on the bench and urge you to do ONE MORE rep. It’s motivational. You’re being challenged, you accept the challenge, and when you succeed, it feels great.

    Joseph types are the guys standing over you on the bench who say, “No no, place your hands here” or “lower it just a half inch more” or some other nitpick. I hate working out with people like that (or playing golf with people like that). Yes, form is extremely important, both to get the most out of your workout and prevent injuries. But when you’re in the business of asking people to go out and inflict violence on others and have violence done on them, then energy, anger, adrenaline, motivation, whatever you want to call it, better be part of the equation.

    Joseph came to us from the Charlie Weis Notre Dame program which caught my attention for being terribly soft and routinely getting pushed around by inferior athletes. Perhaps it’s no coincidence that we haven’t played much hard-nosed football around here in the last few years.

  5. The 25314 says:

    And we lost our appetite for greatness when Dusty Rutledge left.