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CoaChing 12 Art of rushing the passer
Keys to QB pressure from nFL, high school and youth football minds By Alex Fink
issue 12 • winter 2010
CoMMissioners 18 registration for today’s youth leagues
Leagues plan ahead, employ new techniques to reach players & families By Alex Fink
oFFiCiating 24 usa Football’s LeMonnier referees Fiesta Bowl
By Alex Fink
13 Quick-hitter grid 14 season in rewind: grant Brawith
usa Football Coach Member develops and excels By Alex Fink
19 usa Football regional Managers 20 how to get the Most From your Fundraiser
By Tim Polzer
26 Meet a usa Football Member: Donnie stitt
By Alex Fink
6 “team usa vs. the world” game set for Jan. 30
usa Football’s Junior national team to face the world’s best in south Florida By Michael Kuebler
15 what if?
usa Football Coaching Members share thoughts about selecting assistant coaches By Alex Fink
21 Background checks give peace of mind
League commissioners protect players with help from usa Football & nCsi By Alex Fink
4 Kickoff 10 Meet a usa Football staff Member: shedrick taylor, Member services Coordinator 11 what Football taught My son By Nicole Lukosius 28 what Football taught Me: Bill hemmer, FoX news By Steve Alic
heaLth & saFety 16 usa Football shares testimony with u.s. house Judiciary Committee
executive Director scott hallenbeck represents youth football community By Michael Kuebler
22 youth leagues capitalize on usa Football state Forums
By Alex Fink
23 usa Football’s grants Program strengthens the sport in 40-plus states
By Alex Fink
17 usa Football continues concussion awareness education
Coaches honed their craft at usa Football’s 2009 green Bay Coaching school, presented by the Packers. Check out this year’s coaching school schedule on pg. 10.
Photo by Scott LeVeque, uSa footbaLL
Photos By shawn huBBarD
Dear Readers, Welcome to the first USA Football Magazine to be delivered to you in a digital format. to serve you better, your magazine now harnesses the full potential of the internet and usafootball.com to keep you informed of your fellow members and uSa football news most important to you. Speaking of news, there’s plenty to cover here. fresh in our minds are memories of another great season; memories made by you – youth football’s coaches, commissioners, game officials, parents and players. as we know, there is no off-season for those who power the sport on youth and amateur levels. It’s time to get ready for 2010. our team of regional managers and our non-profit office staff is inspired to make the upcoming season your best to date. State Leadership forums (pg. 22) are now underway. and registration through usafootball.com for coaching Schools and Player academies is now open. uSa football’s 2010 Junior National team will face a World Select team in ft. Lauderdale, fla. on Jan. 30. NfL Network will televise the 12 p.m. et game featuring top high school-aged football players from nine countries spanning four continents. check out pages 6-9 for more on this exciting matchup within our growing global football community. our equipment grant program (pg. 23) awarded $1 million in new equipment and apparel to more than 800 youth and high school programs in 44 states in this winter. uSa football’s subsidized background check program (pg. 21), protecting our kids in the fight against sexual predators, has proven to be an invaluable resource and continues to be available to every youth league across the united States. this issue also holds insight on how to rush the quarterback from an accomplished uSa football coaching member, a high school coach, and an NfL defensive end (pg. 12). Read ideas from commissioner members on how to improve a league’s registration (pg. 18). and check out how uSa football is continuing to work for the sport’s betterment when it comes to player safety through cDc-approved concussion awareness and education measures (pgs. 16-17). this and more awaits you in the pages ahead. and like a sure-handed receiver who’s always open, uSa football’s regional managers and office staff is ready to serve you. contact your regional manager (pg. 19) and ask 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 mouse click away (usafootball.com) from our member services department. all the best to you in 2010 and we look forward to seeing you at a uSa football event in the months ahead. Sincerely,
executive Director Scott Hallenbeck
Usa Football editorial staFF
Managing editor Steve alic Contributors: brian Feener, alex Fink, MicHael kuebler, bill leMonnier, Scott leveque, nicole lukoSiuS, tiM Polzer, SHedrick taylor, JiMMy tHoMaS to contact usa Football: (703) 918-0007
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Scott hallenbeck uSa football executive Director
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4 USA Football Magazine
teAm USA vs. the World Game set for Jan. 30
USA Football’s Junior National Team to face the world’s best in South Florida
By Michael KueBler New faces, same goal. A fresh crop of 45 high school seniors will don the red, white, and blue for USA Football’s second Junior National Team. USA Football’s hand-picked roster follows in the footsteps of the team that won the gold medal in the eight-nation 2009 International Federation of American Football (IFAF) Junior World Championship in Canton, Ohio, this past summer. The 2010 squad looks to prove itself against a World Select team this time around in USA Football’s “Team USA vs. The World” game, presented by Riddell in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., on Jan. 30 at 12 p.m. ET. The game will be nationally televised by NFL Network with Rich Eisen, Deion Sanders, and Scott Kennedy calling the action. USA Football’s roster is composed of America’s best high school senior football players who also demonstrate character befitting a USA Football national team. “This is a once in a lifetime opportunity,” said North Broward (Fla.) Prep running back Ethan Grant to the South Florida Sun Sentinel. Grant has verbally committed to play at TCU next fall. “This is a chance to represent my country and show what we have to offer in football as a whole.” “I’m looking forward to competing with the best,” added Hollywood Hills cornerback Tony Grimes, who is considering scholarship offers from Alabama, Georgia, Michigan, Ohio State, Oregon, and other schools. “It’s pretty exciting to be able to represent your whole country and see players from around the world. I’m excited.” USA Football’s roster consists of young men who will play in nine collegiate athletic conferences next season. In light of the athletic achievements of Team USA’s players,
U S A F o o t b A l l’ S
6 USA Football Magazine
USA Football National Teams ready for 2010
USA Football will further strengthen its international presence by fielding several national teams in 2010. USA Football joins the international Federation of American Football (iFAF) and its other 56 national federation members on five continents to advance and grow the sport’s burgeoning international popularity. The following teams will be assembled for international play this year: • USA Football Junior National Team (January) • USA Football women’s National Team (June-July) • USA Football’s youth National Team (July) • USA Football men’s Flag National Team (August) • USA Football’s women’s Flag National Team (August) Stay tuned to www.usafootball.com for more in the months ahead.
NFl Network to broadcast “team USA vs. the World” Game
when USA Football’s “Team USA vs. The world” game, presented by riddell, kicks off at 12 p.m. ET on Saturday, Jan. 30, NFL Network will be there to televise it live from Ft. Lauderdale’s Lockhart Stadium. NFL Network is the only television network dedicated exclusively to the NFL and to the sport of football. As an official NFL Pro Bowl week event, USA Football’s “Team USA vs. The world” game will be on after the AFc and NFc All-Star morning practices on Jan. 30 held in Lockhart Stadium. Following the “Team USA vs. The world” game, NFL Network will have the Senior Bowl game live at 4:00 p.m. ET. The Pro Bowl will be played on Jan. 31 at 7:20 p.m. ET in South Florida’s dolphin Stadium. – michael kuebler Grant’s and Grimes’ comments point to the fact that “Team USA vs. the World” is more than just another game. Wearing “U-S-A” across their chest means something greater and requires more than on-field talent. Team USA athlete selections are based on the values of teamwork and leadership as well as athletic ability. Roster selections are made by USA Football and its coaching staff, headed by Chris Merritt of Miami Christopher Columbus High School. Merritt served as the defensive backs coach of USA Football’s 2009 team and owns a 79-22 (.782) record as head coach at Miami Columbus. His staff is composed of eight high school coaches from five states. “These young men were hand-selected to represent our country as elite athletes and exceptional ambassadors,” said
Merritt of those selected. “They have garnered dozens of individual honors at their respective high schools, but those won’t help us on January 30. “We will prepare diligently for a very talented World team. I look forward to putting our preparation into action at Lockhart Stadium at the end of this month.” What awaits Team USA on January 30 is a World team composed of 45 of the best players aged 19 and under from outside the United States, spanning eight countries on four continents. Jan Jenmert of Sweden will lead the World team with a staff of coaches from 11 countries. “USA Football shares in the enthusiasm for January’s game with the dozens of national football federations across the globe,” said USA Football Executive Director Scott Hallenbeck. “This is a significant event for the sport’s continued international popularity and it will be an incredible experience for our players and coaches to represent the United States in America’s favorite game.” Follow USA Football’s “Team USA vs. The World” game and the events leading up to Jan. 30 at www.usavworld.com.
