How a High School Coach Changed Dwayne Johnson's Life

Season 5 Episode 504
Aired on 11/15/2015 | CC tv-14
As a high school student, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson started getting into trouble. He was arrested for everything from fighting and stealing to forging checks, but Dwayne says he began to change his ways when he was 16 years old.

At the time, Dwayne, a 6'4'' teenager who weighed more than 200 pounds, had just moved to Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, and he says his family life was at an all-time low. "I had a very bad mustache and a chip on my shoulder," he says.

One afternoon, Dwayne says he decided to use the teachers' lounge bathroom at his new school, Freedom High School, because the boys' bathroom smelled. "A teacher comes in. His name is Jody Cwik. Tough guy. He says, 'Hey, you can't be in here.' I kind of pause, look over my shoulder [and say], 'Okay, I'll leave when I'm done.' And I continue to wash my hands," Dwayne recalls. "He looked at me, didn't say a word, but he was fuming."

That night, Dwayne says his behavior began to weigh on him. So the next day, he went to the teacher's classroom to apologize. "He shook my hand. I'll never forget that shake—he wouldn't let it go—[and he] said, 'I want you to do something for me. ... I want you to come out and play football for me,'" Dwayne says. "And I went out, and I played football for Jody Cwik. He was our head football coach, and he became a father figure to me and mentor."

That season, Dwayne fell in love with the game of football, his grades improved and he started getting recruited by colleges all across the country. "My thought process started to change. That's when I started thinking about goals," he says. "My takeaway from that amazing relationship that I had was the empathy that he had for a punk kid who treated him so rudely and disrespectfully."

Watch as Dwayne shares how Coach Cwik's influence continues to affect his life.

More from this episode