FNF Coaches Talk

FNF Coaches Talk — New Edition of FNF Live, Viral Video of Bad OL Rep, Parkland Coach Grieves

Happy Friday, Coaches. We’ve got a few topics for you to think about this weekend.

1. The new edition of FNF Coaches Magazine is available online (FNF Coaches)

Our February edition of FNF Coaches recognizes a Coach of the Year in each of the 50 states.

Selecting one state champion coach in each state proved to be a difficult task for our editorial staff with so many deserving coaches across the country.

Our criteria for consideration included all state champion coaches in 2019. We looked for coaches that led teams to championships for the first time in school history, coaches who led championship runs as underdogs, coaches who helped players overcome adversity, and coaches who made tough decisions in the biggest moments to help their teams break through.

We couldn’t be more proud of our 2019 FNF Coaches of the Year. Congratulations to all who won and all other state champion coaches who were considered.

What criteria would you have used to select a Coach of the Year from each of the 50 states?

2. Video of a bad OL rep at the Rivals Camp Series goes viral (Go Get It Youth Football Training)

There has been much discussion about this viral video of an offensive lineman completing a rep at the Rivals Camp Series. The initial reaction of this social media director for Go Get It Youth Football Training was to celebrate a block that is both dangerous and illegal.

Plenty of football experts weighed in.

How can we do a better job of teaching proper technique at these showcase events?

3. ‘How do you get over it?’ Football, grief and hope two years after Parkland (ESPN)

This is one of the best stories we’ve read in 2020, albeit also one of the saddest.

Two years after a mass shooting at Stoneman Douglas left 17 people dead, including his two best friends — assistant coach Aaron Feis and athletic director and wrestling coach Chris Hixon. Willie May, the Stoneman Douglas head football coach at the time, is still working to put his own grief aside.

He remained at Stoneman Douglas to coach his devastated players through the 2018 season. Last spring, May made the heart-wrenching decision to leave Parkland, Florida, and move west across I-75 to coach at South Fort Myers High School. When he arrived, he found a program and players who needed him just as much as he needed them.

May wants to coach football, the way he has for more than 20 years, but he is now a mass shooting survivor, and with that comes complex, dueling emotions that are hard to accept, let alone understand. He needs to move forward, but moving forward feels selfish because 17 others cannot. He wants to turn South Fort Myers into a state champion, but he needs his experience coaching Stoneman Douglas to help. His new life does not exist without his old life, so he forces himself to remember when there are days he would rather forget.
Says May: “How do you get over it?”

May was hosting college recruiters on Feb. 14, 2018, when a former student walked onto the Stoneman Douglas campus with a semi-automatic rifle and opened fire. May heard someone mention the sound of firecrackers on his walkie-talkie before the school went on lockdown. May locked everyone inside his office and sent a text message to Feis, a school security guard, assistant football coach and his best friend.

On the very same Friday this December, both Stoneman Douglas and South Fort Myers lost their playoff games, but that didn’t outweigh their accomplishments.

After the season, May moved on to his next priority: getting his players recruited. He has worked hard to emphasize academics and the SAT. No grades and no test score would mean no scholarship possibilities. Since his arrival, nearly every player has made significant academic gains, and several received offers they did not have previously.

“You asked me if I was happy,” May says. “I’m happy. There’s a lot of potential, and I love coming to work because we’re getting better. I’m getting better.
“I’m healing, having this to work on. It allows me to set my mind on something that needs me. I’ve got things I want to accomplish here, people to make proud here, to do right by here.”

How have you helped your players or coaches deal with tragic situations?

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

About the author

Dan Guttenplan