LockhArT STAdiUm hiSTory growS oN JAN. 30
USA Football’s “Team USA vs. The world” game will be held in Ft. Lauderdale’s legendary Lockhart Stadium on Jan. 30. The historical 50-year-old venue’s intimate seating arrangement brings fans on top of the action. Lockhart has showcased premier high school football games for decades, including Broward county’s All-Star Football game and high-profile matchups such as this past october’s game between nationally-ranked No. 1 vs. No. 2 showdown between Ft. Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas and Byrnes (S.c.). The recently-renovated 50-year-old stadium holds 18,000 fans and is the football home of Florida Atlantic University, dillard high School, and Ft. Lauderdale high School. – Alex Fink
USA FootbAll’S 2010 JUNior NAtioNAl teAm
#72 • C JAke AlexANder
#70 • C JoSh AlleN
#53 • lb demetre bAker
#23 • S Corey Cooper
#7 • Wr ShAWN Corker
#6 • Wr ANthoNy CreeCy
#17 • lb Steele divitto
#76 • ot ANdreW doNNAl
#8 • Wr QUiNtoN dUNbAr
#62 • oG dAN FooSe
#2 • Wr SAm GAGliANo
#3 • rb JAkhAri Gore
#10 • rb ethAN GrANt
#25 • Cb toNy GrimeS
#88 • te miChAel hArtviGSoN
#32 • lb tommy heFFerNAN
#31 • pk beN hopFiNGer
#26 • Cb JoSh hUFF
#44 • lb mike hUll
#71 • ot kody iNNeS
#4 • S bryANt JACkSoN
#59 • dt JordAN JohNSoN
#28 • Cb riChArd leoNArd
#5 • Wr keiWoNe mAloNe
#24 • Cb tyrANN mAthieU
#42 • de ZACk mcCrAy
#33 • de JordAN mcdoNAld
#39 • te keNdAll moNtGomery
#73 • ot mike moUdy
#18 • Qb mArk myerS
#30 • Cb keioN pAyNe
#75 • oG ColiN porter
#9 • Wr JoSh reeSe
#92 • de lebrANdeN riChArdSoN
#77 • oG NiCk roWlANd
#36 • de thomAS ryAN
#78 • t keviN SChloemer
#66 • oG AdAm SheAd
#11 • Qb tyler Smith
#40 • lb A.J. tArpley
#1 • S titUS till
#22 • rb doNtAe WilliAmS
#41 • lb trAviS WilliAmS
Kirk Heidelberg, Offensive Coordinator/Line Gabe Infante, Defensive Coordinator Harold Barnwell, Defensive Line heAd CoACh ChriS merritt
Telly Lockette, Wide Receivers Pat Murphy, Defensive Backs John Roderique, Linebackers Rich Stuart, Running Backs Steve Walsh, Quarterbacks
8 USA Football Magazine
2010 World teAm
#45 • dl mehdi AbdeSmAd
#87 • Wr Alex ANthoNy
#42 • lb mArCUS bAbiC
#83 • Wr JUliAN bAiley
#24 • rb GUillAme boUrASSA
#7 • Qb brANdoN bridGe
#40 • lb JovANNi CArrillo
#10 • db SooNbUm ChA
#31 • lb beCk CoUlter
#8 • k tyler CrApiGNA
#12 • Qb Jeremi doyoN-roCh
#33 • db mike dUbUiSSoN
#15 • Wr ShomA eNdo
#94 • dl eliAS GrooN
#77 • ol dANNy GroUlx
#68 • ol dilloN GUy
#34 • rb JeFF hASSler
#75 • ol beN heeNAN
#6 • rb hAmpUS hellermArk
#21 • db dylAN hollohAN
#26 • db SCott JANZ
#74 • ol SebAStiAN JohANSSoN
#44 • lb tAvitA kAtiNA
#85 • Wr Jerit lAmbert
#95 • dl dAvid lee
#3 • rb SteveN lUmbAlA
#36 • db Cody lyNCh
#22 • db yUdAi mArUyAmA
#4 • lb Jerod mcCrory
#11 • lb byroN pereZArChAmbAUlt
#76 • ol CAm redl
#89 • ol JACob rUby
#5 • Wr thomAS rUiZ
#52 • lb tyler SAWyer
#93 • dl Joel SeUtter
#78 • ol mAtt SeWell
#32 • Fb JAmeS SiFAkiS
#84 • Wr AdAm thibAUlt
#37 • db CAmeroN WAde
#9 • lb ChriStiAN WAlCott
#49 • dl bJoerN WerNer
#54 • dl JeSSe WilliAmS
#81 • Wr JUmpei yoShimoto
Masato Itai, Offensive Coordinator Warren Craney,Defensive Coordinator Oliver Moret,Special Teams Greg Marshall,Offensive Line heAd CoACh Marco Iadeluca,Running Backs JAN Peter Tos,Tight Ends JeNmert
Salomon Solano, Defensive Line Shinichi Takeda, Defensive Backs Niclas Carlson, Strength & Conditioning Rick Sowieta, Team Manager
Meet a USA Football staffer
Shedrick Taylor member services coordinator
What are your responsibilities as a member services coordinator? I take care of our members through constant communication on the phone or over email along with many behind-the-scenes responsibilities. I compile reports and member feedback on our resources, coaching schools, and other USA Football events. I also field calls and emails from people who need help registering for an event or who wish to upgrade from a Certified Coaching Education Program (CCEP) user to a full member. What is your favorite part of the job? I enjoy talking and working with our members from all over the country. I get to learn how each part of the country handles different scenarios and concerns. What does football mean to you? Football means teamwork and dedication. It’s arguably the only sport of the top
I enjoy hanging out with friends and spending time with my wife.
four sports where an individual cannot typically single-handedly win or lose the game. It’s about team: offense, defense, special teams, and coaching. Depending on how each of these components function, it will determine the team’s success.
What is one thing that most people do not know about you? I’ve lived in five states (Ga., Kan., Minn., Texas, and Va.). I grew up in Minnesota and traveled and lived back and forth to see my father and mother. My mother was in Minnesota and my father was in Dallas and Austin. My dad then got a job transfer to Atlanta and we all moved there. I graduated high school in Minnesota and went to college in Lawrence, Kan., at the University of Kansas. I now live in Virginia. What do you aim to accomplish in 2010 for USA Football members? I look forward to continuing to help upgrade our member resources, make sure that our members get the high-quality service they deserve, and find even more ways that USA Football can be efficient and productive for the sport’s benefit.
