Lew Caralla: Fire Lighter

Lew Caralla: Fire Lighter


Coach Lew is the Director of Strength and Conditioning for UNC Charlotte Football. Caralla spent the previous four years as the Head Football Strength and Conditioning Coach at Georgia Tech and served as the head strength and conditioning coach for three different NCAA Division I FBS programs before making his way to Atlanta.
Caralla was the Head Strength and Conditioning Coach at Buffalo in 2018 following stints as Director of Strength and Conditioning at Louisiana-Lafayette (2016-17) and North Texas (2015). He was named Football Scoop's 2018 Strength Coach of the Year during his time at Buffalo.

He served as an Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach at Michigan for three years (2012-14), at Mississippi State for one (2011) and at Georgia Tech.

His career began with an internship at South Florida in 2007. He was an intern at Virginia in 2008 and became a graduate assistant at Mississippi State in 2009-10.

Coach Lew is the author of Fire Lighters, 365 – Daily Motivational Messages for Athletes, Coaches, and Leaders.

Originally from Tarpon Springs, Fla., Caralla graduated with a bachelor's degree in wellness and corporate fitness from Defiance (Ohio) in 2008. He was a two-time all-conference running back and earned academic all-conference accolades twice. He received a master's degree in kinesiology from Mississippi State in 2010. Caralla and his wife, Lori, have three children: Marshall, Ali, and Ava.


1. Coach Lew is a great example of the benefit of starting from ground zero and just grinding your way up…The adversity in being let go multiple times, working crazy hours for very little pay, moving the family with little notice and more…All of this led Coach Lew to where he is and gives him instant credibility for all the great lessons he teaches.  There are no shortcuts.

2. Coach Lew had a great answer to the question he gets frequently – why are these workouts so hard? - Coach Lew is coaching LIFE.  And Life is NOT fair all the time.  So, his answer is - are these workouts fair all the time?  No.  But you’re gonna get through it,  you’ll do it with teammates, so that in the end, you will be better and so will our team.  Great way to look at challenges – even when they seem unfair.

3. Consistency is critical and much more intimidating than any flexing for great play.  It’s the people who never change no matter what happens.  Their effort and process are the same.  You can count on them – always.  As Coach Lew said, as a competitor, that’s a dangerous person…

4. The difference between satisfied, hungry, or starving???  To get to really great places, we need to be STARVING.  Do you have life habits that show you are starving?  Are you doing extra?  As Coach Lew says, separation is available – are you taking advantage of it?  In sports…in life?

5. 1 day contract:  Coach Lew asks - If you were going to be hired or fired by your effort TODAY, what would it be?  As coach says, I bet your urgency would go up! So, let’s all commit to a one-day contract with ourselves – every day.

6. Can you admit your own potential?  As Coach Lew says – this is a tough one.  Looking in the mirror and comparing yourself to your potential is daunting.  Can you do it?  More importantly, do you accept the challenge to close the gap between that person in the mirror and his or her potential? 

7. Coke v. water bottle.  This one is great because it really encompasses a lot of all we talked about, if not all.  If you live your life, pursue your goals, and chase that best version of yourself with discipline and in line with solid core values, and do so in a humble manner – winning with class in all that we do – then being that bottle of water as opposed to the bottle of coke will never be a problem for you.  

Please follow Coach Lew:


Book: Fire Lighters 365: Daily Motivational Messages For Coaches, Athletes and Leaders; Amazon

Instagram: @lewcaralla

X: @LewisCaralla



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