FNF Coaches Talk — California players help the homeless, Oregon assistant recognized as hero, Baylor coach uses social media to excite fanbase

Welcome back, Coaches! This will be the final FNF Coaches Talk post of 2019. We wish you a happy holiday season and we look forward to getting back to business in 2020! We’ve got three holiday-themed stories for you.

1. California football players team up to help homeless people with hygiene kits (Los Angeles Times)

This is a great season leading into Christmas — one we should all look to replicate in our own communities.

Roybal (Calif.) football coach Michael Galvan believes his job is more than about teaching X’s and O’s.

“Like any coach, I believe my role is to give student athletes the ability to be champions on and off the field,” he said.

That’s why he helped organize a holiday community service project that saw players, cheerleaders and A.S.B. members team up to create a hygiene kit drive.

They put together more than 150 hygiene kits to deliver to P.A.T.H. (People Assisting the Homeless). The kits include toothpaste, shampoo, razors, shaving cream and feminine hygiene products.

It’s an example of a football team giving the homeless the greatest gift it can give — dignity.

What have you done this holiday season to give back to the less fortunate?

2. Oregon assistant coach recognized by Time as hero of 2019 (Time)

Many of you probably heard this story early in the school year. It’s back in the news because Parkrose High (Ore.) coach Keanon Lowe has been named one of Time’s Heroes of 2019.

The entire article will leave you feeling optimistic about the state of society, so we encourage you to read the whole thing. Lowe’s story has been well documented in high school football circles.

When a distressed student appeared before him, armed with a shotgun, Lowe had no time to think. The football and track coach lunged for the firearm, as students knocked over desks in panic.

“It was a very surreal moment,” Lowe says, “all the kids screaming for their lives.” After a tug-of-war that seemed to last forever, Lowe, 27, wrestled the gun out of the student’s grasp. Then, in an unexpected move, he pulled the student in for a hug. “I didn’t see an evil kid,” Lowe says. “I saw a kid that was going through a lot.”

While Granados-Diaz resisted the embrace at first and tried shoving Lowe away, the coach’s comforting words soon softened him.

“I told him that I cared about him and that I was there for him and I was there to save him,” Lowe says. “He was surprised that I had said that. He said, ‘You do?’ and looked me right in my face. I said, ‘Yes, I do.’ He gave in to the hug, and that made a huge difference.”

For his bravery and kindness, Lowe was awarded a civilian medal of heroism from Portland’s police chief, and the city’s mayor declared May 29 to be “Coach Keanon Lowe Day of Recognition.” The accolades have been humbling and overwhelming, says Lowe, who played football at the University of Oregon.

“This was just one moment in my life that’s not going to define me,” he adds. “And it’s not going to define Angel as well.”

3. How the Baylor coaching staff used social media to generate excitement for 2020 (Fort Worth Star-Telegram)

Unlike college coaches, high school coaches don’t share news of their next recruiting class on social media. However, they do share important team news and try to drum up excitement within their fan bases.

Don’t be afraid to steal this idea for announcing big news from the Baylor football coaching staff.

Baylor football announced its entire 2019 signing class online via puppet shows. The short videos, all about 30 seconds and all set to music, became a point of viral curiosity since they went online beginning Wednesday.

Think about it, Coaches. It’s an idea you can steal from a college coach that doesn’t require a huge budget.

Per a Baylor spokesperson, the football program employs three people who handle social media content, etc. The trio of Addison Skaggs, Pat Clancy and Jordan Burgess were tasked to come up with some creative, and different, way to tell a story on national signing day.

Here’s an example of how it looked.

Matt Rhule’s puppet signing day Twitter video has more than 150,000 views. The Twitter video of puppet Taye Mcwilliams has nearly 90,000 views.

How do you use social media in a creative way to drum up interest in your program?

What’s driving the conversation in your locker room? Email Managing Editor Dan Guttenplan or Tweet us @fnfcoaches. Don’t forget to use that hashtag #FNFCoachesTalk