By Dan Guttenplan, FNF Coaches Managing Editor
FNF Coaches had a big presence at the 2017 USA Football National Conference on Jan. 27 to 29 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Fla.
FNF Coaches editors, writers, videographers and sales staff had a chance to meet face-to-face with some of the 1,300-plus high school football coaches and administrators in attendance for the fourth annual USA Football Conference.
Here are five of our takeaways from the USA Football National Conference.
- The event was organized and well-run. The itinerary for the weekend read like a list of departures at a major airport with every minute accounted for with high-profile speakers, presentations by coaches and vendors, and prepared meals. Congratulations to USA Football for putting on a fun event.
- The vendors fit well with the theme of educating coaches. Many of the vendors, headlined by Frog Fitness, brought new technology to the event and demonstrated how these products will help high school coaches. The technology, equipment and apparel was all state of the art.
- The speakers offered valuable insight. For coaches interested in learning how to win, USA Football offered Super Bowl winning coaches like Mike Martz, Brian Billick and Jon Gruden. For coaches who wanted to get inside the heads of prolific players, USA Football offered Ray Lewis and Jerome Bettis.
- High school coaches came in droves. USA Football brought in more than 250 of the top coaches in the country, including the finalists for the Don Shula NFL High School Coach of the Year. Highland Park (Texas) coach Randy Allen won the top honor.
- Coaches love to share ideas. Coaches appeared to make the most of the time together, networking and trading ideas on scheme and team-building. FNF Coaches was able to conduct interviews with nearly 20 coaches throughout the weekend, some as high profile as 2013 Don Shula NFL High School Coach of the Year Steve Specht (St. Xavier, Ohio).