USA FOOTBALL COACHING SCHOOL SCHEDULE
DATE April 10 April 17 April 17 LOCATION northern Virginia (Washington redskins) Sacramento, Calif. (Granite bay h.S.) Des Moines, Iowa (Valley Southwoods Freshman School) Indianapolis, Ind. (Indianapolis Colts) baltimore, Md. (baltimore ravens) Charlotte, n.C. (Carolina Panthers) raleigh, n.C. Foxborough, Mass. (new England Patriots) Green bay, Wis. (Green bay Packers) Paisley, Fla. (All-Star Sports Complex) Santa Clara, Calif. (San Francisco 49ers) Los Angeles, Calif. (notre Dame h.S.) omaha, neb. (University of nebraska-omaha) Columbus, ohio (Dublin Scioto high School) San Diego, Calif. (San Diego Chargers) St. Louis, Mo. (St. Louis rams) Tampa, Fla. (Tampa bay buccaneers) Ann Arbor, Mich. (Pioneer h.S.) San Diego, Calif. (San Diego hall of Champions) DATE June 19 June 26 July 10 July 17 July 17 July 24 TbD TbD TbD TbD TbD TbD TbD TbD TbD TbD TbD TbD LOCATION Atlanta, Ga. (Atlanta Falcons) Seattle, Wash. (Seattle Seahawks) Phoenix, Ariz. (Desert Vista h.S.) Kansas City, Mo. (Kansas City Chiefs) oakland, Calif. (oakland raiders) Minneapolis, Minn. (Minnesota Vikings) Chicago, Ill. (Chicago bears) Cleveland, ohio (Cleveland browns) Dallas, Texas (Dallas Cowboys) Denver, Colo. (Denver broncos) houston, Texas (houston Texans) Long Island, n.y. new orleans, La. (new orleans Saints) East rutherford, n.J. (new york Giants) Florham Park, n.J. (new york Jets) Philadelphia, Pa. (Philadelphia Eagles) Pittsburgh, Pa. (Pittsburgh Steelers) nashville, Tenn. (Tennessee Titans)
USA Football kicks off its ambitious 2010 Coaching School schedule on April 10. In addition to gaining a coaching edge, attendees also receive lunch, a USA Football Coaching School Tee, and a gift bag. Every USA Football Coaching School features a keynote speaker. Past speakers have included new England Patriots head Coach bill belichick, Pro Football hall of Famer Fred biletnikoff, Atlanta Falcons head Coach Mike Smith, and College Football hall of Fame linebacker Chris Spielman. Seats are already moving fast, so reserve yours today.
April 17 April 24 May TbD May TbD May 1 May 1 May 1 May 1 May 8 May 8 May 22 May 22 May 29 June TbD June 12 June 17
*For the most up-to-date USA Football Coaching School schedule, click here.
10 USA Football Magazine
PhoTo by brIAn FEEnEr
What kinds of things do you do in your spare time? I really enjoy working out and playing sports. I am also pretty active in my church and its activities as well.
What Football Has Taught My Son
by nicole lukosius
illy hampton is a youth football veteran. The 13-year-old has eight seasons of America’s favorite sport under his belt, having played two years of flag football and the past six seasons with the Football and Cheer Club of Johnson County (FCCJC) in Kansas. his little brother, Tony, is making his way through the program as well, and their father is the league’s secretary/ treasurer. billy’s mother, Angele, doesn’t miss a minute of the action either, taking on the role of team photographer for the FCCJC Falcons. Angele says that youth football is about lasting friendships, teamwork and perseverance. USA Football Magazine recently spoke with Angele to learn more about what football has taught her son.
the life lessons football can give … to be a part of something so profound and great and to be supportive in what they are passionate about is what it’s all about.
Angele and Billy Hampton
CoUrTESy oF ThE hAMPTon FAMILy
When did your son start playing football and how did he get started? billy started playing football at age 5 with flag football. he’s always been athletic, active and busy playing outside with one ball or another. My husband (bill hampton) and I believe that organized sports help keep children out of trouble while teaching them valuable life lessons, therefore, we wanted that for our boys (billy 13, Tony 8). They enjoy sports so much and have decided to keep up with it.
What does your son enjoy most about playing football and why has he stuck with it? billy enjoys the personal and team challenges that come with football, and he also enjoys doing what he is passionate about – and that is football. I think he sees that if you’re passionate about something, you’ll be great at it no matter what. you may not be the best on the team, but if you’re passionate about what you’re doing, you’re going to shine like you’re the best player and be successful at it. Why is it important to you as his mother to be involved with his youth football experience? being involved in the boys’ sports gives me the best seat in the world! To watch them grow and mature through
What has football taught your son? billy has developed from a strong little boy to a respectful young man all while making lasting friendships and I’ve observed my youngest become stronger and more confident. Seeing billy grow through that time has taught him loyalty, perseverance, sportsmanship and to respect his elders and his teammates. billy’s also been a team captain for each of the past eight years. This has taught him how to be a role model on and off the field. How have other aspects of your son’s life been positively affected by playing football? Football has taught my son to be confident in the preparation he’s taken and that preparation and hard work are not always the key to a successful turnout – you lose some and you win some. It’s what you learn along the way. It’s knowing even though he gave 110 percent, it doesn’t mean a sure thing. billy has applied this to every aspect of his life. he has also learned about loyalty to someone or something other than himself. USA Football is the official youth football development partner of the NFL, its 32 teams and the NFL Players Association. Learn more about football fundamentals and values at usafootball.com.
Art of rushing the passer
Keys to QB pressure from NFL, high school and youth football minds
By Alex Fink
health & fitness
12 USA Football Magazine
AdEWALE OGUNLEYE PHOTO BY BILL SMITH, GABE INFANTE COURTESY OF GABE INFANTE
very defensive end will tell you that once he beats his man and the only thing standing between him and a sack is an unsuspecting quarterback, there is no other place they would rather be. Chicago Bears defensive end and NFL all-star Adewale Ogunleye is among the NFL’s best at putting pressure on the quarterback. Midway through the 2009 season, AdewAle oGunleye, chIcAGo beArs de Ogunleye has accumulated 65 career sacks and has been a con“I will often use a blocking dummy stant headache for opposing offensive as a tight end and align cones to coordinators week in and week out. ensure proper depth and angles for the “Each play, you have to just go with rush,” Koenig explains. “I will also posiall your heart and soul,” said Ogunleye. tion a dummy (use two to avoid head “You have to be relentless. You never to head collisions) at a five step drop know when a sack is going to come, so position and have the players compete every down you have to play like that to see who can get there first. is going to be your opportunity. “Children need visuals, so you need “Having a good takeoff is the most to walk through the technique and use underrated technique a good pass cones and dummies for them to underrusher needs to have. I think people stand the distance/depth.” don’t really realize that good Gabe Infante, head coach pass rushing begins with at Paramus (N.J.) Catholic your take off. You don’t have High School and defensive to be very fast to be a great coordinator of the 2010 pass rusher, but getting off USA Football Junior National the ball is essential.” Team, also emphasizes the USA Football coaching importance of getting out of member Michael Koenig, your stance quickly. coach and a founding board MIchAel KoenInG “I think the most impormember of the Omaha (Neb.) tant component for a youth STORM, echoes the importance of a coach to focus on is ‘get-off’,” said solid burst off the line of scrimmage Infante. “There are two elements to a and offers his proven techniques great get-off – stance and trigger. The and drills to successfully get to the stance we teach resembles something quarterback. closer to a track runner’s start than
a traditional football stance. That is because we want to get up the field as quickly as possible, and it is difficult to do that with a traditional shoulder-width stance. “The second component, or trigger as I call it, is all about ball movement. Ideally we want to beat the offensive player out of his stance. We believe keying the football for movement gives us the best chance. It is a neutral stimulus we believe is better than keying our man’s movement.” Infante points out that the most important thing a defensive end should keep in mind once the ball is snapped is actually not thinking at all. “His thinking or planning should be done before the ball is snapped. He should have a GAbe InfAnte plan or move he intends to execute based on careful study of his opponent and his own strengths. Focus on getting to the quarterback entails getting by the person assigned to protect him. Closing the distance between you and the offensive player assigned to block you is paramount.” USA Football Coach Members: help your defensive linemen get to the quarterback – go to the Drills Library at usafootball.com. Twelve of the more than 100 computer-animated drills found here are dedicated to defensive line play.
