Killingly Football's Chad Neal pays respect to long-time assistant.
By James Thomson, NFP Brands
October 7th, 2020
Even though National Coaches Day was yesterday, the CHSCA Coaches Appreciation Week continues. We tapped Killingly Football's Chad Neal to contribute to the conversation. Coach Neal has certainly paid his coaching dues and has transformed the Killingly Football program into an annual contender. One of the keys to his success is building a great coaching staff. He shares his thoughts on one of his loyal assistant’s, Matt Sumner.
“Matt has been a loyal assistant for the past 15 years for me at Killingly High School. As a fellow teacher in the high school, he has always been an excellent teacher in the classroom and on the field. His quiet demeanor coupled with his knowledge and ability to transfer it has been a tremendous asset to the Killingly community.
As a Killingly resident, with two children in the high school, and a 3rd joining in 2 years, he has dedicated his time volunteering to coach youth football, basketball, and baseball on top of coaching high school football. He has never been one to want the spotlight, he is always humble, and puts kids and the team first!”
For more inspiring stories about coaches that have had an impact on coaches throughout Connecticut that have had an impact, visit: http://www.nfpsportsconnecticut.com/blog.To share your story, visit https://bit.ly/CelebrateCoach2020
Stafford Co-op Football's Brian Mazzone shares how one coach helped pave the way for his coaching philosophy.
Stafford Co-op Football’s Brian Mazzone shares how one coach helped pave the way for his coaching philosophy.
By James Thomson, NFP Brands
October 6, 2020
Stafford Co-op Football’s Brian Mazzone knows a thing or two about building a strong team culture. Since taking over the Stafford Co-op Football Program in 2015, which is made up of players from host school Stafford H.S., Somers H.S. and East Windsor H.S., Mazzone has turned them into a winner. More impressively, he has established a culture to be emulated. In continuation of the Connecticut High School Coaches Association Coaches Appreciation Week, we could not think of a better person to share his thoughts on the subject of the impact of great coaches on their players. He credits much of what he has accomplished to those he played for and coached under. One of them is long-time Enfield H.S. football coach Jim “Papa Bear” Lyver.
“Papa Bear is the first person outside of my family to ever tell me that he loved me. For a high school kid who didn’t say that often it resonated. He attended my first game in college and stayed the whole time and I never left the sideline.
I went through periods of time where I hated him when I was a lazy, entitled sophomore and I didn’t get it and wasn’t reaching my potential. He poked and pushed it and I hated it so much. At times I wanted to quit. However, eventually I got it and I got what he was doing. It paid off at the end of my sophomore year and the trust was built.
For the next two years I loved playing for Coach. I knew I could count on him, but more importantly he knew he could count on me. He is one of the most caring people that I know and he’s always checked in on my the rest of my life. I’ve heard from him when I had children, he was right there when my parents died, he is the true definition of a coach. His impact didn’t end after four years of football.
I’d like to think I do a lot of the same things with my players that he did with me. The impact continues.”
For more inspiring stories about coaches that have had an impact on coaches throughout Connecticut that have had an impact, visit: http://www.nfpsportsconnecticut.com/blog . To share your story, visit https://bit.ly/CelebrateCoach2020
Dan Orlvovsky shares appreciation for legendary high school coach in advance of National Coaches Day
Dan Orlovsky shares appreciation for legendary high school coach in advance of National Coaches Day.
By James Thomson, NFP Brands
October 5, 2020
This Tuesday, October 6th is National Coaches Day. It is a day when we all get to share our appreciation for the coaches that have contributed to our lives. This year, The Connecticut High School Coaches Association, in partnership with NFP Sports has launched its Coaches Appreciation Week to celebrate the occasion.
Who better to kick off the week than Connecticut’s own, Dan Orlovsky? Not only is Orlovsky the University of Connecticut’s most notable quarterback in program history, but he also spent 13 seasons in the NFL and is currently a leading football analyst for ESPN with thousands of fans tuning in to listen to his football wisdom each and every week. It all started for Orlovsky at Shelton High School, playing for Hall of Fame High School Coach, Joseph Benanto. He recently shared what Coach Benanto meant to him and how it set him up for the success he has experienced later in life.
“Joe Benanto was such a great coach because he took me, a young kid who had big dreams, where I wanted to go. Coach Benanto was my coach from the age of 13-17, so I knew exactly where I wanted to go, to play college football and beyond, but I had very little idea of how to get there. Coach taught me; he didn't coach me! It was never, "Danny do this because I said so or do this because it will work". There was always a ‘why’ to the ‘what.’ He always gave me "why's" as to the reason we would do things. "Danny do this with your fundamentals because it will help you be in balance more" or "Danny do this with your drop because it will help you get the ball out faster". He was the first coach that really taught me about the mental game of football. The intellect part of football and how preparation off tape could make me a better player and why that was important. I always say there are a ton of good coaches that tell their players "this is the way we do things and our standard or expectation level"-those good coaches just expect all their players to get to that level.
Coach had the same expectation level and standard but realized many of us; myself included, were different and we needed different tools to get to the same spot. I needed a coach who could teach and challenge and push and demand. I needed a coach that was ok trusting his players with ownership of HIS team. Coach didn't have an ego-he wanted me to take ownership of my game and HIS team. He gave me the confidence to do that, the power to do that. He taught me what leadership looked like, on a daily basis-through the good and the bad. The easy and the hard. The wins and the losses.
Simply put Coach Benanto was the first person outside my father who saw me 10-15 years down the road and equipped me with everything I needed to get to that vision. One of the 10 most instrumental and impactful people of my life, and I'm forever thankful and grateful for him!”
For more stories throughout CHSCA Coaches Appreciation Week, powered by NFP Sports, visit: http://www.nfpsportsconnecticut.com/blog. To share your story, go to: https://bit.ly/CelebrateCoach2020