2014 AFCA Notes: David Cutcliffe on Winning

If I had to pick my favorite presentation from the most recent AFCA Convention, it would be a close race between the one Fred Farrier gave about career management and how to best use the convention, and the General Session talk given by Duke Head Coach David Cutcliffe.

The Blue Devils had an incredible season, winning ten games for the first time in school history, making it to the ACC Championship game, and nearly upsetting Johnny Manziel and the Texas A&M Aggies in the Chick-fil-a Bowl.

Anyone who really follows college football however has noticed that the quality of football being played in Durham has been steadily rising each year since Cutcliffe’s arrival in 2008. » Read more

AFCA 2014: Grad Assistant/Career Forum Highlights

A lot of wisdom was dispensed at this year’s AFCA Convention in Indy, and as always, one of the best segments of the week was the Grad Assistant and Career Forum. Whether this is your first or your thirty-first year in coaching, there are always more than a few grains of wisdom you can glean from guys who have been where you are and succeeded.

Grad Assistant/ Career Forum

Dino Babers – Bowling Green

Jake Spavital – Texas A&M

Chad Morris – Clemson

Gus Malzahn – Auburn

Dino Babers

Dino Babers – Bowling Green


Q: How do we develop relationships with coaching mentors?

Dino Babers: There’s certain people who have accelerated your career. Keep in contact, watch their season, follow their success.

Jake Spavital: Always tried to be around those guys as much as possible because they always brought good people with them. It’s all about expanding your network.

Q: How do we align ourselves with the right coaches?

Chad Morris: Try to choose your mentor based on what you believe in. Hitch your trailer to a guy you believe in. Don’t be afraid to be persistent. No doesn’t always mean no.

Gus Malzahn: Some of these jobs you really don’t want. Look for someone you want to model yourself after. Another great idea is to find an up and comer with the same values as you and develop a relationship. » Read more

Fred Farrier on Networking and Managing your Career

One of the best tools for younger coaches at the convention is the first-timer’s meeting. The presentation is full of useful information, not just about the convention, but on the coaching profession in general. This past convention in Indianapolis was not my first, but I wanted to attend the first-timer’s meeting again because I had been so impressed with Coach Fred Farrier and what he had to say the year before in Nashville. Read on to get some great advice on networking and creating a positive impression with potential employers. » Read more

Mark Dantonio on the secret to Michigan State’s Success

The Michigan State Spartans broke into the exclusive club of elite college football programs in 2013, winning the Big Ten Championship and the Rose Bowl Game on New Year’s Day, beating two very good football teams along the way in Ohio State and Stanford. The team in East Lansing has been one of the most consistent programs in all of FBS football, with six winning seasons in the past seven years, and beating in-state rival Michigan five of the past six seasons. It’s no accident that the Spartans’ return to prominence coincided with the hiring of Mark Dantonio in 2006. Dantonio has a reputation for a scowling demeanor on the sideline, as well as his membership in the Greg Popovich club of tough halftime interviews. That said, Dantonio is beloved by his players and his assistant coaches, and after listening to him speak at the AFCA Convention in Indianapolis this week, it’s not difficult to see why. » Read more

2014 AFCA Convention: The best of Days 2-3

Earlier I posted my least favorite moments of this year’s convention HERE, but overall the quality of the speakers and the presentations have been great. (You can read about the highlights from the first day of AFCA by clicking HERE)

Below I’ve included highlights from the past two days here in Indianapolis. If you’d like the FULL version of my notes from all the speakers I attended, you can sign up for the Life After Football Insider Email for FREE by signing up HERE.


Grad Assistant/ Career Forum

Q: How do you develop relationships with coaching mentors?

Jake Spavital of Texas A&M

Jake Spavital of Texas A&M

A: Jake Spavital – Texas A&M: I always tried to be around those guys as much as possible, because they always brought good people with them who I may not know. This lets me expand my network while still staying close to guys who I trust. » Read more

How the AFCA dropped the ball on player Safety

To begin the second day of this year’s convention, I had high hopes for the early session on “The Future of Football” hosted by Grant Teaff and Mack Brown. With the inclusion of Dr. Sandra Chapman, the founder of the Center for BrainHealth [sic], I was cautiously optimistic that those of us in attendance would get to hear some open, honest dialogue on the problem that football is facing with concussions. I left the session disappointed and more than a little angry.

I don’t like to get too opinionated on this site, but I felt like I had to say something about the absolute farce I witnessed first hand on Monday morning in Indy (Since I’m not looking for another coaching job, I guess I don’t have much to lose by putting this out there, so here goes).

If you’re asking why, take a look at the tweet I sent out in the middle of the session, posted below: » Read more

2014 AFCA Convention: Day 1 Summary

Day 1 of the best four days of the year is in the books, and already there’s been some great information presented by all the coaches involved.