with members in all 50 states and the district of columbia, usA football recently caught up with four coach Members spanning the heartland to the west coast. below are their straight-ahead thoughts covering coaching, music, movies, and other topics of interest. note that their super bowl predictions were submitted during week 8 of the nfl’s 2009 regular season.
coAch: experIence: teAM: locAtIon:
Gutsiest call you’ve ever made:
wIllIe reeves 39 yeArs lexInGton colts lexInGton, MIss.
three years ago in the playoffs, we were tied 8-8 with 2:00 left and faced a 4th and 11 near midfield. I called a halfback option pass and it went for a 40-yard td to win the game. friday night lights
JAMes McGoldrIcK 6 yeArs sAntA clArItA wIldcAts los AnGeles, cAlIf.
I’m saving it for the playoffs
douG whIpple 5 yeArs Greene county rAMs Jefferson, IowA
sitting a kid for getting detention. we set rules to help the kids understand that football is a privilege and not the most important thing
JIM worMuth 11 yeArs noblesvIlle eleMentAry noblesvIlle, IndIAnA
starting the game with an onside kick. we recovered it and went on to win the game.
best football Movie: favorite nfl player: super bowl prediction: favorite usA football coaching resource: favorite coach (college or pro): best thing about coaching:
Jim thorpe: AllAmerican eli Manning steelers and Giants
remember the titans
the longest yard
devin hester Giants vs. colts
barry sanders vikings and the colts drills library
walter payton Minnesota vs. denver (denver to win) practice planner
USA Football Magazine
working with youth
teaching football, but even more so, instilling the values of sportsmanship, character and family the clash
helping kids understand what it takes to be successful at something
teaching the game of football
favorite musician or group: skill or value most needed to coach: one player (past or present) you’d like to coach for a day:
patience and a quick mind. walter payton
leadership & honesty
USA Football offers resource-packed memberships to give coaches, game officials, youth league commissioners and players an edge. Learn more at www.usafootball.com/register.
season in rewind: Grant brawith
USA Football Coach Member develops and excels
By Alex Fink
n just three short GrAnt brAwIth years, Grant Brawith has taken his Tokay Jr. Tigers of Lodi, Calif., from a grassroots youth football organization into a perennial powerhouse. All four divisions of his Jr. Tigers program finished the season above .500 and three of the four reached their division championship. Before its inception in 2007, Brawith wanted to make sure his organization was readily equipped for both the short- and longearly coaching years, Brawith admits term goals he had set in place. Winhe’s come a long way in terms of ning has become a natural byproduct coaching skills and philosophy. of doing things right. “I have a much better understand“Our goal was to be committed to ing of how to coach-up and reach teaching our young studentthe kids than when I first athletes to compete athletistarted,” said Brawith, who cally at the highest level and resides in Lodi, Calif. (85 to strive to be a lifetime miles east of San Franlearner in the classroom and cisco). “I used USA Football’s on the field,” said Brawith, practice planner from the President of the Tokay Jr. website this season to orgaTigers and delta Youth nize my practices and also GrAnt brAwIth Sports Association League implemented techniques Commissioner. “I felt USA Football and drills I’ve gathered over the years shared those same values and they – some of which are from the USA have certainly helped me as a coach Football coaching schools.” and league commissioner.” The Varsity Jr. Tigers started the Brawith has been coaching for season strong with four victories in seven years, three of those seven their first five games. Coach Brawith as the Varsity Jr. Tigers’ head coach and his team finished the regular (12-14 year-olds). Looking back at his season with a 5-3 record and con-
tinued their strong showing well into the playoffs. Although his team came up just short in the league’s championship game, Brawith was very proud of the progress he and his team had made throughout the season. “Our organization as a whole achieved great success and I’m proud of the way we finished the season,” Brawith said. “The players were happy, the parents were happy, the coaches were happy. The coaches are already anxious for next season. They all are asking if they can return and when the next USA Football coaching school is.” As for Brawith, he plans to continue his hard work well into the offseason to ensure his team and league enjoy the same successes for years to come. “I’m really looking forward to the new USA Football Coaching School schedule to be released,” Brawith said (see page 10). “On top of attending the coaching schools and other seminars, I’ll be studying a lot of game film to see what I can improve on in the upcoming seasons.” Join Coach Brawith as a USA Football Coach Member or renew your current membership here.
health & fitness
14 USA Football Magazine
USA Football Coaching Members share thoughts about selecting assistant coaches By Alex Fink
City, State: Columbus, Ga. Youth League: Columbus Youth Indoor Football League Team: Steelers (11-12 year olds) Coaching Experience: 3 years
City, State: Eden Prairie, Minn. League: Eden Prairie Football Association Team: 5th grade Yellow (10-11 year olds) Coaching Experience: 5 years
City, State: Endwell, N.Y. League: Maine Endwell Youth Football Team: Blue Upper (11-12 year olds) Coaching Experience: 6 years
Coaching turnover in youth football is a common occurrence. Volunteer coaches’ work schedules may change year-to-year, a family may move – numerous scenarios may alter a team’s coaching staff. Three USA Football coach members, all of whom are youth head coaches, recently shared their thoughts about how they would fill positions on their staffs. What if you are seeking a new assistant coach? What are some things you take into consideration during the selection process? bunting: I believe that looking for an assistant coach should start with his or her character. If you don’t believe in a coach as a person, you shouldn’t believe in his or her philosophy or abilities as a coach. A coach should have morals and truly believe that the kids come first. I believe that all coaches should have no less than the USA Football Coaches Certification (online CCEP course completion), although some of the other certifications are fine. I truly believe in what USA Football is teaching. Kelley: First, can they relate to the kids? Have the coaches and kids had fun
when they coached or led other youth activities? Second, respect for the game: players, parents, fellow coaches and refs. This can sometimes be hard to determine right away but “hot heads” need not apply. Third, they need to have passion for the activity. As we often tell our coaches, “Football is a great game, don’t screw it up.” The passion indeed sometimes means taking extra steps for the weakest player on the team. It can also mean waiting for the 20-minute-late parent picking up their child from practice. hess: I think the most important thing to me in picking an assistant coach is coaching philosophies. Ninety-five percent of the people I have coached with fully understand the game and know how to teach X’s & O’s, but only 50 percent of them have what I consider to be a good coaching philosophy. The most important thing at this level is teaching them how to love football while you teach them how to play football. What if you were giving advice to new coaches seeking assistants? What would you tell them? bunting: A coach should trust his instincts when looking for an assistant
coach. They should believe in what you do and teach and be sure to not just take a dad because he is your friend or that his son is a beast on the field. Kelley: Balance, Balance, Balance – if you’re an offensive guy, get a defensive guy (and vice versa). If you had playing experience at a skill position, look for someone that spent their time as a lineman. Most importantly, look for an assistant that will be complimentary to your communication and coaching style. Not all kids are motivated the same way. hess: I have coached now for six years and have had 10-0 teams two of those years. The first year I coached, it was a 6-8 year old team and we won our first five games and our coaching staff thought we would have an undefeated season. We lost our sixth game and my whole coaching staff and parents were heartbroken. My 6-year-old son came up to me after the game and said, “dad did we win?” When I told him, “No,” he said, “Bummer, can we stay a while so I can play with my friends?” His team went to the playground and had a great time playing. That was a life lesson for me on wins and losses, we as parents get hung up on it.
