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issue 10 • summer 2009
12 Art of the read: How linebackers Anticipate run or Pass By Chris Shepard 13 meet A usA Football member: Billy richardson 14 takeaway-Giveaway with larry & David By Larry Canard & David Marco 15 “What if?”: Coaching members share solutions 16 usA Football Coaching schools teach the teachers Nationwide By Chris Shepard 18 Now Playing: usA Football’s Film room By Chris Shepard 18 Dual roles as “Coach” and “Parent” need to take turns By Tom Bass
HeAltH & FitNess
20 What football has taught my son: tom Conner By Nicole Lukosius 21 using Your Head: Proper Helmet Fitting By Rose DiPaula 21 Hydration 411
22 Youth Football Community Values Coaching education By Chris Shepard 23 usA Football regional managers 24 NFHs & usA Football partner for coaching innovation By Rose DiPaula 25 Quick-Hitter Grid: thoughts from usA Football Commissioner members 26 BrAX spirit Cups help commissioners power programs By Rose DiPaula
27 Professionalism is key for game officials By Chris Shepard 27 usA Football = miracle-Gro for Officiating Knowledge By Micah Simon
2 Kickoff with scott Hallenbeck 10 “i Played” 11 Defense DVDs bolster coaches’ Xs & Os By Chris Shepard
4 usA Football Junior National team ready for Canton
By Steve Alic
9 usA Football, riddell team up for refer-a-Friend Helmet Program
usA Football Player Academies offer campers a free riddell helmet By Nicole Lukosius
11 usA Football First and ten Fund moving the Chains By Nicole Lukosius 19 meet a usA Football staffer: Nicole lukosius 19 usA Football’s tom Bass receives Football Contributor Honor By Chris Shepard 28 meet a usA Football Board member: tom Cove 30 Football Facts, stats & Figures 32 What Football taught me Tom Bessant, CFO, Cash America
7 usA Football on Wheels 8 Football history comes to Canton … again
By Steve Alic
29 Jack Kemp (1935-2009)
usA Football’s First Chairman – Football Champion & American Patriot By Steve Alic
usA Football Player Academies (pg. 9) are under way, giving players an edge for the 2009 season.
Photo by Shawn hubbard
PHOtOs BY usA FOOtBAll, JAPAN PHOtO BY PrestON CONsultiNG
dear readers, you have put in the preparation time. you’ve attended uSa football State leadership forums and coaching Schools. you’ve taken part in our officiating Schools and Seminars. Thousands of you have completed uSa football’s certified coaching education course and youngsters across the country have participated in uSa football’s three-day Player academies. it’s nearly time to hit the field and uSa football continues to strengthen your huddle. your state-of-the-art membership resources give you a step ahead in running your league, coaching your team or officiating your games. in the 30 pages to follow, this issue of USA Football Magazine shares insight on numerous topics for commissioners, coaches and officials. more information related to these stories can be found at usafootball.com. This summer also opens a historic chapter of football history – the sport’s first junior world championship takes place in canton, ohio, from June 27 through July 5. The international federation of american football (ifaf) Junior world championship unites the world’s top eight national football teams spanning four continents to compete for the game’s first global title on the high school-aged level. The sport’s best teenaged players will compete and also share in a celebration of the world’s greatest game. Players from all eight national teams – canada, france, germany, Japan, mexico, new zealand, Sweden and the united States – will live and practice on walsh university’s sprawling campus in north canton, ohio. walsh university will serve as the tournament’s international village, home to great football and lasting friendships surpassing national borders long after July 5. uSa football’s Junior national team is america’s first high school-aged national team in the sport. its 45 athletes are incoming college freshmen who will soon wear uniforms for one of 33 college programs. See pages 4-6 to learn more about this abundantly talented team composed of tremendous representatives of the united States. among those who would have most enjoyed the ifaf Junior world championship in canton is uSa football’s late chairman Jack kemp. chairman kemp, a life-long embodiment of football’s inherent values and character-building qualities, passed away on may 2. we offer a tribute to a football champion, an american patriot, and our friend on pg. 29. uSa football continues to serve you, led by our experienced regional managers and office staff. refer to your uSa football regional map on pg. 23 and ask your regional manager how he can help you gain an edge or strengthen your league. in addition, you’re only a toll-free call (1-877-5-football) or a couple of mouse clicks away (usafootball.com) from our non-profit office in virginia. uSa football continues to work for you as you organize your league registration or walk onto your practice field. we salute and serve the men and women who power america’s favorite sport and instill our youngsters with its fundamentals and values. Have a terrific summer and best wishes for another successful season! Sincerely,
Executive Director Scott Hallenbeck
Usa football editorial staff
Managing Editor Steve alic Contributors: tom baSS, larry canard, roSe diPaula, rudy klancnik, nicole lukoSiuS, david marco, cHriS SHePard, micaH Simon To contact USA Football: (703) 918-0007
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Publisher rudy J. klancnik Editorial Director tim Polzer Designer william bridgefortH Traction Media Editorial Offices 7115 Tartan Trl. Garland, TX 75044 Tractionmedia@aol.com Editorial Department Phone (972) 896-8006 Custom Publishing (972) 898-8585
USA Football Magazine is published by Traction Media, LLC©. All rights reserved. Traction Media does not accept unsolicited manuscripts. Publisher assumes no responsibility for return of unsolicited manuscripts or art. No part of this magazine may be reprinted or otherwise duplicated without the written permission of the editor.
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about USA Football Magazine. Write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org today.
2 USA Football Magazine
USA Football’s 2009 Junior National Team
USA Football Junior National Team ready for Canton
by STeve AliC
hey are 45 in number, Championship in Canton from June past 21 large-school state titles, entering one of 33 college 27-July 5. National football teams including two USA TODAY “national programs this fall. from Canada, France, Germany, championships.” He seeks to lead They represent many hometowns Japan, Mexico, New Zealand and Team USA to a world championship and one homeland – in July. the United States of “Much like the “Following each Olympiad, the participants often speak America. country we love and of what a powerful feeling it is to represent the United These young men represent, this football States. Oday (Aboushi) and Corey (Lillard) now have the compose America’s team is composed of team playing America’s immense talent and wonderful opportunity to represent our country and our game. And they’re strong character from Virginia team. We are proud that they have been selected driven to prove that small towns, big cities, to USA Football’s Junior National Team.” they are the best in the and places in between,” – Al Groh, Head Coach, University of Virginia world. Seven countries said Kyle, whose want the same title. team is assembled of Only one will earn a gold medal in Sweden have qualified to join the players entering one of 13 college Canton, Ohio, on July 5. United States to pursue the sport’s conferences, with the Big 10 having USA Football’s Junior National first world championship on the the most players on Team USA with Team, America’s first junior national junior level (age 19 and under). nine. “We realize – coaches and team in football, will compete in the USA Football’s Junior National players alike – that we’re playing for eight-nation, four-continent 2009 Team head coach Chuck Kyle of something greater than ourselves. It International Federation of American Cleveland St. Ignatius High School is a privilege to represent the United Football (IFAF) Junior World has led his Wildcats to 10 of Ohio’s States in this historic tournament,
4 USA Football Magazine
hs: brooklyn (N.y.) Xaverian home: brooklyn, N.y.
hs: east grand Rapids home: grand Rapids, Mich.
hs: grand Prairie (texas) home: grand Prairie, texas
hs: lake hamilton (ark.) home: hot springs, ark.
hs: encino (Calif.) Crespi home: Culver City, Calif.
ht: 6-6 Wt: 300
ht: 6-0 Wt: 222
ht: 6-3 Wt: 242
ht: 6-2 Wt: 210
ht: 6-2 Wt: 180
COllege/COaCh: Virginia; al groh
COllege/COaCh: toledo; tim beckman
COllege/COaCh: texas state; brad Wright
COllege/COaCh: arkansas state; steve Roberts
COllege/COaCh: Oregon state; Mike Riley
hs: West des Moines Valley home: West des Moines, iowa
hs: Coral springs (fla.) Charter home: Coral springs, fla.
hs: hartford-union (Wis.) home: slinger, Wis.
hs: south Charleston (W.Va.) home: dunbar, W.Va.
hs: Marlboro (s.C.) County home: Cheraw, s.C.
ht: 5-11 Wt: 185
ht: 6-3 Wt: 185
ht: 6-4 Wt: 250
ht: 6-3 Wt: 185
ht: 6-3 Wt: 215
COllege/COaCh: Northern iowa; Mark farley
COllege/COaCh: florida atlantic; howard schnellenberger
COllege/COaCh: Wisconsin; bret bielema
COllege/COaCh: Marshall; Mark snyder
COllege/COaCh: Virginia tech; frank beamer
hs: south brunswick (N.C.) home: southport, N.C.
hs: New Castle (del.) William Penn home: New Castle, del.
hs: los angeles Crenshaw home: los angeles, Calif.
hs: las Cruces (N.M.) home: las Cruces, N.M.
hs: dallas Carter home: dallas, texas
ht: 6-3 Wt: 250
ht: 5-9 Wt: 190
ht: 5-11 Wt: 175
ht: 5-8 Wt: 170
ht: 6-1 Wt: 280
COllege/COaCh: N.C. state; tom O’brien
COllege/COaCh: Western Michigan; bill Cubit
COllege/COaCh: san Jose state; dick tomey
COllege/COaCh: New Mexico st.; deWayne Walker
COllege/COaCh: texas a&M; Mike sherman
hs: Cincinnati st. Xavier home: Cincinnati, Ohio
hs: Cleveland st. ignatius home: Cleveland, Ohio
hs: licking Valley (Ohio) home: Newark, Ohio
hs: bealeton (Va.) liberty home: Remington, Va.
hs: anaheim (Calif.) servite home: Villa Park, Calif.
ht: 6-3 Wt: 230
ht: 6-1 Wt: 190
ht: 6-2 Wt: 225
ht: 5-11 Wt: 205
ht: 6-2 Wt: 190
COllege/COaCh: holy Cross; tom gilmore
COllege/COaCh: Miami (Ohio); Michael haywood
COllege/COaCh: Ohio state; Jim tressel
COllege/COaCh: Virginia; al groh
COllege/COaCh: sMu; June Jones
hs: Miami Christopher Columbus home: Miami, fla.
