Manchester Head Coach Tom Hall (Photo: Sheridan King/recruit804)
The newly formed CFBCA will give Virginia HS Football coaches a united voice
by Andy Hilton, recruit757
COVID-19 has sparked a lot of concern, but it’s also sparking innovation.
According to several of the coaches involved, the formation of a new football coaches association for Virginia is the new idea that is needed.
State Champion head coach Ricky Irby of Hopewell stated it plainly: “It’s been a long time coming. It’s something that we’ve discussed for a while now. We hope to have a voice so that we can advocate for our kids in the decisions made by the VHSL.”
Current concerns for high school coaches around the state include the changing and sometimes contradictory guidelines related to Coronavirus that have been issued by various governing bodies including the NFHS, VHSL, and the state and federal government.
The coaches obviously want the best for their athletes. With the schools shutdown and organized sports off limits, concerns have been growing about returning to school in the fall. By now, off-season weight training would be done, the NCAA spring evaluation period would almost be finished, 7-on-7 season would be in full swing, and we would be on the cusp of college one-day camp season.
To date, high school coaches have been completely at the mercy of what comes down from these organizations without having a say in the decisions that are being made.
“In the midst of this pandemic, we’ve seen how it’s affected high school sports,” said Oscar Smith head coach Chris Scott. “We’re worried about what’s going on yet we’re trying to maintain some order in our programs without the knowledge of what’s next. We’re looking to maintain order, direction and focus. Coach (Brad) Bradley and I were knocking around a lot of ideas. A lot of what he presented were things that I had been knocking around for a long time with other guys. We want to be sure that coaches have a voice and that we can work hand-in-hand with the VHSL. We want a voice at the table so that we can help them complete their mission and we can complete ours.”
Coach Scott explained that Coach Bradley (of Heritage HS Lynchburg) connected Scott with Manchester Head Coach Tom Hall. According to Scott, Coach Hall “took the bull by the horns” and gathered together people from all regions to “serve the VHSL” with a voice from the football community.
“There’s so much to be considered. (We want to) express what we’re willing to do; what we’re able to do and make sure that we’re transparent with the VHSL,” Scott said. “If you look at Georgia, Texas… some of these other states have some really great associations who work to make sure that the best (policies are) given for their sport. We obviously compete against each other and that competition is what makes our state so great (for football), but we should also work together on the common goals for our sport. That can only help. If we’re up against new ways of tackling or up against this virus, what can we do so that we’re all working along the same guidelines in order to better our sport?”
— Commonwealth Football Coaches Association (@CFBCA20) May 26, 2020
Byron Jones of recruit804 contacted Tom Hall and got a very direct answer on the goal that the CFBCA has established. “It’s time for every football coach in Virginia to have a unified word on the processes of the game we love,” the coach said.
Lynchburg’s News and Advance grabbed a quote from VHSL Executive Director Tom Dolan on Tuesday.
““We have been made aware that a group of coaches are forming an association. We welcome input from our football coaches, and all coaches, since they are on the front lines working with students,” VHSL Associate Director Tom Dolan said in an email. “We have been working hard to involve coaches more in the VHSL and to seek their advice. We see this new association as coaches who love the game and have a deep interest in what’s best for the students they coach. We look forward to working with them.”
The VHSL exists to work with coaches and administrators to set policy and make decisions on athletics and activities at public schools in the commonwealth. There are other sport specific coaches advisory groups that are already established and the VHSL works directly with them.
Coach Scott explained that the CFBCA would set up an executive board where each region of the state would have multiple representatives. For the 757, Coach Scott would represent the region along with Ocean Lakes head coach Joe Jones and Lafayette head coach Andy Linn. Scott added that responsibilities would rotate and that representation would rotate in effort to have all interests and voices represented.
While delaying football activities has been necessary to ensure the health of our student-athletes, the pause has also concerned coaches. Their athletes need to continually train for their sport and not every student has access to the same resources. Additionally, with some states opening earlier while others still question the viability of a fall football season, there’s been talk among juniors and seniors that a transfer out-of-state might guarantee them the opportunity to play this fall. It might sound like an overreaction, but when one football season can make or break a student-athlete’s scholarship opportunities, it’s a legitimate concern.
“We have to maintain direction and focus. We don’t want people getting all riled up with things that aren’t necessarily realistic or true. This allows us to work together on a common goal and get athletes and parents the information they need,” Scott stated. “We want to be sure that when we return that we’re adhering to all guidelines. When you get all the coaches in the state together, we’re unified for the good of the sport and the safety of the game.”
Coaches across the state are excited about the formation of the new coach’s association.
Jared Van Acker, Head Coach at W.T. Woodson: “This is something that’s been talked about and wanted for many years. I’ve been coaching in the state for 15 years and for the last 15 years there’s been talk of wanting to do this. Maybe it took COVID-19 to join together. This is one of the special things…we can bring our state together as football coaches. In the years, I’ve been here, it’s always been splintered. We have regions and everybody has looked out for their own region. Now, having 77 plus coaches after talking about it on a Zoom meeting 48 hours prior, it’s pretty special. This group is represented by coaches from all across the state at different levels.”
Billy Mills, Head Coach at Dinwiddie: “This has been coming for some time now. Every year Coach (Loren) Johnson and I would see each other at the Touchdown Club (of Richmond) and we’d say ‘Let’s get this going’. It’s great to see how Coach Bradley, Coach Jamie Harless (Lord Botetourt), Coach (Jeff) Woody at E.C. Glass have gotten behind this. It’s something that the whole state has wanted. We want good things to happen. We just don’t want something dropped on us without input.”
Tynan Rolander, new Head Coach at South County: “The establishment of a state-wide coaches association is a huge step forward for the game of football and sports in general across the state. Having a unified voice for the sport will be extremely influential in determining the decisions about what will happen to our sport and ultimately the communities in which we coach.”
Troy Taylor, Head Coach at L.C. Bird: “I am very Excited about the starting of a statewide football coaches association. We are advocating for the game of football in the state of Virginia. We all love the game, players, and our state. We know the state of Virginia has some of the best players and coaches in the country and we want to be unified. When coaches like Chris Scott from Oscar Smith, Patrick Kane former head coach at Hermitage, Billy Mills from Dinwiddie, and Brad Bradley from Heritage are a part of something, you know it is legit. In less than 48 hours the Twitter @CFBCA20 had 600 followers. From the 757, NOVA, 804, Roanoke, Southside of Virginia, and Southwest Virginia, there has been a tremendous response from coaches and the media. It’s pretty impressive.”
Mickey Thompson, Head Coach at Stone Bridge: “I feel like this new association will give us the opportunity to work ‘with’ the VHSL to make our sport better. This will give us the ability to have influence in the decisions made concerning football and allow the focus to be on one agenda.”
Kevin Tucker, Head Coach at Thomas Dale: “”The coaches of central Virginia, Northern Virginia, Southwest and the beach have all decided to come together and support our great sport of football. We want to have a unified voice in helping keep the great sport of football alive and well. Our hope is that this association will help our athletes excel both on and off the field and ensure our coaches have the proper support and education to keep the game we love going for years to come. In this uncertain times of COVID, there’s no better time for us to come together and make sure that we are putting the safety of our athletes at the forefront of this fight to keep the game we love afloat.”
– Andy Hilton
Do you love the content that you’re getting from our website? If you’re willing to help us and want to see more content, please consider “buying us a coffee” on Ko-fi! Our website has ALWAYS been subscriber free. Sponsorships and camps are on hold for the time being. We appreciate your help.