The annual AFCA Convention kicks off on Sunday, and the event marks the only time of year where thousands of coaches, from every level, gather in one place to share ideas, scheme on the nearest napkin, and enjoy the camaraderie that is so unique to this profession.
The convention officially gets under way on Sunday, but plenty of guys will be in town Saturday night. Indy has a small; but solid set of places for coaches to get together after work just to the East of the convention center. The famed St. Elmo's is one block east of the convention center and several quality bars are one more block East. The official FootballScoop headquarters (outside of normal convention hours) will be at Kilroy's. Kilroy's is a great place to grab a beer or a very reasonably priced bite to eat.
The Scoop staff gets in Sunday and we'll be at Kilroy's that night, stop in and see us.
Aside from visiting with old coaching buddies, networking with new ones, and (of course) checking The Scoop frequently, here's what we see as the best way to spend your time while in Indy.
The only things planned for Saturday afternoon are the NAIA Convention planning committee meeting, and the NAIA football officers meeting. Thereafter, see you at Kilroy's.
The Exhibit hall opens up at 9am. As always, registration will be inside the Exhibit hall. Every company in there is paying way more than most of us imagine to be there (which helps keep the convention affordable for all of the coaches) so please do be considerate and spend some time visiting with the exhibitors. We hear there will be some cool new products and offerings this year. We'll keep you posted via Twitter about some of the booths we see that you need to visit; but if you guys see some that are great please let us know @FootballScoop.
When in the exhibit hall, if you see our friends with ProGrass, Overtime Software, Jump Forward, Collegiate Sports Travel or TeamWorks please stop and say hi. Great people with very impressive products.
Starting at 1pm are various events aimed at high school coaches discussing program building, installing the no-huddle, and player motivation.
If you are killing time in the lobby or hanging out with friends, remember that you too came to the convention early in your career and didn't know many people. Try to invest 15 minutes of your day each day meeting new people. That's what this is all about. Don't "big time" the young guys, in two years they might just be your OC.
The ever-popular Buzz sessions begin at 6pm and notable guys include; Miami's Art Kehoe (OL), Alabama's Greg Brown (DBs), Michigan State's Mike Tressel (LBs). Don't why away from the the non-FBS guys, everyone in the lineup was chosen for a great reason.
The 7pm slate includes; Fresno State's Cameron Norcross (OL), Clemson's Robbie Caldwell (OL) and Chad Morris (QB), Penn State's Larry Johnson (DL), John Carroll's Brandon Staley (DB) and Michigan State's Lorenzo Guess talking strength and conditioning.
The FootballScoop Staff will be out Sunday night. Kilroy's is the spot. Come join us.
Mack Brown gives listeners "A Dose of Reality" at an 8am session, and high school and JUCO talks continue throughout the morning.
The grad assistant forum, which serves as a great place for advice as coaches start their careers, begins at 9am and includes Murray State's Carlos Alvarado, Bowling Green's Dino Babers, Texas A&M's Jake Spavital, Eastern Michigan's Kalen DeBoer, and James Franklin (tentative). If you're just getting started in the coaching profession, this is a can't miss event.
Starting at 2:10pm Duke's David Cutcliffe will serve as the keynote speaker, immediately followed by Nick Saban at 3:10. This is another event you'll want to be plenty early for. At 4pm the Master Coach session will include former Colorado head coach Bill McCartney and former FCS coach Marino Casem.
The annual FootballScoop Party will begin at 5pm at Kilroy's (two blocks East of the Convention Center). Here, ourCoaches of the Year will be honored, and all are welcome. Cold beer and food are on us (and our tremendous sponsors ProGrass, Jump Forward and the Sled Hammer). Come by and have some fun with us and join us in congratulating all of the Coaches of the Year.
Buzz sessions continue at 6pm, highlighted by talks from Ohio State's Ed Warinner (OL), Trooper Taylor (WR), part of the FootballScoop Linebacker Coach of the Year duo in LeVar Woods from Iowa (LB), and Stanford's Pete Alamar (special teams)
The 7pm Buzz sessions include; Cumberlands Ed Weiser (OL), Auburn's Tim Horton (RBs), LSU's coach Cam Cameron (QB), NIU's Jay Niemann (DB), UNC's Vic Koenning (LBs).
A group of speakers, including Coastal Carolina head coach Joe Moglia and newly named Mississippi College head coach John Bland, will speak Monday morning at 8am, and considering both of their recent success and experience, should be an event you'll be glad you rolled out of bed for. While you're up, head over to hear Chuck Goldstein at 9am. The Gallaudet University head coach will talk about how he's built the premier program for the deaf and hard of hearing into a winner, by doing things "The Gallaudet Way".
Speakers of the afternoon include Baylor's Art Briles at 2:10pm, Michigan State's Mark Dantonio at 3:10pm and General Electric CEO Jeffrey Immelt at 4:10pm. Don't be late, you'll wind up in standing room only.
We can't reveal secret locations; but there are several mini-clinics that have cult-like followings. Find one, get in, learn and be happy.
Once you've become a better Xs & Os guy, go out and have some fun with friends. Might be last chance before you hit the road. Plenty of good spots in the area; but you can't go wrong with Kilroy's.
A lot of coaches head home early Wednesday, but looking at the Chalk Talk sessions lined up, I have a feeling some coaches will reconsider. SMU and Air Raid guru Hal Mumme, Duke's Jim Knowles, Vanderbilt's Charles Bankins, NIU's Bob Cole, Michigan State's Pat Narduzzi, and Utah State's Dave Ungerer will all have the chalk in their hand between 8 & 10am schooling you on some of their schemes.
After that, hop to it. Don't miss your flight or your wives will not be happy!