hs: Chicago Mount Carmel home: Chicago, ill.
hs: los angeles (Calif.) Venice home: los angeles, Calif.
hs: toledo (Ohio) st. John’s home: toledo, Ohio
hs: detroit Catholic Central home: Canton, Mich.
ht: 5-11 Wt: 175
ht: 6-2 Wt: 205
ht: 5-9 Wt: 175
ht: 6-6 Wt: 285
ht: 6-5 Wt: 290
COllege/COaCh: eastern illinois; bob spoo
COllege/COaCh: Northern illinois; Jerry Kill
COllege/COaCh: sMu; June Jones
COllege/COaCh: Ohio state; Jim tressel
hs: detroit Renaissance home: detroit, Mich.
hs: east Chicago (ind.) Central home: east Chicago, ind.
hs: Columbia (s.C) home: Columbia, s.C.
hs: Midlothian (texas) home: Midlothian, texas
hs: tampa Jesuit home: tampa, fla.
ht: 6-2 Wt: 225
ht: 6-6 Wt: 300
ht: 5-10 Wt: 173
ht: 6-3 Wt: 220
ht: 6-5 Wt: 245
COllege/COaCh: Michigan state; Mark dantonio
COllege/COaCh: ball state; stan Parrish
COllege/COaCh: south Carolina; steve spurrier
COllege/COaCh: baylor; art briles
COllege/COaCh: Northwestern; Pat fitzgerald
hs: astoria (Ore.) home: astoria, Ore.
hs: bloomington (ind.) south home: bloomington, ind.
hs: temple (texas) home: temple, texas
hs: lansing (Mich.) sexton home: lansing, Mich.
hs: Carlynton (Pa.) home: Carnegie, Pa.
ht: 6-1 Wt: 180
ht: 6-4 Wt: 285
ht: 5-11 Wt: 160
ht: 6-5 Wt: 310
ht: 6-4 Wt: 240
COllege/COaCh: Oregon state; Mike Riley
COllege/COaCh: indiana; bill lynch
COllege/COaCh: baylor; art briles
COllege/COaCh: Michigan state; Mark dantonio
COllege/COaCh: bowling green; dave Clawson
hs: Columbine (Colo.) home: littleton, Colo.
hs: Ocean lakes (Va.) home: Virginia beach, Va.
hs: Cuyahoga falls (Ohio) Walsh Jesuit home: Medina, Ohio
hs: bothell (Wash.) home: bothell, Wash.
hs: lafayette (ga.) home: lafayette, ga.
ht: 6-3 Wt: 280
ht: 6-2 Wt: 220
ht: 6-7 Wt: 277
ht: 5-10 Wt: 165
ht: 6-3 Wt: 290
COllege/COaCh: Northern Colorado; scott downing
COllege/COaCh: syracuse; doug Marrone
COllege/COaCh: Northwestern; Pat fitzgerald
COllege/COaCh: yale; tom Williams
COllege/COaCh: Mississippi; houston Nutt
hs: Miami (fla.) edison senior home: Miami, fla.
hs: Ocean lakes (Va.) home: Virginia beach, Va.
hs: danville (Va.) george Washington home: danville, Va.
hs: hudson (Ohio) home: hudson, Ohio
hs: sheridan (ind.) home: sheridan, ind.
ht: 6-0 Wt: 185
ht: 5-10 Wt: 198
ht: 5-11 Wt: 192
ht: 6-5 Wt: 310
ht: 6-1 Wt: 200
COllege/COaCh: syracuse; doug Marrone
COllege/COaCh: syracuse; doug Marrone
COllege/COaCh: Virginia tech; frank beamer
COllege/COaCh: Kent state; doug Martin
COllege/COaCh: indiana; bill lynch
defensive coordinator cincinnati st. Xavier
offensive coordinator west des moines (iowa) valley
running Backs Bothell (wash.)
wide receivers wayne county (miss.)
USA Football’s 2009 Junior National Team coaching staff
head coach cleveland st. ignatius
offensive line chicago mount carmel
defensive Backs miami christopher columbus
linebackers dallas carter
offensive line defensive line west hills (calif.) chaminade ann arbor (mich.) pioneer
further propelling football’s Northwestern University. Tight end believe that both will be tremendous international strength.” John Plasencia (6-5, 245; Tampa representatives for the United All eight national teams will live Jesuit) and offensive lineman Brian States. Both young men are very and practice at Walsh University in Smith (6-7, 277; Cuyahoga Falls achievement-focused and teamNorth Canton, Ohio, throughout the (Ohio) Walsh Jesuit) both rank in the oriented players who will do all they tournament. can to make our If Virginia Techteam as strong as “We’re very proud and excited that Robert Bell will bound running back possible.” represent the United States at the IFAF Junior World David Wilson of Players Championship. He’s going to have a chance to play with Danville (Va.) George selected for USA Washington High School the best and against the best. And it’s a great opportunity Football’s Junior had not received an National Team for him to play for an outstanding coach like Chuck Kyle.” athletic scholarship, he were nominated – Tim Beckman, Head Coach, University of Toledo would have enlisted in by college coaches either the Air Force or from around the Navy. So it’s easy to understand top 100 nationally at their respective the country. Roster selections were the excitement that the 5-11, positions. ultimately determined by USA 192-pounder felt when contacted in “We take great pride in recruiting Football’s coaching staff, which early March to represent his country young men who are not only collectively possesses 33 state titles with USA Football. outstanding football players, but and 155 high school head coaching “I ran downstairs to tell my dad,” also tremendous individuals in the seasons of experience. said Wilson, whose 24-year-old classroom and the community,” With national football federations in brother, Ronald, serves in the Navy. “I said Northwestern head coach existence worldwide for decades, IFAF, wanted to tell everyone the news.” Pat Fitzgerald. “John and Brian the sport’s international federation, Rivals.com ranks Wilson as the are terrific examples of the kind was created in 1998 to organize and country’s 40th best player graduating of student-athletes we want at further develop the game through global from high school this year, regardless Northwestern. cooperation and competition. All IFAF of position. “We’re extremely proud that Junior World Championship games will “This is overwhelming,” says Jack they’ve been named to the USA be played in Canton’s historic Fawcett Mewhort of Toledo (Ohio) St. John Football Junior National Team and Stadium, home of the NFL’s annual Pro H.S. about being named Football Hall of Fame to Team USA. Mewhort, Game, adjacent to the “It will be an historic moment for American football a 6-6, 285-pound center Pro Football Hall of as great athletes from around the world come to Canton entering Ohio State, Fame. to see who will be crowned Junior World Champion. It’s is the country’s No. Follow IFAF Junior great that a couple of Ohio guys and Buckeyes will be 2-ranked center entering World Championship college this fall. action in real-time able to represent their country in such a competition. I Another Big Ten at jwcfootball.com. know it will be an unforgettable experience for them.” school with strong Team Tournament games – Jim Tressel, Head Coach, Ohio State USA representation is kick off on June 27.
6 USA Football Magazine
Watch exciting tour video at
USA Football on Wheels
Summer is here, bringing cookouts, beach towels and road trips. On April 20, USA Football began a gridiron road trip of its own spanning 1,700 miles with the Team USA Road Tour. The tour, which lives online at usafootballtour.com, concluded on June 26 celebrating USA Football’s Junior National Team and IFAF Junior World Championship in Canton, Ohio. The Team USA Road Tour reached five midwestern states, including several Team USA players’ high schools and hometowns. Tune to exciting tour video and learn about Team USA players and coaches at usafootballtour.com.
Football history comes to Canton … again
ighty-nine years ago, the National Football League was formed in Canton, Ohio, a short distance from the front steps of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. That first NFL season featured teams from four states. This summer in Canton, football’s first junior world championship features teams from four continents. “Bringing a team to Canton is a tremendous step for us,’’ said Peter Springwald, Team Germany’s Director of Youth Operations. The International Federation of American Football (IFAF) Junior World Championship is a tremendous step for football the world over. A global competition for the game’s best teenaged athletes has already served as a springboard for national team programs, including the United States. Led by head coach Chuck Kyle of Cleveland St. Ignatius High School, USA Football has assembled America’s first junior national team in our country’s favorite sport. ‘’I love this game and to be here where football was born … so many legends are here,” said Team Mexico head coach Ernesto Alfaro Del Villar. “This is so exciting for me.” Representatives from national teams of all eight countries – Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Sweden and the United States – attended public events and tournament meetings in Canton from May 7-9. Amidst discussions regarding logistics and tours of the tournament’s superb practice facilities at Walsh University in North Canton, the team reps were able to be football fans when experiencing the Pro Football Hall of Fame. “That’s the guy that taught me what it is I’m doing,’’ said Team Sweden head coach
by steve aliC
Jan Jenmert when standing beside the bronze bust of Hall of Fame coach Bill Walsh. Jenmert, who led Sweden to a second-place finish in the European Junior Championship last summer to qualify for Canton, owns an autographed copy of Walsh’s book, Finding the Winning Edge. “That has been a bible for me,” added Jenmert. “It helped me understand the complex situation of building an American football team. Being here (in Canton) to actually play football in Fawcett in the game’s first junior world championship is so surreal. I have to pinch myself.” Football fans in all corners of the globe can follow IFAF Junior World Championship action at jwcfootball.com.
tune to Fox College sports on July 4-5 to catch IFAF Junior World Championship action live from Fawcett stadium in Canton, ohio!
Sat., July 4 Sun., July 5 Bronze Medal Game Championship Game 7pm ET 1pm ET
Fox College Sports resides at Channel 617 for DirecTV customers. Check with your cable provider for local listings. Live stats, game stories and more can be found at jwcfootball.com.
