Plank attended the Norwin School District in North Huntingdon, Pennsylvania where he participated in baseball, basketball, and football. His high school baseball batting average of .526 stood as a record for over 30 years. In his senior football season, he was voted MVP of the Foothills Conference in western Pennsylvania. He attended Ohio State University, winning three Big Ten titles and participating in three consecutive Rose Bowls under legendary coach Woody Hayes.
NFL playing career
In 1975, Plank was drafted by the Chicago Bears in the 12th round. He spent his entire eight-year NFL playing career with the Bears. Plank was the first Bears rookie to lead the team in tackles. The only other rookie to accomplish that task since Plank was Brian Urlacher, a new member of the NFL Hall of Fame. Plank was a favorite of Bears defensive coordinator Buddy Ryan for his hard hitting and aggressive style, such that Ryan named his defense the "46 defense" after Plank's jersey number and his central position in the defense. Plank was considered one of the hardest hitting safeties in the game. That effort took a physical toll and he retired before the Bears reached their peak in 1985. Plank and Gary Fencik were dubbed "The Hit Men," a fact referenced by Fencik in 1985's The Super Bowl Shuffle. Plank was recently voted by ESPN Chicago as the fifth toughest Chicago Bear of all time. In addition, he was inducted into the Mike Ditka Gridiron Greats Hall of Fame in 2018.
After football, Plank became a franchisee of the Burger King Corporation, operating multiple restaurants. In 1995 he began working as a football analyst and worked for Fox Sports, the Arizona Cardinals, the Arizona State Sun Devils, the University of Arizona Wildcats, and the Arizona Rattlers. In 1996, the "Bearman" became the unofficial mascot of the Chicago Bears, and he wears Plank's 46 jersey. Since 2001, Plank has worked as a football color analyst on national radio broadcasts for Sports USA Media and Westwood One. Until the current ranking system became effective in 2014, Plank was a voter in the weekly Harris Interactive College Football Poll, ranking the top 25 college football teams in the nation.
In 2001, Plank began his coaching career as a defensive coordinator in the Arena Football League. For three seasons, he worked under former Dallas quarterback Danny White. In those three seasons, the Arizona Rattlers played in three consecutive ArenaBowls. In 2004, Plank was hired by Arthur Blank to be head coach of the Georgia Force, an Arena Football team he owned in addition to the Atlanta Falcons. Plank was named the AFL's Coach of the Year in 2005 and 2007, leading Georgia to the playoffs in every season. In his first year, he led them to ArenaBowl XIX in 2005. In Plank's first four years as an AFL head coach, he won more games in that period than any other coach in the history of the AFL. In 2008, he was a seasonal assistant on the Atlanta Falcons staff. That year, the Falcons played in the Wild Card round of the NFL playoffs. In 2009 he served as the assistant defensive backfield coach for the New York Jets under head coach Rex Ryan, the son of Plank's former defensive coordinator, Buddy Ryan. The 2009 Jets defense led the NFL in fewest total yards allowed, fewest points allowed, and fewest TD passes allowed. That season, the Jets played in the AFC championship game versus the Colts. In 2010, Plank became a football program assistant at Ohio State. The Buckeyes earned a share of the Big 10 title with an 11–1 record and beat Arkansas in the Sugar Bowl. On August 31, 2011, Plank became head coach of the AFL's Philadelphia Soul. In Plank's first year, the Soul compiled a regular season record of 15–3 after going 6–12 the previous year. The Soul played in ArenaBowl XXV versus the Arizona Rattlers. The Soul established new franchise records in wins, scoring, rushing, and defensive takeaways in 2012. On September 5, 2012, Plank became head coach of the 4-14 Orlando Predators of the AFL. After losing the first five games of the 2013 season, Orlando rebounded to make the playoffs before losing in the first round. Plank then retired from coaching to pursue broadcasting and business opportunities.
SITUATION: People in business, organizations and schools are massively underachieving in almost every area of life. Too many of us are struggling to focus on our most important tasks, both professionally and personally. We are struggling with weight and addictions to painkillers, alcohol, and even food. We consume products we don’t necessarily even need or want. We desire comfort and often prioritize it over all else. People are afraid to even try to reach big goals, preferring to be spectators.
TARGET: Build a culture where individuals are increasingly coming closer to reaching their physical, intellectual and artistic potential – and finding the fulfillment that comes from going after big goals and approaching their best (whatever that looks like for them).
PROPOSAL: Deliver an aggressive, action-oriented mindset that allows people to take advantage of the knowledge that is already available – and enables them to execute upon that knowledge with 100% effort.
We KNOW what to do. We simply do not execute upon what we know. That's a problem that occurs from the neck up. The 46 Attack Mindset will immediately have you focusing and executing on the proper targets - and your life can transform.