USA Football shares testimony with U.S. House Judiciary Committee
Executive Director Scott Hallenbeck represents youth football community
By Michael KueBler
he U.S. House Judiciary Committee held its second hearing on Legal Issues Relating to Football Head Injuries on Jan. 4. USA Football Executive Director Scott Hallenbeck was one of 21 individuals invited to testify before the Committee, which conducted the hearing in Detroit, Mich., at the Wayne State University School of Medicine. USA Football’s Hallenbeck is the only person who has been called to represent the youth football community on this topic in U.S. House Judiciary Committee hearings. Those invited to give testimony on Jan. 4 included prominent professionals from the sports, medical, and science industries. Hallenbeck stated USA Football’s responsibility to the youth football community and its work with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in developing and providing health and safety initiatives. USA Football will emphasize CDC-approved concussion awareness and management in 2010 through usafootball.com, its 85 events in 27 states, and its membership offerings serving coaches, players, commissioners, and game officials. “We lead the sport’s development and serve the youth football community,” said Hallenbeck in his testimony. “A critical part of that leadership is the health and safety information we provide, including our work with the CDC on concussion awareness. “USA Football has worked with the CDC for more than two years to share concussion awareness information throughout youth football and we will do so with even greater emphasis in 2010.” USA Football’s coaching education curriculum helps dedicated volunteer youth coaches know how to teach blocking and tackling fundamentals, which can lessen the chance of injury. USA Football’s equipment grant program also makes football safer by awarding more than $2 million worth of football equipment since 2006 to youth and high school programs, based on merit and need. By April of this year, USA Football’s 11-chapter online
coaching course will be expanded with new chapters on concussion awareness, athlete hydration, and equipment fitting. USA Football’s CDC-approved concussion awareness policy helps coaches recognize concussion signs and symptoms and shares what to do if a concussion is even suspected. “All youth sports need to recognize the seriousness of concussions and the need for further education among our coaches, league administrators, game officials, athletes, and parents,” Hallenbeck said. “We encourage other sports’ national governing bodies to join us and make a similar commitment to our young athletes.”
health & fitness
16 USA Football Magazine
USA Football continues concussion awareness education
wenty-six youth sports organizations, including USA Football, have worked with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for more than two years to educate the youth sports community on concussion awareness. Continuing this practice for the sport’s betterment, USA Football is emphasizing this topic in 2010. USA Football’s CDC-approved concussion awareness policy was created for youth leagues to adopt. USA Football recommends that every youth football league – and every youth sports league – employ such a policy. This information is shared through USA Football’s curriculum, events, and resources.
Signs Observed by Coaching Staff Appears dazed or stunned Is confused about assignment or position Forgets an instruction Is unsure of game, score, or opponent Moves clumsily Answers questions slowly Loses consciousness (even briefly) Shows mood, behavior, or personality changes Can’t recall events prior to hit or fall Can’t recall events after hit or fall
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS
Athletes who experience any of the signs and symptoms listed below after a bump, blow, or jolt to the head or body may have a concussion. Symptoms Reported by Athlete Headache or “pressure” in head Nausea or vomiting Balance problems or dizziness Double or blurry vision Sensitivity to light Sensitivity to noise Feeling sluggish, hazy, foggy, or groggy Concentration or memory problems Confusion Does not “feel right” or is “feeling down”
OF H EALTH AND H UMAN S ERVICES CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION
b. “When in doubt, sit them out” – athletes with signs or symptoms of concussion must not return to play 2. ensure that the athlete is evaluated immediately by an appropriate health care professional a. Do not try to judge the severity of the injury yourself b. Coaches recording the following can help a health care professional in assessing the athlete: i. Cause of the injury and the force of the hit or blow to the head ii. Any loss of consciousness and if so, for how long iii. Any memory loss or seizures immediately following the injury iv. Number of previous concussions (if any)
If you suspect that an athlete has a concussion, you should take the following four steps: 1. Remove athlete from play. 2. Ensure that the athlete is evaluated by an appropriate health care professional. Do not try to judge the seriousness of the injury yourself. 3. Inform the athlete’s parents or guardians about the possible concussion and give them the fact sheet on concussion. 4. Keep the athlete out of play the day of the injury and until an appropriate health care professional says they are symptom-free and it’s OK to return to play.
IMPORTANT PHONE NUMBERS
Emergency Medical Services
Health Care Professional
School Staff Available During Practice
School Staff Available During Games
For more information and safety resources, visit www.cdc.gov/Concussion or www.usafootball.com.
WHEN IN DOUBT, SIT THEM OUT
every coach who attends one of USA Football’s 37 full-day coaching schools in 2010 will receive this clipboard sticker, created by USA Football and the CDC. this same information, screened onto clipboards and refrigerator magnets, will be distributed to league commissioners at USA Football’s 38 State leadership Forums, spanning 27 states.
Prevention and Preparation for Coaches
(Primary Source: CDC) 1. educate athletes and parents about concussion a. Talk with athletes and parents about preventative measures, symptoms, and proper action to take relative to concussions. b. Emphasize the dangers of playing through a concussion. 2. Insist that safety comes first a. Teach athletes safe playing techniques and good sportsmanship b. Review the “Concussion Fact Sheet for Players” found at usafootball.com with players and their parents
3. teach athletes and parents that it is not safe to play with a concussion a. Explain that it is not “courageous” nor does it show strength to play with a concussion 4. Prevent long-term problems a. “When in doubt, sit them out.” Keep athletes with known or suspected concussion off the field until an appropriate health care professional clears them to return. Returning to play must be a medical decision.