2009 IFAF JunIor World ChAmpIonshIp GAme sChedule
All Games will be played at Canton’s Fawcett Stadium, adjacent to the Pro Football Hall of Fame
sAturdAy, June 27
10am 1pm 4pm 7pm 8pm Game 1 Canada vs. New Zealand Game 2 Japan vs. Germany Game 3 Mexico vs. Sweden Opening Ceremony Game 4 United States vs. France
WednesdAy, July 1
10am 1pm 4pm 7pm Game 5 Game 6 Game 7 Game 8 Losing team Game 2 (JAP/GER) vs. Losing team Game 1 (CAN/NZ) Losing team Game 3 (MEX/SWE) vs. Losing team Game 4 (USA/FRA) Winning team Game 1 (CAN/NZ) vs. Winning team Game 2 (JAP/GER) Winning team Game 4 (USA/FRA) vs. Winning team Game 3 (MEX/SWE)
sAturdAy, July 4
1pm 4pm 7pm 7th place playoff Losing team Game 6 vs. Losing team Game 5 5th place playoff Winning team Game 5 vs. Winning team Game 6 Bronze Medal Game Losing team Game 8 vs. Losing team Game 7
sundAy, July 5
1pm Gold Medal game Winning team Game 7 vs. Winning team Game 8
* Home teams to be determined; all times local (ET)
8 usA Football magazine
USA Football, Riddell team up for Refer-a-Friend Helmet Program
uSa Football Player academies offer campers a free Riddell helmet
By Nicole lukosius
ith the regular season Alexandria, Va., and saw that if around the corner, now is someone else registered for the the perfect time for players Academy and used his son’s name as a to improve their fundamentals, which reference, Alex would be eligible for the is why USA Football has 12 Player helmet. Academies scheduled through July. So Kolencik decided to get some Besides receiving expert other parents on board and soon instruction from talented coaches, after, Alex’s McLean (Va.) Mustangs individual attention and first-class teammate, Kevin Green, signed up for facilities, players also have the the same Player Academy using his alex Kolencik, left, and his McLean (Va.) Mustangs opportunity to earn a free helmet friend as the referral. teammate Kevin Green will attend the uSa Football Player from Riddell, the official equipment “The Riddell brand is a household academy in alexandria, Va., from July 6-9. provider for USA Football. name and makes you feel comfortable The helmet offer is through USA and safe knowing that your son will Football’s Refer-a-Friend program, and it’s pretty simple. Just ask be wearing top of the line protective gear from the industry leader,” Frank Kolencik. said Frank Kolencik, who has been coaching his son’s McLean Youth The USA Football coaching member signed up his son, Alex, Football team for four years, which is a part of the Fairfax County for the Player Academy on July 6 at Episcopal High School in Youth Football League. Registrants choose from three Riddell helmet styles: Revolution Youth, Revolution Little Pro and Attack. The helmets come in 12 colors and are valued from $89.99 to $155.95. “The Refer-a-Friend program is a great way to encourage these young athletes to get involved in football,” said Riddell President Dan Arment. “The free helmet is an added bonus for the player. We want these kids to have the best protective equipment from an early age and continue to use Riddell products throughout their football careers.” Registration is closing fast – sign-up today for a USA Football Player Academy near you at usafootball.com – roll over the yellow “Players” tab and click “Player Academy.”
Remaining USA Football Player Academies for 2009:
Date June 29-July 2 July 6-9 July 6-9 July 13-16 July 20-23 July 20-23 July 20-23 July 27-30 July 27-30 Location Hempstead, n.Y. La Mesa, calif. alexandria, Va. Southern Pines, n.c. aurora, colo. Severn, Md. Marietta, Ga. Downingtown, Pa. Zephyrhills, Fla. Venue Hofstra university Helix High School episcopal High School Pinecrest South Pines H.S. Regis Jesuit High School annapolis area christian School Lassiter High School united Sports training center Zephyr Palms event center
USA FootbAll’S “I PlAyed” cAmPAIgn hAS reAched more thAn 100 mIllIon AmerIcAnS through television coverage on cbS, eSPn, FoX, nbc and nFl network as well as Westwood one radio’s national airwaves. Since “I Played” kicked off in August 2008, several hundred thousand usafootball.com visitors have read or submitted an “I Played” story. to share your football story or to read those of others, visit usafootball.com. below are excerpts of recent “I Played” story submissions.
Major, U.S. Army Leavenworth, Kan. I’m a major in the United States Army attending the Command and General Staff College in Fort Leavenworth, Kan. I wasn’t a big, fast or outstanding football player while in junior or high school in a small Texas town, however the lessons that football taught me have guided me through my life and while in the Army. Football taught me about teamwork. It’s a sport where everyone is dependent on each other in order to win. We had to synchronize our efforts in order to be successful. None of us could do it without the other. We had each other’s back and would do anything for each other. I realize now how much football prepared me for a career in the Army. It showed me the importance of teamwork, fitness, integrity, loyalty and selfless service. Sometimes we came up short, but we would learn from our mistakes and drive on with our mission. Throughout the years as I led a platoon in Bosnia, a company in Kosovo and Germany and while deployed to Afghanistan, I have counted on, and built upon these lessons football taught me some 20 years ago.
Sales Representaitve Saint Charles, Ill. I grew up playing football from third grade all the way through high school. My dad coached my teams up until high school. I always felt that created a special bond between us. My senior year we went on to win the Class 6A Illinois State Championship. I spent that year on the sideline with a torn ACL. I wanted to so bad to contribute. It was then I recognized that I could contribute. Even though I wasn’t on the field, I could push myself to get stronger after surgery. I found that I could encourage my teammates and be a positive influence on those around me. This stayed with me throughout my life. When I face challenges, I am reminded that you can find some way to stay in the “game.” Whether it is family, work or other issues, football has taught me so much about adapting to change and adversity. Life has turnovers, and these football lessons help me to overcome them. Today I have three sons of my own. I know that more than wins and losses, they will remember the memories that I was with them on the sideline. And like my dad, my hope is they never forget that I am with them no matter what obstacle they may face.
Medical Sales Rochester, N.Y. As a father, husband and business professional, I can’t imagine not having the breadth of experiences I gained from football to help shape many of my daily interactions and activities. My father worked for a major corporation during my childhood and relocations were always a possibility. We moved around as a result of these opportunities but the chance to play football – to be a part of the school team – provided an easier transition into new schools and circle of friends, respectively, to what would have been a more difficult adjustment. Football made a difference. As I continued to excel in the sport, I became more confident in everything I did. Football helped my self-esteem and confidence. That confidence propelled me to Cornell University where I spent four wonderful years, worked hard and played Cornell University Sprint Football for two years. I still enjoy getting back to campus whenever possible for Alumni Weekend (photo above). My playing days are over but now I’m involved in my son’s football journey. I help him identify many of the sport’s attributes – hard work, discipline, competitiveness, emotional and physical fortitude.
10 USA Football magazine
Defense DVDs bolster coaches’ Xs & Os
By Chris shepard
It’s an old football adage that defense wins championships. The response from coaches and commissioners at USA Football Shop (shop.usafootball.com) indicates strong agreement with this philosophy. Defense-focused DVDs at usafootball.com instructs coaches on 5-3 and 4-4 alignments to build the foundation they need for a successful 2009 season. “I wanted to understand some of the layouts of the two different defenses and seeing what would actually work for our kids,” said Sterling Coleman, head coach of the Atlanta-based Ben Hill Tigers. “Coaching 7- and 8-year-olds, we usually ran a 6-2, but now at the 9- and 10-year-old level, we’ll be seeing a lot more passing. “I went on usafootball.com and looked at all of the information provided and I think it can really help me this coming season.” Since opening for business in October of 2008, USA Football Shop has delivered goods to the doorsteps of customers in nearly all 50 states. The online shop is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. In
USA Foot bA ll Shop
addition to the instructional DVDs featuring Larry Canard, the store is stocked with USA Football-branded Under Armour apparel, the USA Football Coaches Handbook, coaching memberships and more. The DVDs, which feature USA Football in-house coaching contributors Larry Canard and David Marco (pg. 14), tackle key points of schemes that may be foreign to some youth players as they progress to a more pass-oriented level. The DVDs ($20) may also be purchased as part of a Head Coach’s or Assistant Coach’s Pack. “When I first watched them I thought they were tedious because I had coached at the college level,” said Bill Jansen, a member of the Board of Directors for Wisconsin’s Foxboro Pop Warner and 10-year coaching veteran. “But after I watched them again, they are very to the point, they teach the progression well, and they leave little to the imagination. They show you the pluses and minuses, the do’s and don’ts – when it’s all said and done you’ve learned that position or that technique.” Click inside shop.usafootball.com today and see what’s in store for you.
USA Football First and Ten Fund moving the chains
By NiCole lukosius
USA Football Coaching Schools have hosted coaches across the country teaching fundamentals, drills and coaching philosophy. However, some coaches wanting to attend are unable to do so on their own. This is where USA Football’s First and Ten Fund comes in. The fund allows less fortunate coaches and players to complimentarily attend USA Football events, with up to 10 participants per event. USA Football regional managers work with league commissioners in low-income areas to choose beneficiaries. William Beverley, founder and president of the Tri-Citi (Va.) Hurricanes, saw the value of this program firsthand in late April when four coaches from his club attended the USA Football Coaching School in Hampton, Va. “I think it’s terrific because it takes some of the burden off the volunteer coaches by supplementing their fees for these professional development-type things,” he said. “So you feel a little appreciation that someone is trying to help you get better at what you’re doing.” Beverley said the feedback from the coaches following the clinic was positive and that they came away with a better understanding of the game. “It also gave them an opportunity to meet with local head coaches that they probably wouldn’t have otherwise met, so it was good all around.”
