The Buffalo Bills Fieldhouse played host to the 10th Annual WNY Amateur Football Alliance Coaching Academy on Saturday, April 9th. A record number 250 youth football coaches participated in the annual event held to provide them with up-to-date coaching, training, equipment/safety and rules information.
Daryl Daye, Bills assistant to the head coach, opened the Academy detailing his road to the NFL and sharing coaching tips that he has picked up throughout his career.
Daye owns 24 years of collegiate coaching experience and before the Bills he spent four years (2006-09) at Missouri Southern State as the school's defensive coordinator, special teams and linebackers coach. Prior to Missouri Southern, Daye served as special teams coach for Southern University, was head coach at Nicholls State, and held assistant coach and defensive coordinator positions at Liberty University under former Cleveland Browns and two-time NFL Coach of the Year Sam Rutigliano. Before coaching at Liberty, Daye was a member of Southern Mississippi's coaching staff when Brett Favre was the school's quarterback. Daye's coaching career began at Louisiana State in 1986, where he worked under and also played for Bill Arnsparger, "the architect of the Miami Dolphins' No-Name Defense" in the early 1970's. He then coached for two years at LSU under Mike Archer.
"Daryl did a great job," said Tim Jerome, Western New York Amateur Football Alliance president. "I know it's tough for a professional coach to step down and teach youth coaches, because it's very different. I know everyone really enjoyed him."
Following Daye, Jerome spoke to the youth football coaches about coaching techniques, safety and provided a general overview of coaching tips.
"We strongly believe in training our coaches," said Jerome."We want them to be very strongly aware of their responsibility to the young kids that are coming out for them. We stress to them that they are teachers, not coaches, and try to give them the basic fundamentals they need to be a good teacher and teach the sport of football."
Jennifer Achman, Iroquois High School athletic trainer, also attended and talked about her career in athletic training and ways to protect young athletes. She spoke about proper equipment and the way to wear a helmet, and discussed the importance of water breaks in order to keep athletes from dehydrating.
Paul Trzybinski of the NYS Association of Football Officials also broke down the new rule book for 2011.
While attendees were treated to a great lunch they even watched safety videos during their break. After lunch, the youth football coaches were divided into stations and rotated around the Bills Fieldhouse for 15 minute sessions with each of the high school coaches below:
• Ken Stoldt, Alden HS Football Coach
• Brian Wilson, Depew HS Football Coach
• Tom Goddard, Clarence HS Football Coach
• Len Jankiewicz, Lancaster HS Football Coach
• Mike McFadden, Hamburg HS Football Coach
• Kraig Kurzanski, Williamsville South HS Football Coach
• Glen Graham, Cleveland Hill HS Football Coach
Each high school coach taught proper form for defensive and offensive lineman, quarterback, running backs, receivers, linebackers and defensive backs. Each high school coach also taught the youth coaches different tips and drills that they run their teams through on a daily basis.
Jerome was impressed with the volunteers and feels strongly about their mission to ultimately help the kids.
"I have been involved with it (Coaching Academy) for many years," said Jerome. "We want to make sure that children are being rewarded as far as their sports participation, whatever the shape of the ball may be. We want to make sure they are being taught properly and having a rewarding experience. That's what it's all about."