Below are some of the highlights from the presentations I attended, and you’ll have access to all my notes from the convention this year by signing up for the FREE Life After Football Insider Email HERE.

I arrived at the convention in the middle of the afternoon, so I was only able to attend three presentations today, but the speakers definitely delivered.

First, I attended the First-Timer’s meeting, led by Fred Farrier of Ressselaer Polytechnic Institute. This is not my first convention, but I have such a great respect for Coach Farrier after listening to him last year in Nashville that I wanted to hear what he had to say. He did not disappoint. I can’t stress how great of a speaker this guy is and how well-prepared he is. If he presents again next year, I’ll attend the first-timer’s meeting again. This guy is perfect example of someone who should be more well-known than he is. » Read more

My Schedule for this year’s AFCA Convention

The best four days of the year are upon us, and it’s time to get together with a bunch of like-minded coaches and talk about the greatest game in the world.

If you’re not able to make it to Indy this week, I’ll be posting daily summaries of some of the best things heard at this year’s convention, and you can also sign up HERE for FREE to receive the full-length copy of all of my notes. In order to give you a clear idea of what you’ll be getting, I’ve included the full (tentative) schedule of all the talks I plan on attending this week.

If you want the complete program schedule you can visit the AFCA’s website HERE, and don’t forget to read about the Five Presentations you can’t afford to miss at this year’s AFCA Convention.

(I plan on attending the first timer’s meeting again, not because this is my first convention, but because Coach Fred Farrier was excellent last year, and gave great advice that can be used whether this is your first or fiftieth year in coaching.)

Sunday, January 12

5 pm-5:50 pm – First Timer’s Meeting – CC 121-122

Speaker: Fred T. Farrier, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

6 pm-6:50 pm – Buzz Sessions — Group 1 

Defensive Backs: Greg Brown, University of Alabama – CC Wabash Ballroom » Read more

Five Presentations you can’t afford to miss at this year’s AFCA Convention in Indy

The conclusion of one of the best times of the year, college football season, means that it’s almost time for another one of the best times of the year, the AFCA Convention. If you love talking football, meeting new people, reconnecting with old friends, and just basically hanging out with a group of people who are just as passionate about football as you are, then the convention is the place to be. I’m also extra excited because this year’s convention will be taking place in my hometown of Indianapolis.*

I’ll be posting daily summaries after each day has completed, and if you’re unable to make it to Indy this year, you can sign up HERE  or at the bottom right of this article for my newsletter and receive my complete notes from all the presentations I attend. Since I plan on staying all the way until Wednesday morning, that means I’ll have great notes from Hal Mumme and Pat Narduzzi.

The thing about this list below is that most of the “big” names aren’t on this it, and that’s because, well, what’s the point? Everybody already knows that Nick Saban and Art Briles are going to be speaking, and everyone is planning on being there with a pen and paper. What I really wanted to do with this list is to highlight some speakers and some topics that you may not be familiar with, or have some questions about.

I’ve included links to the AFCA Convention website HERE, and to a floor plan of the Indianapolis Convention Center, where the Convention will take place HERE.

Along with the topics and descriptions, I’ve also included the time, date, and room number for each of these speakers, all based on information which can be found on the AFCA website.

And now, in no particular order, here are the five presentations you can’t afford to miss at this year’s AFCA Convention. » Read more

AFCA 2013 Notes: Jimbo Fisher on Creating a Positive Atmosphere and Player Accountability

Jimbo Fisher has had the weight of the world on his shoulders the past few months. Besides the obvious stress of following in the footsteps of a legend (which Bill O’Brien can tell you is never easy), the longtime Saban and Bowden assistant had to deal with a firestorm of legal trouble surrounding his true-freshman, Heisman winning quarterback. Through it all, he hasn’t allowed his players to become distracted and take their eyes off of their ultimate goal. Or, if you ask him, and read some of the things he had to say last year in Nashville, it was the leaders on the team who didn’t allow their team mates to become distracted.

Tonight is Florida State’s first BCS Championship appearance since Fisher took the reigns from one of the all-time greats in Bobby Bowden. To hear him tell the story of his program’s success this season, you’d think his team is the underdog, as he’s tried everything he can to keep his team from falling victim to apathy during practice the past week.

Fisher is a Saban disciple, so it’s no surprise that he believes in a lot of the same principles as the man leading the Crimson Tide. However, as all great coaches do, he puts his own personality on things, and allows his players a great deal of freedom- provided of course, that they produce on Saturdays. Read on to learn what kinds of things Jimbo Fisher does to make his teams believe in one another, especially when dealing with kids who’ve never had a great deal of confidence in anyone, least of all themselves. » Read more

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