Art of the Read
How Linebackers Anticipate Run or Pass
By Chris shepard
he foundation of any successful football team is a stingy defense. Nothing frustrates your opposition more than their inability to get their plays off before linebackers are breathing down their necks. Learning how to develop a defense that’s a step ahead of the opponent is one of the most rob cunningham important aspects to building a championship team. “The back side guard is going to tell you what the offense is doing,” exclaimed Cameron Love, the linebackers coach for Dallas Carter High School, one of Texas’ most accomplished prep football programs. Love coaches under USA Football Junior National Team linebackers coach Allen Wilson. “It depends on who you’re playing, game to game, but generally if the guard pulls up, you’re going to want to stand your ground. If he doesn’t take a step away from me, that’s going to tell me to keep on coming.” Love continued that while a lot of what a linebacker should do depends on an individual team’s scheme and approach, the linebackers should always keep one eye on the guard and the other on the running back. Former Baltimore Ravens offensive tackle and 11-time Pro Bowl selection Jonathan Ogden knows a thing or two about what a lineman may do that the defense should look for. “Good linebackers can read what’s happening fast,” said Ogden. “They can diagnose the run and they can tell if it’s a run or pass quickly, they have that ability. Good linebackers know how to disengage
from the offensive linemen. “It’s really about enjoying the game and teaching them that the game itself is about flying around the field,” continued the Ravens franchise’s first draft selection (No. 4 overall, 1996). “No matter how much technique you try to teach young people, they’re not always going to get jonathan ogden it right away. Those mistakes can be covered up by hustle. Ray Lewis hustles – that’s his game. The best ones do it, so don’t get too caught up in technique and teach them to fly around the field.” Rob Cunningham, the head coach of the BasehorLinwood Bobcats of the National Youth Sports Sanctioning Organization in Kansas, is one of many coaching a team just beginning to reach the age where they will contend with passing offenses more consistently. “Our kids are in the third grade now, going into fourth grade next year, so there has been very little passing during our games to this point,” said Cunningham, a resident of Basehor, Kan. (20 miles from Kansas City), who has been coaching the Bobcats for four years. “I am lucky to have an assistant coach that is my defensive coordinator who played linebacker in college and another assistant coach that played college and pro ball at the defensive tackle position. “We simply teach them the
basics at this point. Middle linebacker reads the quarterback; outside linebacker reads linemen first, and then through to the backs. If a lineman drives it’s a run, if they drop-step it’s a pass. That is the quickest read for outside linebackers. If the offense spreads out receivers, we move the outside linebacker to split the second receiver and tackle.” Coach Love stresses things to his players such as, “If you don’t know, don’t go,” and “Trust what you see, your feet will follow.” “If you have one that has the instincts,” Love continued, “you’ll just need to put him in the right direction and he’ll take care of the rest.” For more coaching insight, visit usafootball.com today and click the blue “Coaches” tab.
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12 USA Football Magazine
Meet a USA Football Member
Being part of the USA Football family unites all of us who are connected to America’s favorite sport. USA Football Coaching and Commissioner Member Billy Richardson has coached youth football for more than 30 years and currently leads the Aurora (Colo.) Crush youth football program. Richardson, a full-time truck driver, recently spoke with USA Football Magazine to share the passion he carries for the sport and the value of being a USA Football member.
What inspired you to become a football coach?
awarded a $250,000 grant to refurbish Rangeview High School with dedicated use for the Aurora Youth League.
How did you learn about USA Football?
USA Football was advertised at a camp I attended through a Denver youth football program. I saw it in the paper and thought, ‘I’m going to go see what these guys are about.’ It turned out to be a very positive experience.
What encouraged you to join USA Football?
Their philosophy of kids having fun fits the philosophy that I teach in youth sports. I like the fact that they have NAME: Billy Richardson great member support, they can RESIdES: Aurora, Colo. help you develop plays through USA FOOTBALL MEMBERSHIP: Coach and usafootball.com, develop new and Commissioner creative drills, and assist with other POSITION: Head Coach & Club President, Aurora information involving football. They Crush Youth Sports give you information on dehydration, COACH SINCE: 1976 running a successful snack bar and USA FOOTBALL MEMBER SINCE: 2006 how to motivate athletes, among other topics. USA Football gives you a broad range of ideas on fundraisers, too. These are the things What do you enjoy the most about coaching? that make youth sports work – it is not free. The more creative you I enjoy being able to teach the kids. The fact that I can take what can get with your ideas, the better chance you have to stay viable I know and break it down to where a child can understand it and in our economy. perform well under those instructions is a great feeling. A large majority of coaches are natural coaches, they just don’t know it. My son was 6 years old starting out in football and some of the first words I heard were, ‘You’re sorry,’ ‘You stink.’ I didn’t like that at all. I knew I could teach football without using any of those words, make it positive. My son wasn’t used to that, he was only six. Words are the first clues to parents as to what type of coach you have.
Would you recommend others to join USA Football? If so, why? What are some of your favorite football related memories?
I took a team from Rancho Cucamonga (Calif.) Pop Warner to Mexico to play in the International Bowl and we won. Everything there was in Spanish – we had to have an interpreter. However, all the kids, once we snapped the ball, understood the game universally. All of the parents were very supportive. We even had a caravan to Mexico, traveling together to get to the game on time. It was just a very, very wonderful experience for kids and parents, and for the team overall. I am also proud of my membership and work with the Denver Broncos Metro Task Force and collaboration with the City of Aurora and Aurora Public Schools. We applied for and were
Every year I recommend it to people. All Crush coaches go to the USA Football Coaching School at Invesco Field; they are required to go. I require it because that way we’re all talking the same language. The football language has changed. Unless you’re updated with the new information, you’re an old dinosaur. You don’t have to be a computer genius to get information from the website. [USA Football West Regional Manager] Bucky Brooks does a great job at the schools and camps for us. He is a great young man, and always brings enthusiasm and information to Denver. To learn more about USA Football’s coaching resources for your league, visit www.usafootball.com/register/benefits/coaching today.
“The best part of being a USA Football member is …”
“Having the chance to learn something new each day. It may be a new play, different drills or coaching philosophy. Overall, the players benefit from what you are able to teach them on and off the field.”
– Eric Merrill, Unity Township Cowboys, Latrobe, Pa.
Takeaway-Giveaway wiTh larry & david
Is scripting plays a good idea in youth football?
Scripting plays makes sense – here’s why
By Larry Canard
Preparing your team for a football game requires hours of evaluating your team’s strengths, evaluating the things your opponent does well, how they may defense your offense, and developing a game plan you expect to be successful. It is much more effective to run fewer plays with near perfect execution as opposed to many plays with just average execution. Scripting the first five-to-10 plays of a game enables a coach to evaluate the quality of his game plan. Using assistant coaches to help evaluate how the defense handles the scripted plays is most important. If a coach is expected to be able to run certain plays with effectiveness, scripting those plays will help determine if the defense is approaching the game with the strategies he expected or if the opponent has a new approach. If your offense uses motion or various formations, your script should include a variety of looks to better understand how your opponent will approach these defensively. The script should have adjustments for down and distance and poor field position situations. Scripting plays helps coaches make adjustments throughout the game based on the knowledge learned from those initial scripted plays.
leave the scripts to hollywood
By david MarCo
There are two philosophies of play scripting. The first, is to see how the defense reacts to your offense (e.g. pulling offensive linemen, motion, play-action, who are the linebackers are keying, etc.). The second is to create a scoring opportunity. For example, a coach may script the following four plays: 1) toss sweep right; 2) inside dive; 3) toss sweep left; and finally, 4) toss sweep right slot reverse. The purpose of the first three plays is to set-up the reverse. I’m not a proponent of either approach at the youth level. If you scout your opponent, you get an idea of what they run as their base defense. However, many times you won’t see that defense because they will modify it for your offense. When scouting an opponent, I list plays that I think will be the most effective but I am always ready to change course based on what I see happening in a game. Suppose we start the game by scripting a wedge followed by an off-tackle play. Although I only expect a three- to five-yard gain on the wedge, we may break it for 20 yards. Guess what, I’m not going to call that off-tackle play. I’m going to run another wedge to see if we can duplicate those results. If I were bound to a 10-play script I would lose this type of flexibility.
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Larry Canard and David Marco combine for more than 40 seasons of coaching on the youth levels and illustrate that there’s more than one way to teach America’s favorite sport. Both contribute to the innovative benefits included in USA Football’s Coaching Membership. Go to usafootball.com today and click the “Membership” button in the upper right of your screen to join the USA Football family.
14 USa Football Magazine
City, StAte: Greenfield, ind. yoUtH LeAGUe: Greenfield youth Football League CoACHinG experienCe: 4 years BASe oFFenSe: Split backfield or power-i BASe DeFenSe: 4-4 USA FootBALL MeMBerSHip: Coach
USA Football Coaching Members share youth football solutions By Chris shepard
City, StAte: norwalk, iowa yoUtH LeAGUe: West Des Moines “Little pro” youth Football League CoACHinG experienCe: 15 years BASe oFFenSe: t, power i BASe DeFenSe: 4-4 Stack USA FootBALL MeMBerSHip: Coach, Commissioner
City, StAte: Danvers, Mass. yoUtH LeAGUe: Danvers youth Football (Cape Ann youth Football League) CoACHinG experienCe: 10 years BASe oFFenSe: Wing-t BASe DeFenSe: 4-4 Stack USA FootBALL MeMBerSHip: Coach
ootball coaches – particularly those on the youth level – must be goodhearted teachers and nimble-minded strategists. Three USA football coaching members recently shared how they would resolve sensitive situations. What if you have a young athlete with the talent to be a great player, but for whatever reason isn’t reaching the potential that you know is there? How do you teach such a player?
to this each and every practice session.
Fields: I love a challenge. I think that you have to be careful with kids – they all react differently. Some kids you have to be careful with, while others will take advantage of you if you do that. I’ve had some players that I sat for a quarter so they realize that I’m being serious. It’s so hard to answer that question directly because each kid is different. Hopkins: Schedule a portion of each practice on individualized instruction for your players. This “one-on-one” interaction allows a coaching staff to address each player’s needs with a goal of enhancing overall team development. This process does not have to be a significant time commitment to be effective, but a small block of time should be dedicated
Ladd: This involves two things: technique and aggression. All youth players need guidance in technique. Through instruction and repetition, the player’s technique (and confidence) will improve. The second area is trickier. Some kids are naturally aggressive, while others need time to develop. Those in the latter category should start with “form fit” drills before progressing to half-speed and full-speed contact. It takes time for some players to “trust their shoulder pads” and initiate contact, but once they do, they become more comfortable and exhibit a natural improvement in their aggression.
You’re down by 6 points in the fourth quarter, but you have several kids that have not played the required amount of plays. How do you get them their allotted time and stay in the hunt to win the game?
the most, then everyone can have a starting position and no one gets left out.
Hopkins: Planning and coordination will keep you out of this position. Assign an assistant coach to document a play count for each player. This sounds labor intensive, but with a little practice, one coach can accomplish this task and still be available for other responsibilities. Players should be freely substituted right from the start of the game. It is immensely better to address the playing time challenges early in the game with substitutions as opposed to near the end of the game. Ladd: Our league does not mandate minimum playing time (unfortunately, some coaches take advantage of that for the sake of winning), but our coaching staff believes that kids who practice and work hard during the week should get reasonable playing time regardless of ability. We typically blend some of the less talented players into defensive and special teams units. We do put our best 11 defensive players on the field in 4th-and-short and red zone situations, but all players will have played a reasonable number of downs by the 4th quarter. Our goal is to develop players and prepare them for high school football (and for life) by instilling selfconfidence and a respect for the game.