3. Inform the athlete’s parents/ guardians of the possible concussion & and give them the concussion fact sheet for parents found on usafootball.com a. Ensure that parents know the athlete must be seen by an appropriate healthcare professional b. Provide formal documentation of the injury and notify the league commissioner 4. Allow the athlete to return to play only after an appropriate healthcare professional clears his or her return a. A repeat concussion that occurs before the brain recovers from the first can slow recovery or increase the likelihood of having long-term problems
What a Coach Should Do When a Concussion is Suspected
(Primary Source: CDC) 1. Remove the athlete from play a. Look for signs and symptoms of concussion if an athlete experienced a bump or blow to the head
Registration for today’s youth leagues
Leagues plan ahead, employ new techniques to reach players & families
By Alex Fink
health & fitness
he off-season can ents and coaches with be just as important information they need as the actual season when registration time itself for youth football comes around. league commissioners. “In order to run Commissioners now coma successful youth monly prepare for league football organization, – Erick Heckman, Rockville (Md.) Football League President registration through innovaa commissioner must tive strategies across the treat the club like a country. and use their email distribution lists business and always follow the rule League registration efforts have to reach prospective players. Once of the 5 ‘P’s (Prior Planning Prevents been made even more productive by players become interested in playing, Poor Performance),” said Lott, who employing the internet. Email blasts, parents are directed to go online for has been commissioner of Indian surveys and websites are some of the more information. Nations Football Conference for more popular ways leagues harness “We have a very good registration more than 23 years. “I feel a new this resource. primer on our website that is written commissioner who is preparing “Unlike the past when communicamuch like the ‘For Dummies’ book,” for the upcoming season needs to tion was strictly limited to the newspa- said Rockville (Md.) Football League make sure everything is set in place per, yard signs or flyers handed out to President Erick Heckman. “We have a early – typically by April. For us, our a school – which may or may not make lot of boundaries and recruiting rules equipment has been purchased, reit home – we can now reach players that must be enforced, so it’s very imconditioned, organized and returned and their families through the internet,” portant that we make ourselves availto the shelves; our registrations are explains Indian Nations Football Conable via email and phone to answer open and online; our website is up ference (Okla.) Commissioner Tom Lott, questions and make sure players to date; and our coaches have gone whose league are registered to the correct age and through their first preseason meetconsists of 366 weight groups and the right team. ings. We have also begun finalizing teams. “We have “We have successfully used the our preseason camps and coaches the ability to technology to increase our registration as well as assigning practice field have constant by 10-20 percent a year for the last and combine locations. contact with five years.” “We have learned that by preparing our families and Perhaps the most important thing early, it eliminates a major amount of we consistently commissioners should keep in mind complaints which would otherwise search for any during the offseason is rememberarise. It also makes for a smooth tranTom LoTT means we can ing to plan ahead. It’s imperative to sition into the season.” offer on our website to entice them to secure a location for equipment handFor more insight on how to best stay in contact with us.” out and registration day as early as operate your youth league, go to Commissioners also partner with possible. Planning ahead eliminates usafootball.com and click the green local elementary and middle schools confusion and arms the players, par“Commissioner” tab.
“We have successfully used the technology to increase our registration by 10-20 percent a year for the last five years.”
18 USA Football Magazine
usA Football regional managers
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.
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.
NoRthWest RegioN gReAt lAkes RegioN ceNtRAl RegioN (703) 992-8246
(703) 992-8107 south & Mid-AtlANtic
how to get the Most From Your Fundraiser
By tim polzer
CoaChing offiCiating Commissioner health & fitness
very youth football organization’s game plan includes the challenge of fundraising, but not every organization has a good game plan. Too many associations and leagues are putting together long, dedicated drives that wind up eating a lot of clock before stalling out short of the goal-line. joel Reader, who helped turn around a financially challenged youth football association, has also seen the good and the bad of fundraising in his role as Western Fundraising Director for raising money? And how much? As sales begin to trickle in, be sure bRAX spirit Cups. One of the first “Make sure this information is comto create a visual meter that shows things Reader suggests is creating a municated all the way down the line,” your sales people how far they’ve fundraising game plan and finding the Reader said. come – and how far they have to go – right people to run it. You must also outline sales targets to meet your goal. “just like you plan out your league’s and opportunities such as friends, “Draw up a big thermometer, which year or your plays for your next game, families, teachers, co-workers and shows where you’re at and where you you need a game plan for your fundeven out-of-town relatives. need to be,” Reader suggested. raiser,” Reader said. His first, and most “When I took mine to work, I asked Incentives will help drive your sales important tip: select the right person my boss if it was okay if I sent out an volunteers, drawing out their competito manage your fundraiser. e-mail that said I was doing a fundtive streaks and providing a carrot for “As you know, teams succeed or raiser and what it was,” Reader said. better reaching your goal. fail by the merits of their play“Incentives help both the top ers or people,” Reader said. “If performers and drive the average BRAX spirit cups Western Fundraising you try to run a 5-3 defense performers,” Reader said. “I put director Joel Reader offers six tips for and only have two good lineup prizes of $175. The three top men, you’re going to have a individuals sold over $2,000, so effective fundraising: long year.” my profit was just over $1,700.” 1. Select Right Person to Manage The perfect quarterback Consistently monitoring Fundraiser for your fundraiser should be goals and seeking weekly 2. Set & Publish Fundraising Goals an aggressive leader, who is a updates from coaches or team 3. Document & Communicate Methods for good communicator capable representatives is critical. Reaching Goals of motivating key players “When a team is not on track 4. Use Motivational Items To Promote including youth coaches, parfor its goals, a team/parents Progress vs. Goals ents and players. meeting should be called or 5. Include Incentives in Promotion The next step is determinphone calls made to those who ing what you’re raising money are not on track to reinforce Program for, setting goals and publishhow they can reach their goals,” 6. Monitor Progress Toward Goals ing those goals. Why are we Reader said.
20 USA Football Magazine
Background checks give peace of mind
League commissioners protect players with help from USA Football & NCSI
By Alex Fink
nsuring a positive footof his league. He learned (662 red lights in 2009) ball experience for our about UsA Football’s subsidy youngsters begins with program in a coaches meetany felony a coach-player relationship ing with UsA Football Central built on trust. Recognizing Regional Manager joe Owens. any lesser crime involving force or threat of this, UsA Football continues “When we started our force against a person to be America’s only youth organization, we were any lesser crime involving controlled subsports organization that dediadamant about doing backstances, not paraphernalia or alcohol cates as much as $500,000 ground checks on everyone any lesser crime in which sexual relations is to help pay for gold-standard having contact with the an element, including “victimless” crimes of a background checks on youth players,” he said. “I sat down sexual nature and pornography football volunteers. with joe and he detailed the Established in 2007, UsA program and the ease of use Football continues to offer a $15 twocoach or volunteer is deemed suitable by the user and the league. It’s a small season gold-standard background check to interact with children. NCsI performs cost incurred by the organization that through special pricing from the National searches in two national criminal databas- gives volumes of peace of mind to both Center for safety Initiatives (NCsI) – the es as well as all state sex offender regthe parents and players. official background screening company istries. The search also includes county “We actually had a uniform supplier of the U.s. Olympic Committee. The records. Depending on the individual that was on the watchdog list. Upon normal price for this premium service is league’s preferences, NCsI can search finding out and verifying that he was a $25. UsA Football’s background check lifetime records or just a time frame for registered sex offender, we severed all subsidy is open to every youth football when certain crimes have taken place. ties with him and the company and any league in the United states. After the applicant’s report is comfuture companies he works for.” “Our league has definitely seen the plete, the individual is flagged with a Youth football background checks positive outcomes from UsA Football’s “green light” or a “red light.” If an indiconducted with UsA Football’s financial program with NCsI,” said Robert Meadvidual receives a “red light,” NCsI notifies help have resulted in more than 1,300 “red ows, commissioner of the Annandale them and allows the individual to explain lights” during the past two youth football (va.) boys & Girls Club. The AbGC operor dispute the record. Following that con- seasons. The program’s success is due ates within the Fairfax (va.) County versation, NCsI sends in large part to the simplicity of the NCsI Youth Football League which encomscreening findings to application process. They manage the passes more than 7,200 youngsters. the league, but no condata entry with a quick online survey and “The background checks allow you to fidential information is leagues are able to check the status of see what kind of individuals are volunexchanged. the application online. teering and working with our kids. We The criteria for “red “One of my favorite features is the red mark boLes have been using the background checks lights” are separated light/green light,” boles said. “Remember, for about three years now and we’ve into specific categories in the graph above. no go until you get the green light!” gotten nothing but positive feedback.” President and Co-Founder of south Visit usafootball.com to employ USA The purpose of the background checks County (Mo.) Athletic Club Mark boles Football’s subsidized background check are to help youth leagues determine if a made sure background checks were part program today.
