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Exclusive Interview With Former WVU Football Strength Coach Mike Barwis Of American Muscle

Mike Barwis stops by the Musket to tell us about his new show and his love for West Virginia.

Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

By now you have probably heard the hype surrounding American Muscle, the new reality show centered around former WVU strength and conditioning coach Mike Barwis, that is set to debut on the Discovery Channel tonight. If not check out the trailer the below. Luckily, for Smoking Musket readers, Mike Barwis was kind enough to spend some time with us to let us know how the show came about, what to expect from the show, and share a few thoughts about his time in Morgantown.

American Muscle airs on Discovery, but was the brainchild of a couple of brothers from Funny or Die - Mike and Chris Farah. I found that an interesting combination so I asked Barwis how the show came about and how Funny or Die and Discovery came to be involved. "Mike and Chris Farah are from Michigan and came by the gym to train. After going through the workout they of course threw up, but afterwards pitched the show to me based on what they had experienced and seen during their workout." Barwis went on to explain that he had been approached to do television many times before but the Farah brothers had a unique pitch in that they convinced Mike that he would be able to achieve his goal of impacting as many lives as possible by showing a national television audience what he does and what people can accomplish. After getting Barwis to agree they shot a sizzle reel that tested through the roof and Discovery jumped on the chance to be involved with the show.

Former WVU center Dan Mozes is shown throughout the trailer for American Muscle and when asked what other faces WVU fans would recognize in the show Barwis responded, "I'm a West Virginia boy and I never forget my roots so there will be a lot of people WVU fans will recognize. They can expect to see Chris Neild, Pat White, Noel Devine, JT Thomas and others." I asked Barwis what he enjoyed most about his time in Morgantown and he was quick to point out that he trained all the Olympic sport athletes at WVU and what he cherished most was not just that they trained hard together and achieved a lot together, but the bonds he formed with all his athletes, "years later I still have people calling me asking me advice on getting married or on having their first child and that's the stuff that's most important to me."

Barwis went on to say that his best memories from football victories were, unsurprisingly, the Sugar and Fiesta Bowl wins. "West Virginia doesn't have a pro team so the Mountaineers are it and to be able to have the chance for them to compete at the highest levels is among the best football memories I have." As WVU fans are aware, Barwis went to Michigan after his time in Morgantown and stressed how much he loved both places, "Both places are similar in how much they care about their programs...someone once asked me if I had to pick between WVU and Michigan which would I pick and I told them that's like asking me to pick between my mom and dad."

In closing, when asked who was faster, Pat White or Dernard Robinson, Barwis said, "That's a good question. It would depend on how far they were racing. Their both fast but Pat is different in that he is more evasive. He'll sheer your knees off with his elusiveness. Dernard Robinson might have better acceleration. It would be a good race." Throughout the interview Barwis talked about how much his time in West Virginia meant to him and wanted to make sure we gave the folks in West Virginia the following message, "I'm a West Virginia boy. I will never forget my time there. Tell the people from West Virginia I love them!"

Make sure you tune in to the Discovery Channel tonight at 9pm eastern to check out American Muscle. You can follow the show on twitter @american_muscle. You can follow Mike Barwis on Twitter @barwismethods and on Instagram @barwismethods. We look forward to watching American Muscle and encourage all of our readers to check it out.

CLICK HERE for a sneak peek.

CLICK HERE for an extended sneak peek.