Fields: I try to spread it out the whole game so I never get in the situation where it’s an issue in the last minutes. I rely on my assistants to tell me who has and hasn’t played. We have found that it’s better to add another team than to add a few extra players per team. If you have 22 players per team at
Baltimore Ravens Quaterbacks Coach Hue Jackson was USA Football’s coaching school keynote speaker before a full-house in Baltimore in April.
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USA Football Coaching Schools Teach the Teachers Nationwide
By Chris shepard
xpanding to nearly 50 coaching schools in 2009, USA Football continues to provide insight and direction to youth coaches to give young players great football experiences. Each school features top local high school and youth coaches serving as clinicians to educate participants on the techniques necessary to teach every position’s fundamentals as well as practice planning and offensive, defensive, and special teams schemes. “The school was great,” said Grant
Brawith, team president and varsity-level coach for the Tokay Jr. Tigers of Lodi, Calif., who attended USA Football’s coaching school near Sacramento this past April. “I enjoyed all aspects of it, but I particularly enjoyed the on-field instruction. It’s good to see how some of the top high school coaches in the area run their programs and what techniques they implement. All of the instructors were knowledgeable and insightful.” USA Football’s full-day schools kickoff with a coaching theory session, going
over topics such as practice planning and positive coaching techniques. Clinicians hold rotating “chalk talk” sessions, discussing topics such as offensive and defensive line play, formations, and various defensive schemes. Attending coaches are provided lunch and take part in an equipment fitting session with Riddell – the official protective equipment provider of USA Football. In addition, each coaching school features an exciting keynote speaker. This year’s stable of USA Football keynotes include:
photos by shawn hubbard
16 USA Football Magazine
• Fred Biletnikoff, Pro Football Hall of Fame wide receiver • Darryl Drake, Chicago Bears wide receivers coach • Hue Jackson, Baltimore Ravens quarterbacks coach • Craig Johnson, Tennessee Titans quarterbacks coach • Chuck Kyle, USA Football Junior National Team head coach & 10-time Ohio high school state champion (Cleveland St. Ignatius H.S.) • Dave Logan, former NFL wide receiver and radio voice of the Denver Broncos • Ray Rychleski, Indianapolis Colts special teams coordinator • Chris Scelfo, Atlanta Falcons tight ends coach • Chris Spielman, four-time NFL All-Star linebacker “One word: preparation,” said Biletnikoff, the Most Valuable Player of Super Bowl XI and the Oakland Raiders’ all-time receiving yards and touchdowns leader, when asked what is the most important advice offered to today’s coaches. “Showing the kids that you’re prepared, and that you have a program set up for them from when you first meet will allow them to feel more comfortable with what they’re doing.” Preparation is just one topic covered at the schools. On-field position fundamentals and practice drills cap off the coaching school experience as participants rotate to a new position every 20 minutes. Attendees also receive a complimentary lunch and a USA Football/Under Armour T-shirt. Don Lipari, president of the Orlando-based Central Florida Youth Football League, is one of many league commissioners requiring coaches to attend a USA Football Coaching School to strengthen their leagues. “A bar exam doesn’t necessarily make you a great attorney,” said Lipari, who attended USA Football’s Coaching School in St. Cloud, Fla., hosted by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on May 2. “But by sending our coaches to USA Football schools, we can ensure our players’ parents that our coaches have the best possible coaching education and all the tools necessary to coach their kids.”
Riddell representatives like Carl Hemple (above) offer equipment fitting direction at every USA Football Coaching School.
Classroom and on-field training give Coaching School attendees the game plan they need for a successful season.
Nearly 20,000 youth football coaches have received training and a fun, exciting day of football at USA Football Coaching Schools since the start of 2008.
Now Playing: USA Football’s Film Room
Coaching members get drill & fundamental video clips at their fingertips
By Chris shepard
usy schedules leave little time for coaches to learn how to best teach and set up drills. USA Football has developed an exciting way to tackle that challenge. “During the course of the season, we study film every day, all day,” said Allen Wilson, head coach at Dallas Carter High School and linebackers coach for USA Football’s Junior National Team (see page XX). USA Football simplifies the process with an online Film Room for USA Football coaching members at usafootball.com. The Film Room consists of hours of training video streamed online, all filmed at the Baltimore Ravens Practice Facility. Simple to navigate, the clips cover offense and defense as well as speed and strength training.
“Instructional film is always good, it’s always better to actually see something happen than just be told how it happens,” said Gary Swenson, head coach at West Des Moines (Iowa) Valley High School and Team USA’s offensive coordinator. Coaching members can see detailed drill demonstrations and plug them into their practices. Built into the Film Room is the ability to rewind and pause the video.
“If I’m watching film of my team, I’m looking at what we did wrong and how we can improve for our next game,” Wilson said of his film room strategies. “The online Film Room gives coaches the benefit of seeing live action demonstrations of the fundamentals of the game and you can’t beat that.” Film Room video incorporates three camera angles to provide clear views of each drill. “Providing this film online to USA Football members is a great idea,” Swenson said. “To be able to just log on and look up drills instead of just having it on paper is just wonderful.” For more about USA Football’s innovative coaching resources included in a value-packed $20 membership, visit usafootball.com/register/benefits/coaching.
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Dual roles as “Coach” and “Parent” need to take turns By Tom Bass
At a recent USA Football Coaching School attended by more than 300 coaches, I moderated a discussion about the pros and cons of a parent coaching on a team where his or her child is a player. Forty percent of the coaches in attendance had been or were presently in this situation on their child’s team. Many coaches also moved up with their children as they progressed and played at the next level. They felt that this experience allowed them to share quality time with their child that they would have otherwise missed if they had not volunteered to coach. Many also believed that being a coach gave them the opportunity to influence and have some control over the safety of their child and to insure that sound drills and techniques were being taught. Many teams and leagues had rules that a parent could not serve as the position coach of a position that their child might play. The coaches that operated under this rule voiced support for it. They felt that it created the best situation for the team as a whole. The focus of their responsibility was serving as the coach for other players on the team and not falling into the trap of over-coaching their child to the detriment of other players. Many coaches said that it is very important to differentiate when they were serving as a coach and when they were serving in the role of a parent. This situation was brought home when one coach shared the following story. He coached on a team where his child played for all four years in youth football. During his child’s first year in high school, when the dad was no longer part of the coaching staff, his son wanted his dad to know that for the past three years, the reason he would spend the night at another player’s house after every game was because he had grown to hate the ride home after the game with his dad. The player knew that regardless of the game’s outcome, this trip would involve going over and over each and every play and the eventual criticism of his performance. He said he was only telling his dad now because his younger brother was going to start playing youth football the next year and hoped that his dad could leave his coaching hat on the field and not bring it home. Parents should be encouraged to take part as coaches. At the same time, they should be aware of challenges that come with coaching their child and never forget that when they put on the coaching hat they have a responsibility to develop the talents of all the players on the team and not just those of their own child. For more insight like that above, click on “Coach Bass Columns” under usafootball.com’s blue “Coaches” tab. All coaching members may pose him questions through usafootball.com’s “Ask the Expert” feature.
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Meet a USA Football staffer
Nicole Lukosius digital media coordinator
What are your duties as USA Football’s Digital Media Coordinator? I work primarily with the content – editorial, audio and video – on usafootball.com. I spend time speaking with members and writing stories that highlight their youth football experiences and how USA Football resources and events have helped them contribute to the sport.
become very important because it takes everyone doing their part to be successful.
What are your goals for the next year at USA Football? Helping continue to make usafootball.com the destination for youth coaches, commissioners, officials and players to learn and gain an edge to reach their potential within America’s favorite sport. Based on your experience, what stands out to you when you think of USA Football members or the youth football community in general? The members that I have had the pleasure to work with have an uncommon passion for the sport, which can inspire youngsters on and off the field. The youth football community is motivated and it’s great to see so many coaches, commissioners and officials looking to sharpen their skills in order to improve the experience for their players.
What is your favorite part of your job? I have been a big sports fan my entire life, and I have always enjoyed writing, so I love that I have the opportunity to combine the two. I also enjoy being able to work with our members and others in the football community. I like reporting on people’s seasons and learning how USA Football is making a positive impact. What attracted you to becoming a part of USA Football’s staff? USA Football’s mission is a great one
– to improve the game of football from the grassroots level – and being a member of the staff gives me a chance to be a part of that.
What does football mean to you? Football reminds me of fond memories with family and friends going to games and cheering from the stands. And football teaches great American values. With so many people on the field at one time, teamwork and responsibility
USa Football’s tom Bass receives Football contributor Honor
stablished in 1971, the San Diego chapter of the National Football Federation (NFF) honors contributors to amateur football, be it as a player, coach or game official. On March 27, the NFF San Diego chapter awarded USA Football’s Tom Bass with the Contribution to Amateur Football Award for his commitment to teaching the game through authoring several youth football coaching books and for his involvement in dozens of coaching clinics since his retirement from coaching. Bass has served USA Football and its members as an advisor and writer since 2003. He has been a key contributor to USA Football’s Certified Coaching Education Program (CCEP) and Coaches Handbook as well as several online coaching member benefits, including the Drills Library and Film Room.
By chris Shepard Author of usafootball.com’s “Let’s Talk Football” question-andanswer column, Bass has served as defensive coordinator for San Diego State and San Jose State and contributed to NFL coaching staffs for the Cincinnati Bengals, San Diego Chargers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers in his 30-year career. “Coach Bass puts his 30 years of NFL coaching experience toward educating youth players, coaches, and parents today,” said Brian Fogerty, the President of the San Diego NFF chapter. “It’s even more special for us because he adds a national profile to the local flavor of our awards ceremony.” Gain Coach Bass’ insight and visit “Coach Bass Columns” under the blue “Coaches” tab on usafootball. com. Coaching members may also pose him questions through usafootball.com’s “Ask the Expert” feature.