“Red lights” BY cAtegoRY
47% 27% 19% 4%
Youth leagues capitalize on usA Football state Forums
By Alex Fink
22 USA Football Magazine
Photo Courtesy of Pro football hall of fame
UsA Football state Leadership Forums bring youth football leaders together to discuss the game and identify solutions to challenges shared in common. In 2010, UsA Football will conduct 38 state forums throughout 28 states to cultivate an environment where top youth football minds can exchange ideas on how to further strengthen their leagues and the sport in general. Elmo Le beouf III, president of the Dutchtown (La.) Youth Football League for the past nine years, has seen firsthand what benefits can sprout from UsA Football’s state forums. “before the state forums, I often thought that I was the only one working through the different problems that arose during my time as league president,” said Le beouf, a UsA Football Commissioner member. “Listening to other commissioners discuss these same problems I was having, I now have a better understanding on how to improve my league and how to deal with certain problems that can arise in the future.” Led by the UsA Football regional managers, each of whom is experienced as a current or former coach, player or football administrator; UsA Football’s state forums cover an array of topics pertinent to leagues regardless of size or location. Discussions range from coaching and officiating education, player health and safety, marketing a league to grow participation, organizational structure, a youth football-specific rulebook, access to UsA Football equipment grants, fundraising guidance, and more.
These topics and others are central to these full-day league commissioner meetings. “The state forum helped my league establish guidelines for our coaches,” explained john Palumbo, Coaching Commissioner of the Moriches (N.Y.) seahawks. “The forum also helped us create a better connection between ourselves and the local high school program. There is a lot of information on how other leagues are improving themselves so it’s important to attend if you want to improve your program.” The networking aspect of the state Forums is invaluable as attendees remain in contact with one another to ensure that youth football continues to strengthen its roots. “Most of the time, we don’t have to reinvent the wheel in order to have a successful football program,” eLmo Le beouf Le beouf said. “The forums allow you to exchange information with all of your fellow commissioners and stay in touch throughout the entire year. It’s important to take advantage of the previous experiences of other administrators. Most of the time the solutions to my problems have been right in front of me through the people I have met at the forums.” If your league has not participated in a state forum, but would like to, contact your UsA Football Regional Manager (pg. 19). Visit usafootball.com and roll to the green “Commissioners” tab for more resources to best serve your league.
health & fitness
state Forum delegates selected for canton
For the third consecutive year, one youth league commissioner from each of UsA Football’s 38 state Leadership Forums will be selected to participate in the NFL/ UsA Football Youth Football summit in Canton, Ohio, this july. The NFL/UsA Football Youth summit assembles nearly 200 youth and high school coaches from all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Youth league commissioners and former NFL players now coaching at the high school level also take part. Included in the two-day summit agenda is a UsA Football National Forum comprised of one delegate from all 38 state forums. NFL/UsA Football Youth summit discussion topics include character development, league operations, the NFL’s ATLAs & ATHENA Anti-steroid Education Program, UsA Football’s CDC-approved concussion awareness information, role-playing demonstrations regarding coach-playerparent relationships, and more. since 2007, more than 1,000 youth league commissioners have attended a UsA Football state Leadership Forum. Don’t be left behind – contact your UsA Football Regional Manager (pg. 19) to join them in 2010. – steve Alic
usA Football’s grants Program strengthens the sport in 40-plus states
By Alex Fink UsA Football has awarded $1 million for the 3.0 million youngsters participat- football community since 2006 and is worth of helmets, shoulder pads, uniing in America’s favorite sport. responsible for awarding more than forms, and more this winter through its “We received 25 helmets and we $2 million worth of football equipment Grants Program, benefiting more than play in the Arizona Competitive Youth provided by Riddell and Under Armour. 800 youth and high school football Football League – competitive league As football participation numbers programs in 44 states based on merit football where you have to furnish continue to grow, UsA Football hopes and need. the equipment grants UsA Football awards continue to empower its equipment grants youth leagues and prowith the help of the NFL vide them with the necYouth Football Fund, a essary tools they need non-profit foundation to ensure our children’s created by the NFL and safety. NFL Players Association “In a small town like in 1998. Reidsville, we have kids “This equipment gives that participate in our us an opportunity to programs that depend on expand our program to us to provide them with younger children and something positive to get them move involved do,” said Dale Hagwood, in football,” said Lanelle Program supervisor of Ramey, Northwest Area Reidsville (N.C.) Recrethe goodpasture christian school’s 5th & 6th grade football team in Madison, Director of the boys & ation. “Our resources are tenn. (near Nashville), was one of 800 youth and school-based football programs Girls Clubs of Greater limited and the grant we in 44 states that benefitted from usA Football’s grants Program this winter. usA Milwaukee (Wis.) Tackle Football’s equipment grants are awarded on a merit and need basis. receive from UsA Football Football. “It helps us begoes a long way toward cause it reduces expenses for equipyour own equipment,” said kenny king, us being able to offer the youth in our ment that we would not otherwise Organization Leader of the Chandler town with high quality equipment to be able to afford during these tough (Ariz.) kings Youth Football Organization. play football. economic times.” “We’ve done fundraisers throughout “It is very important to the success of Each league selected for an equipevery year, but always fell short in getour program.” ment grant receives a $1,000 package ting supplies. This grant really helped us Apply for a 2010 USA Football grant that offers a variety of football equiptake our program to the next level as far by registering for an e-reminder today ment and uniform options to choose as having new and safer equipment and and you’ll be notified when the online from. High schools receive similar packit really helped our program.” application is open. USA Football’s 2010 ages valued at $1,500. UsA Football’s grant program has grant application will be available on New equipment makes football safer assisted the youth and high school www.usafootball.com this spring.
Photo by joel grimes
USA Football’s LeMonnier referees Fiesta Bowl
By Alex Fink
SA Football Rules Editor and Officiating Consultant Bill LeMonnier earned another Bowl Championship Series assignment this year when he was selected to referee the 39th Tostitos Fiesta Bowl between Boise State and TCU on Jan. 4, televised nationally on FOX-TV. The 2010 Fiesta Bowl is LeMonnier’s 12th college bowl assignment in the past 15 seasons. His postseason resume now includes four Fiesta Bowls, two Orange, two Holiday, and a Cotton, among others. A Big Ten referee since 1995, LeMonnier is USA Football’s primary officiating consultant and is the rules editor of USA Football’s Bill LeMonnier Youth Football Rule Book. Boise State (14-0) defeated TCU innovative Certified Officiating Educa(12-1), 17-10, in Glendale, Ariz., for this tion Program (COEP), accessible to USA year’s Fiesta Bowl crown. Football officiating members through “Being selected to work the Fiesta usafootball.com. The Chicago-area Bowl was extremely special to me – it resident also contributes to usafootwas the site of my first bowl assignment back in 1997,” said LeMonnier, who has co-authored the NCAA Football Officiating Test for each of the past eight years. “This was my fourth Fiesta Bowl, and I had the honor of being part of the Boise State-Oklahoma game three years ago.” A Big Ten referee since 1995, LeMonnier oversees USA Football’s
ball.com’s “Ask the Expert” feature, answering questions from USA Football members on an array of topics. LeMonnier is also USA Football’s primary officiating consultant and is the rules editor of USA Football’s Youth Football Rulebook. “This will be an exciting year working as the rules editor for the USA Football Youth Football Rulebook, LeMonnier said. “The rules committee members have been a pleasure to work with and we look forward to making youth football the safest and most exciting place for kids to play sports.” “The USA Football Family congratulates Bill on yet another BCS Bowl refereeing assignment,” said USA Football Executive Director Scott Hallenbeck. “Bill’s long list of officiating accomplishments and integrity underscores that USA Football officiating members hone their craft with guidance from the best in the field. We encourage football-savvy people to consider becoming game officials. Bill and others at USA Football can help you succeed and provide an exciting way to contribute to America’s favorite sport.” LeMonnier also will serve as the referee for USA Football’s “Team USA vs. The World” game, presented by Riddell, in Ft. Lauderdale on Jan. 30 (see pages 6-9).