Health & fitness
What football has taught my son: Tom Conner
By Nicole lukosius
ummer is in full swing, but there’s no doubt that Ross Conner is already excited about next fall. The New Mexico State University linebacker will enter his final year, and both he and his father, Tom, have high hopes for a successful campaign. As a football coach at Mayfield High School in Las Cruces, N.M., Tom has been around the game for years and had the pleasure of coaching and preparing his son to play at the next level. In 2008, Ross earned his first career start as an Aggie. Along with 18 tackles on the field, he also performed off the field in the classroom. He graduated on May 9 with a B.A. in Business Management and earned the 2009 Senior Scholar Athlete Award and was named an Academic All-Western Athletic Ross Conner Conference selection for the third consecutive year. Living only 10 miles from New Mexico State’s campus, Tom and the rest of the Conner family enjoy being able to support Ross as he grows as a football player – and as a person. USA Football Magazine spoke with Tom Conner to learn more about what football has taught his son.
When did Ross start playing football?
four quarters and the end result tells you who has won.
What makes Ross a good linebacker?
Leadership, leadership, leadership. It’s so big to be a “Mike,” because you’re taking care of 10 other players. You’re calling the plays and you’re making sure everybody does their assignments correctly. When you make great plays, great things happen. You try to minimize bad plays and go back to the huddle and not let it get to your head.
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Tom & Ross Conner
What was positive about being redshirted his freshman year?
How has football helped Ross off the field?
You have to manage your time in sports as well as your academics and you learn these skills through football. Everything is under a structured time – you get a certain amount of time between plays, to make the call, to execute it – and this rolls over to his academics as well.
What is your fondest memory of your son’s football career?
He started playing in fifth grade, and what kept him interested is he’s got the mentality of a football player. I’ve been coaching football my whole life, but he took it and ran with it and he just kept excelling at it.
What has football taught your son?
It taught him courage, loyalty, teamwork, attitude and discipline. That’s what football is all about. Competition is also big, and people handle competition totally different. Ross handles it with excitement. It’s a challenge, and you have this challenge for
It was last year, and it was in the Boise State game. Ross was on the punt team, and when they punted the ball, it went to the opposite side of the field. He goes down and the guy takes off on the backside, so Ross keeps his lane and this guy comes down and cuts across the field. He’s getting ready to score a TD, and here comes Ross Conner and he tackles him on the 5-yard line. He basically ran between 120-150 yards to make the play. That’s what he’s all about. He doesn’t give up in football or with school. He sets very high expectations for himself and never compromises. Visit usafootball.com for more insight on football values and fundamentals.
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top to bottom: Courtesy of Conner family, Courtesy of new mexiCo state university
It was great actually because he got acclimated to school – it’s a big shock when you go to college. Very few players go into a Division I college and become a starter their first year, so it’s a great thing to be redshirted. The extra year allows the player to get bigger, stronger, acclimate to school and understand the Aggie system better.
Using Your Head: Proper Helmet Fitting
By RoSe DiPaula
properly-fitted helmet is a must for every player, but how can you tell if a youngster’s helmet is the right fit? Riddell, USA Football’s official helmet and protective equipment partner, offers recommendations on good helmet-fitting practices. Listen to the players being fitted. Ask them how their helmet feels – is it tight, is it comfortable? When taking a player’s head measurement, measure around the middle of the forehead. To put the helmet on, show the players to put their thumbs over the bottom of the face pads, with their fingers in the inside of the helmet. Face pads should first touch the temples when pulling the helmet down over the head. Once the helmet is on, make sure that it touches the middle of the forehead. Never let players participate with helmets that sit too
high or too low on the head. Use both hands to push down on the top of the helmet, and double check that the helmet does not move. “Most components of football helmets and shoulder pads serve a critical protective purpose,” said Riddell Vice President of Research and Development Thad Ide. “A proper fit ensures that all protective elements of your equipment are positioned where the
product designers and engineers intended them to be to best protect the athlete.” The chin strap should be centered under the chin so that the player’s chin feels secure. Check the athlete’s vision, both straightforward and peripheral. The helmet should not inhibit vision and the player should be able to see clearly, despite the face mask. This is difficult to determine, especially with younger players. Track visibility with your finger to make sure they can see well. To take the helmet off properly, show the athletes to first unbuckle the chin strap and place an index finger into each ear hole on either side. Show them how to press the face pads with their thumbs and lift off straight over the head. USA Football Coaching Schools feature Riddell helmet and protective equipment experts. For more about Riddell’s state-ofthe-art athletic equipment, visit Riddell.com.
By MicaH SiMon
ater makes up 60 to 65 percent of a person’s body weight. When engaged in physical activity, football players should be mindful of the importance of staying hydrated. Proper hydration means more energy and a decrease in health risks when playing. Fluids should be taken throughout the day no matter the level of physical activity. Sports drinks and drinks from coolers are best. Also, drinking the right fluids at home such as low fat milk keeps the body properly hydrated. At least 16 ounces of fluid should be taken two to three hours before physical activity. About 10 to 20 minutes before a practice or game, eight ounces of fluids should be taken. During practice and game breaks, athletes should continue to drink fluids to help maintain their energy level. The amount of fluids athletes should drink depends on how much they sweat. Sports drinks such as Gatorade help the body refill sodium and potassium levels that are lost when sweating. Check nutrition information as not all sports drinks contain the same levels of sodium and potassium. For more information on player health, go to usafootball.com and click on “Health & Safety,” found by rolling your mouse over the “Commissioners,” “Coaches,” “Officials,” or “Player” tabs.
Youth Football Community Values Coaching Education
CoaChing offiCiating Commissioner health & fitness
By Chris shepard
USA Football Membership & Resources Deliver for America’s Favorite Sport
purchased CCEPs and memberships. coaching the game. Level Two teaches ne play can change a football “Coaches at every point in their careers position fundamentals. Each of the game. Since May of 2008, enjoy the chance to work with professional course’s 11 chapters concludes with a quiz nearly 100 youth football coaches and players and apply these new to help coaches retain information. leagues across the country have made skills to their own teams.” Being USA Football coaching members either USA Football’s Certified Coaching provides coaches access to usafootball. Education Program (CCEP) or coaching See how thousands of youth football com’s 3-D online drills library, coaching membership a requirement for all of coaches are gaining an edge – surf to www. insurance, an online practice planner, their coaches. usafootball.com/cepcoaches to learn more. USA Football’s “Click ’n Create” online At just $10 per coach, USA Football’s playbook, and more. CCEP has quickly become the sport’s No. “The USA Football Coaching Education 1 online youth coach training program. Program provides information from Stocked with exciting video and narration, professionals and coaches who want coaches gain insight on how to teach the to share their experiences,” said Renee fundamentals and instill the values of Oglesby, president of the Northwest America’s favorite sport to their players. Midget Pop Warner Football League in Less than one percent of youth Winston-Salem, N.C. The league recently football players make it to the pros, so the most important thing for youngsters to obtain is a fun experience and football’s unique team-first values that will help them no matter what they choose to do in the future. “We want to provide the best possible experience for the kids,” said James White, chairman of the board of the Washington, D.C., area Capital Beltway League, which purchased CCEPs and memberships for each of its coaches in April. “The better educated our coaches are, the better they can educate the kids. The better educated the kids are, the safer and more effective they will be on the field.” The CCEP consists of two levels. USA Football’s Certified Coaching Education Course (CCEP) consists of two levels. Level One is Level One is an introduction to an introduction to coaching the game. Level Two teaches position fundamentals.
22 USA Football Magazine
USA Football Regional Managers
USA Football Regional Managers are current and former coaches, players and administrators working for you. Each has the experience needed to help you make your league or team even stronger with USA Football’s resources. Contact your USA Football Regional Manager to learn how you can kick off your free commissioner membership or to ask about coaching certification, the nearest USA Football Coaching School, Player Academy or Officiating School. Stay in touch with your regional manager, whether it’s to share news about your league or team or to ask about member resources. In addition, you may always contact our office, based outside of Washington, D.C., through usafootball.com or by phone at 1-877-5-FOOTBALL. Let us know how we can serve you better. Together we’ll ensure that teamwork and leadership continue to serve as the laces binding our favorite game.
merica’s favorite sport is powered by you – dedicated youth league commissioners, coaches, game officials and volunteers. For each of you, there is a face and name to place in your football Rolodex: your USA Football Regional Manager.
(571) 730-4816 email@example.com
Great Lakes Region
(571) 730-4822 firstname.lastname@example.org
(571) 730-4815 email@example.com
(703) 992-8246 firstname.lastname@example.org
(818) 921-7616 email@example.com South & Mid-Atlantic
rick peacock Deno campBell
(703) 992-8653 firstname.lastname@example.org (703) 992-8107 email@example.com
Great American pastime fortified
NFHS & USA Football partner for coaching innovation
By Rose DiPaula
igh school football stands among America’s greatest pastimes, uniting us in our passion for the sport and the pride we have in our communities. USA Football is helping bolster this great American rite of autumn. The National Federation of High School Associations (NFHS) and USA Football recently partnered to develop an innovative 3-D online football coaching course titled, “Fundamentals of Coaching Football,” designed for coaches at all 15,181 high school football programs. Assembled with state-ofthe-art computer animation, narration from Fox-TV and NFL Network football analyst Charles Davis, the program is designed to assist high school coaches, sharpening their ability to teach the game’s fundamentals. The interactive course includes graphics, video, and Advancing high school football, the NFHS & USA Football extensive instruction for all have built the country’s first online coaching course designed positions played, with builtfor prep coaches. High school football is the most-played in comprehension quizzes sport by high school boys by more than a two-to-one margin. with instant auto-grading. The NFHS views the course as a historic advancement to certify high school coaches on a national level. “Our partnership with USA Football helps to ensure that interscholastic coaches will be properly trained in coaching football fundamentals,” said Robert F. Kanaby, NFHS executive director. “It also sends an important message to the football community that USA Football and the NFHS are united in providing training to coaches in education-based athletics.” The NFHS is committed to improving the participation experience, establishing
consistent standards and rules for competition, and helping those who oversee high school sports and activities. The NFHS writes playing rules for 17 sports for boys and girls at the high school level. Through its 50 member state associations and the District of Columbia, the NFHS reaches nearly 19,000 high schools and almost 7.5 million high school athletes. Football participation in the sport has grown exponentially over the years, with more than 1.13 million young men taking part in high school football, according to a 2007-08 NFHSA Participation survey. High school football is the most popular sport among boys by a two-to-one margin. “USA Football is proud to partner with the NFHS ® to co-produce this groundbreaking course for the betterment of the high school coaching community,” said Scott Hallenbeck, USA Football executive director. “The commitment made by the NFHS to afford coaches resources to strengthen their skills will further grow football’s popularity and make the game’s future even brighter.” The course is now available 24 hours a day at www.nfhslearn.com. Coaches are able to save their progress in order to log in and out. The $50 program consists of five units and takes approximately two and a half hours to complete. Innovative elements in the NFHS’ “Fundamentals of Coaching Football” course are found in USA Football’s Certified Coaching Education Program (CCEP). To learn more about USA Football’s CCEP, go to usafootball.com or reach your USA Football regional manager (page 23).
health & fitness
E-reminder for E-quipment
Since 2006, USA Football has awarded more than $1 million in new football equipment to approximately 600 youth and school-operated football programs spanning 45 states. Based on merit and need, USA Football’s Grants Program in 2009 – with help from partners Riddell and Under Armour – will award $500,000 worth of new shoulder pads, helmets and more to leagues and school teams. Sign up at usafootball.com now to receive an automated email – or “e-reminder” – informing you of when the 2009 USA Football Grants application form is ready. Request an e-reminder by clicking on the “Equipment Grants” link under the green “Administrators” tab at usafootball.com. The application will be up and running by late summer.
24 USA Football Magazine
With members in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, USA Football recently caught up with four Commissioner members from coast to coast. Below are their straight-ahead thoughts on topics including food, football and fundraisers.
Commissioner: Organization: Location:
Most rewarding aspect of running a youth football league
GAry BertOLUCCi Gateway youth Football League Chesterfield, Mo.
Watching young players learn and appreciate the concept of being part of a team
Mike FrAnCeS Xtreme youth Football League Miami, Fla.
the opportunity to meet a variety of people and to be able to reach out
DWAyne LeGrAnD St. Martin (Miss.) youth Football Association Biloxi, Miss.
the reaction of the kids and the memories they make
CALvin MASSie Prince George’s County (Md.) Boys & Girls Club Lanham, Md.
Seeing a child make their high school football team and watching them progress to play in college and some have made the pros “immaculate reception” (Franco Harris, Dec. 1972)
Favorite football moment
“the Catch” (Montana to Clark, Jan. 1982)
Coaching a 5-6 year-old team to a championship with limited talent Building a bridge in the community between youth and adults
Being in tiger Stadium at my first LSU game when they beat Auburn in the “earthquake Game” (1988) Getting involved with USA Football, the Saints, and other organizations to get the league into the spotlight Michigan vs. Ohio State
your greatest accomplishment as Commissioner
Getting adult volunteers to be committed, motivated and excited about building a youth football organization that is second to none Michigan vs. Ohio State
Winning five of six games in the Washington Metropolitan Area youth Super Bowl Championships in 2007 Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Baltimore ravens italian sausage with all the trimmings Joe Corbis pizzas and Otis Spunkmeyer cookies Pittsburgh Steelers USA Football Coaches Handbook and having a youth football standard to apply to our league
Best football rivalry
U. of Miami vs. Florida State Chicken fingers and fries
Favorite concession stand food Best fundraiser you’ve run Best football uniform Favorite USA Football Commissioner member benefit
Chili cheese fries $14,000 in one BrAX Spirit Cups fundraiser LSU tigers the resources – they are amazing. you call Deno (Campbell) or any regional manager and you get a quick response Bill Walsh, Joe Montana, and John Madden
two suite tickets for a Miami Dolphins game Florida Gators Coaching education
University of Oregon Ducks the teaching tools available on usafootball.com
three people you’d like to have dinner with
Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, General norman Schwarzkopf, Jesus Christ
Jesus Christ, Don Shula, Chuck noll
President Obama, Hines Ward and tony Dungy
USA Football offers resource-packed memberships to give coaches, officials and youth league commissioners an edge. Learn more at www.usafootball.com/register.
health & fitness Commissioner
Commissioners turn football fans into fundraisers
BRAX Spirit Cups help commissioners power programs
By Rose DiPaula
erhaps the most challenging tackle that a youth league commissioner needs to make involves fundraising. Like a coach turning to a favorite play, commissioners move the financial chains with BRAX Spirit Cups. A practical, inexpensive and fun way to raise money, leagues raised as much as $18,000 in profit for their programs in 2008 with the Spirit Cups. Scot Eaton of the Huntersville Buccaneers Football Club in Cornelius, N.C., is a fan of the fundraising program. “My team’s experience with BRAX has been very positive,” he said. “The cups were an easy sell and inside of two weeks my players were able to sell over 400 sets.” Spirit Cups feature your favorite team and are heavy-gauge 18-ounce plastic cups, made in the USA. They are recyclable and packed in a four-pack team set. Spirit Cups boldly display logos and colors of every team in the NFL and Major League Baseball as well as more than 50
America’s top 10 youth football league profits with BRAX Spirit Cups
ORgAnizAtiOn 1. Culpeper Youth football 2. Piqua Youth football Association 3. greenlee/graham Pop Warner 4. northeast Bandits 5. St. Martin Youth football Association 6. St. Cloud Youth football 7. Boone grove Winfield PW 8. griffith Pop Warner 9. Ontario PW football/Cheer 10. Matthews Athletic Rec. Association LOCAtiOn Reva, Va. Piqua, Ohio Morenci, Ariz. St. Petersburg, fla. Biloxi, Miss. St. Cloud, fla. Hebron, ind. griffith, ind. Ontario, Canada Matthews, n.C. PROfit $18,328 $14,920 $9,776 $9,500 $8,952 $8,372 $8,364 $7,816 $7,652 $7,032
college athletics programs. Each four-cup pack sold generates $4 in profit for your league’s bank account. BRAX is the official fundraising partner of USA Football.
Kick off a Spirit Cup program by reaching BRAX’s customer care team at 1-888-825-9339. BRAX is online at spiritcups.com.
26 USA football Magazine
Professionalism is key for game officials
By Chris shepard
o one ever hears about officials who make the right calls, but when something goes wrong, taking the criticism as a professional is a sign of integrity. “The first thing I tell upstart officials is to ‘kill them with kindness,’” said Tony Michalek, NFL umpire and USA Football Director of Officiating. “Always be professional. We always want to be polite, courteous and to the point. And we always want to acknowledge them. If you don’t know the answer, tell them, ‘We will get the answer when we can.’” When encountering a coach who is upset with a call and perhaps steps over the bounds of what is acceptable, Michalek asks, “Please repeat that.” This gives the upset coach a chance to rethink his words. A second offense will result in a penalty. “The one thing that we need to do is be
professional,” Michalek said. “We also never blame another official. We ignore the fans and the parents. We don’t engage with them. And if it’s a controversial call that I made, all I tell the coach is, ‘This is what I saw; this is what I ruled.’” Standing by your call is one of the most important things a credible official can do, especially at a level that does not have the option of instant replay. The official who changes his call without the firm reassurance of a replay is one who looks indecisive and unprofessional. Michalek also stressed the importance of officials keeping their cool during the game. In a sport as emotional as football, it’s important that somebody remain calm and composed – and that has to be the officials. “I learned my biggest lesson in keeping
my composure working lower level football from USA Football’s own Bill LeMonnier,” Michalek said. “When I was young and immature, I would violate all these rules and engage with fans and coaches and lose my cool. Bill was the one who told me that if I wanted to continue to advance and be a good official, I needed to control myself.” Tony Michalek has now been an NFL umpire for six seasons and continues to give back to America’s favorite sport by leading USA Football’s online Certified Officiating Education Program and the non-profit’s officiating training events. Whether you’re interested in officiating football or are already doing so and want to improve, learn from the best. Go to usafootball.com now and become a USA Football Officiating Member.
Usa Football = Miracle-Gro for Officiating Knowledge
By MiCah siMOn
Resources and training acquired through USA Football’s officiating membership places good officials on a fast track to be even better. USA Football Director of Officiating and NFL Umpire Tony Michalek authors and leads officiating membership resources. Working with Michalek is USA Football Officiating Consultant and Big Ten Referee Bill LeMonnier, a co-author of the NCAA Football Officiating Test for the past eight seasons. An officiating membership earns you online access to USA Football’s comprehensive Basic Course with exciting computer-animated video and narration, four Mechanics Courses especially useful for the advanced official, Rules Interpretations video synched-up to NFHS rule numbers and Expert Analysis video featuring insight from the best in the business. Hit the field prepared – become a USA Football Officiating Member today at usafootball.com and press the “Membership” button. • Covers special teams, running game and passing game • 90 total minutes of material • Online comprehension quiz following each course • Ideal for youth officials preparing for high school football
USA Football’s Basic Education Course for officials teaches fundamentals in an exciting state-of-the-art format.
Key resource highlights:
Basic Education Course
• Comprehensive two-hour course • Four chapter quizzes to help retain learnings • Excellent training program for new officials
• Categories: Player Conduct, Pre-Snap, Passing & Kicking • Grid with key rules, their enforcement and video • High-quality video examples for each rule • Preparation for what will be seen on the field
• Online video insight from the best officials in the country • Features Tony Michalek (NFL), Bill, Dick Honig (ACC) & Tom Herbert (Big Ten) Mechanics Courses • Four courses written by Tony Michalek and Bill LeMonnier • Integrated with the NFHS rule book
Meet a USA Football board Member
President & CEO Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association
elping steer USA Football’s mission as the sport’s national governing body on youth and amateur levels is its 17-member Board of Directors. The board is composed of leaders throughout the football community who share a deep appreciation for America’s favorite sport. This issue of USA Football Magazine introduces you to USA Football Board Member Tom Cove, president and chief executive officer for the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association (SGMA), based in Washington, D.C.