health & fitness
24 USA Football Magazine
Meet a USA Football Member
By Alex Fink My favorite officiating memory, believe it or not, is the first set of games I did as an official. I blew a backwards pass call by calling the play dead. The defense picked it up and ran it in for a TD and that team lost by six points. I went up to the head coach and apologized for my mistake after the game and admitted that I had blown it. He respected me for my honesty and we became football friends for years to come.
he USA Football Family unites all those who contribute to America’s favorite sport. USA Football Officiating Member Donnie Stitt has called youth football games in Fairfax County (Va.) for more than 17 years and also has experience officiating flag football, basketball and softball. Stitt, a member of USA Football’s Rules Committee, recently spoke with USA Football Magazine to discuss his officiating passion and the value of being a USA Football member.
What interested you in becoming a youth football official? I became a youth official out of necessity. I was a coach in our youth league when the commissioner approached me and wanted to know if I would like to be an official. This was due to the fact that the number of teams had increased and we had to cover additional fields. We ended up with 12 new officials and the Fairfax County Football Officials Association was started in the early ’90s. I’ve been officiating ever since.
Name: Donnie Stitt Resides: Vienna, Va. USA Football Membership: Official Position: Referee & Commissioner, Fairfax County Football Officials Association Game Official Since: 1992 USA Football Member Since: 2006
How did you learn about USA Football? I learned about USA Football after they requested that several of our crews attend their youth tournament in Minnesota several years ago (2006 USA Football Classic). I attended this event for two years and had a great officiating and learning experience.
What do you value most about being an official? Trying to do my best to allow all participants of a youth football game to have a fair and enjoyable experience during their time on the field. What is the toughest call to make as an official? The toughest call for me to make is offensive holding. What is your favorite football memory? My favorite football memory is John Riggins pulling away on 4th and short against Miami for a TD and a Redskins Super Bowl victory (Super Bowl XVII, Jan. 1983).
How have you benefited from USA Football’s officiating membership? I have benefited from the officiating section on their website. I love the information and articles and I now require all of my officials to pass their certification tests (Certified Officiating Education Program) before they can become officials in our association. I believe this reinforces our veteran officials and gives our first-year officials a great introduction to becoming a good referee. What would you say to someone considering becoming an official? It is very important to have fun out there while working games. If you’re too nervous or tense it can become stressful. Visit usafootball.com/register to learn more about USA Football’s officiating membership.
26 USA Football Magazine
What Football Taught Me
Bill Hemmer, FOX News Channel Co-Anchor, “America’s Newsroom”
As Told To sTeve Alic
Whether his position is news co-anchor, running back, or strong safety, Bill Hemmer excels in the spotlight and values gained through football contribute to his success. The co-anchor of “America’s Newsroom” on the FOX News Channel (Mon.Fri., 9-11 a.m. ET) grew up on Cincinnati’s west side. One of five children, his parents celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary in later this year. His father, William Hemmer, Sr., played college football and later worked full-time to support his family, but still managed to help coach his sons’ youth football teams. Hemmer’s brother, Andy, played linebacker at Boston College and was a teammate of Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Doug Flutie. A former youth and high school football player, Hemmer is a life-long Cincinnati Bengals fan. He still owns an oversized Bengals “foam finger” from 1981 when the team earned its first Super Bowl berth. “America’s Newsroom” is the country’s ninth-most watched cable news program as of Oct. 2009. Hemmer’s work contributes to the fact that the FOX News Channel is the most watched cable news channel and is on track to have its best year ever in the network’s history. Hemmer recently spoke with USA Football to share what football taught him.
was raised in a family where football was around us since as far back as I can remember. I still have pictures of me holding a ball in my third-grade team photo at Our Lady of Victory grade school on Cincinnati’s west side. I figure I was a pretty typical kid. At Our Lady of Victory, I was given a jersey number and emulated NFL players who I shared it with. I distinctly remember wearing No. 44 one season, so I became a fan of Browns running back Leroy Kelly. My brother was given No. 72, so he pretended to be Howard Fest, a Bengals offensive guard. Football taught me dedication, discipline, teamwork, training in the off-season so that you’re prepared – you experience all of that when you play on a team. And because this game has Bill Hemmer physical demands, it’s a greater test. You have to love the game if you’re going to play it well. It demands more of you. Football teaches you how to be a team player. We’ve got a team in “America’s Newsroom” of 12 people. We are nothing without each other. We need to work in symphony to pull off the broadcast and I liken this to football. We all have our responsibility. And when you uphold that responsibility, you do well – it’s amazing what you can accomplish. Also, when I’ve been overseas covering our troops in Iraq or Afghanistan – I can’t say this for all of the men and women – but there’s usually an allegiance to their football team. The sport can bring people together whether you cheer for the same team or not. It’s what you have in common. I played practically every position in youth football, except quarterback. In high school, I played strong safety. I attended (Cincinnati) Elder High School, which is steeped in tradition. When I reflect on my football experience there, I remember the spirit of competition and how the sport united generations of Elder families. I think the school, like the sport, reflects a certain community, which is only as
good as those who are willing to sacrifice for it. One year in high school, I quit football for a day or two … my dad often allowed us to step in our own pile. “Are you sure that you want to do that – are you sure that you want to quit?” he asked. That was the nudge that I was looking for and my boycott lasted about 36 hours. I’m grateful that he encouraged me to change my mind. I could’ve played Division III college football, but it would’ve been tough for me financially (Editor’s Note: athletic scholarships are not granted in Division III athletics. Hemmer went on to earn a journalism degree from Miami University of Ohio). On Sunday afternoons, I’ll still find myself watching football. And I’ll always be a Bengals fan. When the Bengals went to their second Super Bowl (Jan. 1989), I was a young sports producer at Cincinnati’s WLWT-TV (NBC). We had six people in our department and five got to work on-site in Miami. I was the one assigned to stay back, but it actually turned out to be a good break. Being the only sports staffer in the building, I was needed to do live work on camera. Well, that led to a full-time job on-air, so I have football and the Bengals to thank for that opportunity. Yes, I’m a Bengals fan, but I’m a football fan to the core. My high school airs all of its football games on the internet and I log on to watch whenever I can. Earlier this year (Sept. 6), we – I still say “we” when talking about Elder – were on ESPN. I was at a wedding in Hamburg, Germany, when the game was on the air. The next day I rented a bicycle, riding to about 10 of the best hotels in the city hoping to catch some of the game, but I was 0-for-10. But I was there in spirit. (Editor’s Note: Elder defeated Colerain High School on ESPN, 20-7). Some people talk about music, movies, or other pastimes being “soundtracks” of their youth. Football fits that role for our family … it’s always been there.
28 USA Football Magazine
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