What does football mean to you? Football has always been a part of my life. It was the sport I played best as a kid, the one I enjoyed most and it was also my ticket to being a part of a very good high school team at a time in my life when being on a team was extremely important. On a different level, football was a strong connecting point between my dad and me and continues to be a passionate connection between me and my children. What does football mean to the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association (SGMA)? As the largest high school sport and one of the largest youth sports in terms of participation rates and equipment expenditures, football is critically important to our member companies. When one considers the economic and social impact of football spectators in American culture, football clearly merits a top place in the business of sport. USA Football and the SGMA are membership organizations. In what ways does an energized membership shape an organization? An energized group of members is fundamental to the well-being of any membership organization. Committed members who participate on committees, benefit from education opportunities, attend events, and visit websites are the life blood of a good organization. This will keep staff focused and programs relevant, and all members will reap dividends.
Throughout your tenure on the board, where have you seen USA Football make its greatest advancements? The online education programs provided by USA Football are great. In my travels, I see far too many youth coaches who have all the right intentions but lack training in how to coach proper football technique. USA Football’s program offerings to coaches are cutting edge and user-friendly for the coach who might be starved for time. They are wonderful resources. Similarly, USA Football’s emphasis on improving officiating is right on target and will improve the overall game for years to come.
USA FooTbAll’S boArd oF direCTorS
Exec. V.P., Football Operations National Football League
Executive Director Pop Warner Little Scholars, Inc.
Commissioner National Football League
Football Coach NFL Alumni
Senior Regional Director NFL Players Association
President & CEO SGMA International
Executive Director USA Football
Vice President Boys & Girls Clubs of America
Executive Director NFL Players Association
Director of Communications NFL Players Association
Chairman Fairfax County (Va.) Youth Football League
Executive Director American Football Coaches Association
Exec. V.P., Communications & Public Affairs National Football League
Director, NFL Youth Football Dept. National Football League
Former NFL All-Star NFL Alumni
Athletic Director University of Maryland
Chief Operating Officer National Federation of State High School Associations
28 USA Football Magazine
1935-2009 USa Football’s First chairman – Football champion & american patriot
by Steve Alic
ome athletes play quarterback. Few are born one. Jack Kemp was one of those few. USA Football’s first chairman, from the organization’s founding in 2002 until his death in May, exuded the game’s qualities of leadership, intelligence and integrity. And he did it all as a winner. Under his leadership, USA Football grew to become the sport’s national governing body on youth and amateur levels with coaching, officiating and league commissioner members in all 50 states. “Jack Kemp loved to share how football teaches our youngsters American values like responsibility, sacrifice and teamwork,” said USA Football Executive Director Scott Hallenbeck. “The passion he showed for the game as USA Football’s chairman will continue to inspire our non-profit office in advancing the sport. A leader, a patriot, always a quarterback – we will miss him immensely.” Kemp led the Buffalo Bills to two Jack Kemp American Football League (A.F.L.) titles (1964, ’65). A consummate leader, he directed his teams to five of the A.F.L.’s 10 championship games. He also recorded the most career completions and passing yards in the A.F.L.’s 10-season history – a league that won two of the first four Super Bowls against its NFL competition while both leagues operated as separate entities (1966-69). In addition, he was the only A.F.L. quarterback to be listed as a starter in all 10 years of the league’s existence. Following his football playing career, he represented the Buffalo area and western New York for 18 years in the United
States House of Representatives (1971-1989). Kemp served from February 1989 to January 1993 as the U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, and in August of 1996, received the Republican Party’s nomination for Vice President. Page 32 of every USA Football Magazine is titled, “What Football Taught Me.” Jack Kemp offered our first installment of this feature in Jan. 2008. Among his thoughts shared with USA Football Members were the following: “Football gives you a sense of responsibility in a transparent environment. You take on responsibilities and gain credibility for your actions and decisions. Football brings out leadership, helping people achieve a common goal, and brings the best out of people. There are many positives from football that translate into being successful in politics and business in general. “I grew up in Los Angeles. I loved to go to games at the L.A. Coliseum to watch the Rams play as a fan of Bob Waterfield, Norm Van Brocklin, Kenny Washington and George Taliaferro. I recall back in 1945, I’d go and see the Los Angeles Dons in the old All-America Football Conference. I’ve always loved football. My older brother played quarterback in high school. The only thing I ever wanted to do was play pro football. “I have 17 grandchildren and now I’m watching them play football. And they’re better for it. It’s a great game. It teaches so much about life through discipline and putting aside differences for the good of a team.” To borrow our late chairman’s words, it is we who are better off for his leadership. Jack Kemp’s contributions to football and America live on through his proud and lasting legacy.
Football facts, stats & figures
USA Football continually conducts and uncovers research to share with you, our members. We speak with youth league commissioners, coaches, game officials and parents to learn how America’s favorite sport can be even better. Every issue of USA Football Magazine shares “Facts, Stats and Figures” relative to America’s football community.
USA Football State Leadership Forums
USA Football State Leadership Forums give Commissioner members opportunities to share ideas on running successful leagues and to learn how USA Football can help strengthen them. Following this year’s schedule of 37 Chart 6 State Forums, USA Football reached out to more than 500 attendees to make the 2010 meetings even stronger. Here’s what you said:
What discussion topic was most important to you?
0 10% 20%
Coaching/Officiating Education & Certification USA Football Membership Programs National Playing Standards Recruiting Coaches and Officials
Harris Interactive, a global leader in custom market research, announced for the 44th consecutive year that football is America’s favorite sport. More than 1,500 American adults who follow multiple sports were recently asked, “If you had to choose one sport, which 30% Chart 10 would you say is your favorite?” NFL football lapped the field with 31% of the country placing it at No. 1. Trailing the NFL was Major League Baseball (16%). College football drew the third-strongest figure with 12%, meaning that 40 either pro or college football stand No. 1 in the hearts of 43% of America’s sports fans.
For 44th Consecutive Year, Football is America’s Favorite Sport
Recruiting more players Financial Responsibilities, Equipment Grants & Fundraising
America’s top five favorite sports:
For how many years have you served as Commissioner?
0 20% 40% 60%
1 year or less 2-3 years 3-5 years 6 years or more
NFL MLB College Football Auto Men’s pro Racing basketball
Source: 2009 hArriS poll
Do you require coaching education in your league?
Would you recommend other Commissioners to attend a USA Football State Forum?
Thousands of youth football league commissioners have attended USA Football State Leadership Forums. Don’t be left behind – join them in 2010 and contact your USA Football regional manager (see page 23).
NFL Dominates Pro Sports Apparel Sales
It’s no surprise to see someone wearing a jersey or hat supporting their favorite pro sports team, but you may raise your eyebrows in learning how many of those logos and colors belong to NFL clubs. According to the latest ESPN Sports Poll, seven of the top 10 best-selling teams play in the NFL with the other three residing in Major League Baseball. No NBA or NHL teams crack the top 10.
Source: 2009 uSA FootbAll StAte Forum Survey
30 USA Football Magazine
What Football Taught Me
Tom Bessant, CFO, Cash America
As Told To rudy klAncnik
When you’re the Chief Financial Officer for a publicly held NYSE company in this unprecedented and unpredictable economy, you know something about working in the spotlight. Make that a heat lamp. With the temperature topping 120 degrees. Tom Bessant, CFO at Fort Worthbased Cash America, often calls on the life lessons he’s learned playing Tom Bessant high school football at Dallas Skyline and the 29 years as a football official to give him the proper grounding to do his job and to lead others to do likewise. Bessant admits that his football skills were never destined to land him playing time at any collegiate level. But through years of hard work, discipline and focus, Bessant now resides in rare air as a deep sideline official in one of college football’s most competitive power conferences, the Big 12. Like so many of his officiating peers, Bessant worked his way up through youth leagues to high schools to small college divisions and then the Mountain West Conference, the nation’s premier non-BCS conference. Now comes the Big 12 and weekly dates with the likes of Texas, Oklahoma, Nebraska and Texas Tech. Of course for a person whose business decisions influence the direction of a dynamic corporation and the people who work there, the pressure that comes with making a challenging call in the fourth quarter is something Bessant can put in its proper perspective. But that doesn’t mean he ever takes anything on that field lightly. Just the opposite. Bessant is driven to achieve perfection on the field and off, although he admits that football has taught him that perfection is a fleeting pursuit.
he thing that’s always attracted me to football is the fact that everyone on the field – the players, the coaches, the band, the cheerleaders, the officials – is focused on executing their jobs at the highest level possible. I love that about football and it’s the reason that you have to bring your best efforts to the field no matter if you’re working a small-town high school game, a youth game or a Big 12 game. I always tell young officials that it’s critical that you control the things you can control . . . your preparation, rules knowledge, your appearance and fitness, demeanor with everyone surrounding the game. You must respect the game and respect the fact that the game you’re working is the most important thing in these young guys’ lives. The same is true in everyday life, take responsibility for your actions and do your absolute best every minute because it matters to someone. Of course in officiating, you have to know the rules, you must get the right type of training and your team of officials has to function as a cohesive unit. That’s the same as in my day job. In my position, several different disciplines report to me. I want to make sure they all are accountable but also know that they are all equally important to making our company perform at a high level. Officiating keeps me very humble, which I believe is an important trait for any business leader in an executive position. On the field, I’m accountable for my mistakes and coaches and fans certainly won’t let you forget that fact. It keeps you very humble, especially
when you’re dealing with people who work behind the scenes. My high school football coach was the one responsible for getting me back on the football field – as an official. I saw him one day after I had graduated and told him how much I missed the Friday night lights of Texas high school football. He immediately reached out to me and had me get in touch with the local chapter of football officials who helped me get started. I’ve never looked back. There’s nothing like Texas high school football. It just doesn’t get any better or more intense. Friday night in this state is a special deal. I always enjoyed being part of it and I always worked hard to make sure I respected everything I had to do with those games. My day job is very busy and involves a lot of travel. So does my weekend responsibilities in the fall. When I was in the Mountain West, that meant travel to the coast at times. Needless to say, you have to have a very understanding family to make it all work. It’s the most important part of having success at both occupations. My wife is a saint, plain and simple. I work under a lot of pressure Monday through Friday and then work under a different type of pressure on Saturdays. The family makes the biggest sacrifices and I’m lucky to have them on my team. You must never forget to give back to your support group. Each issue of USA Football Magazine reveals what America’s favorite sport has taught accomplished individuals in a variety of vocations. These football accounts illustrate how today’s players become tomorrow’s leaders.
32 USA Football Magazine
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