It seemed like it was only a year ago we were in Indianapolis for the 2014 AFCA Convention, but here we are again. The 2015 convention is just days away, which means its time for the annual FootballScoop Guide to the AFCA Convention.
As always, the events run Sunday through Wednesday, and we're here to guide you every step of the way.
Sunday afternoon: When you arrive, familiarize yourself with the official convention schedule. Head over early to get your credentials and spend some time with some of the vendors in the exhibit hall. There are always some unique and impressive new products and services to see (hey, let us know @FootballScoop if you see anything we need to hear about). Plan an hour walking the exhibits at some point, you won't be disappointed. There are a number of speakers planned as part of the High School Coaches Academy Sunday afternoon including at 4pm the "First timers' meeting" for first time attendees (whether high school or college coaches), and opportunities to hear Howard Schnellenberger, Ruffin McNeill and others share advice.
Sunday evening: The buzz sessions kick off with a bang, as Corey Raymond (LSU, defensive backs), Ron Burton (Michigan State, defensive line), Jay Boulware (Oklahoma, tight ends) and Rob Zeitman (Ferris State, offensive line) among others speak at 6 p.m., and Jeff Banks (Texas A&M, special teams), Ted Rath (Detroit Lions, strength & conditioning), Tyson Summers (Colorado State, defensive coordinator), Marion Hobby (Clemson, defensive line), Sonny Cumbie (TCU, quarterbacks), Mike Denbrock (Notre Dame, tight ends) Mike Canales (North Texas, OC) and Hunter Hughes (Colorado State-Pueblo, defensive coordinator) follow at 7 p.m.
Sunday night: 4th Street Live is a block long row of restaurants and bars, one block south of the Hyatt and Marriott. Find a place to enjoy some fun and catch up with old friends.
Monday morning: For those asking, yes the official AFCA agenda does note that "Coat Check" opens at 6:15AM. lolwut? Moving on, if you're from the high school, international or junior college ranks, this is your time. The AFCA is holding general sessions from 8 - 11:15 a.m. One of those is a chalk war pitting an offensive coach matching Xs and Os with a defensive coach. This is an idea the AFCA debuted last year on a whim and we heard good things. The GA/Career Forum runs from 9 - 11. Penn State head coach James Franklin, SMU defensive coordinator Van Malone, Saint Thomas head coach Glen Caruso, Eastern Michigan offensive coordinator Kalen DeBoer and Dutch Baughman of the 1A Athletic Director's Association.
As a reminder, DFOs... you guys have a pretty full agenda as well.
Monday afternoon: The first of the main hall, 3,000-plus seat sessions gets going with Arkansas' Bret Bielema speaking from 2:10 - 3 and Marshall's Doc Holliday from 3:10 - 4. It's rare to see many empty seat at one of these talks, so get there early. At 4:10, the Master Coach series begins featuring Jerry Moore, Bill Currie & Ken Sparks.
Monday evening: The annual FootballScoop party roars from 5 - 7 at Tavern on 4th (one block south of the Hyatt & Marriott...across from the Hard Rock Cafe) and there won't be a better spot to watch Oregon vs. Ohio State at 8:30. The beverages will be frosty (and on us), some good food and plenty of camaraderie. Come join us as we celebrate this year's Coaches of the Year sponsored by ProGrass. Many thanks to our friends at Sky Coach, JumpForward, Next Level Athlete & Sport Source Analytics for sponsoring this year's party with us.
Tuesday morning: Liberty head coach Turner Gill, Lindsey Wilson College head coach Chris Oliver hold breakout sessions at 8 a.m. Colorado State-Pueblo head coach John Wristen follows at 9 a.m. with a breakout titled "Building It From Scratch and Having Fun While Doing It." Wristen is fresh off a national championship, so you'll be listening from an expert on the subject matter. Ask him about WTLG!
Tuesday afternoon: Day two of the main hall general sessions offer Georgia Tech's Paul Johnson and TCU's Gary Patterson at 3:10 and 4:10.
Tuesday evening: Unless you're headed to the Coach of the Year dinner, the schedule is wide open. Good night for a staff dinner or a good meal with friends before you hit the recruiting trail for a few weeks.
Wednesday morning: A solid line up of chalk talks (Illinois offensive coordinator Bill Cubit, Notre Dame special teams coordinator Scott Booker, Minnesota defensive line coach Jeff Phelps, LSU special teams coordinator Bradley Dale Peveto) roll at 8 and 9 a.m. Beyond that, it's time to pack up and say goodbye to friend you won't see for another year.
See you in Louisville.
Wild Eggs - Menu is huge and the eggs are excellent. Can not go wrong here. 3 blocks East on Market from the convention center.
Please & Thank you - Bit of a hipster coffee shop; but I'm telling you, the food is outstanding. The chocolate chip cookie is quite possibly the best I've ever had. Seriously worth a visit. About 7 blocks East on Market from the convention center
St. Charles Exchange - Excellent cocktail bar. Quality food (steak was excellent). Moderately priced. 3 blocks West of the Convention Center (closed Sunday)
Harvest - High end. Very nice if your wife is with you. Food is unique is very good. 7 blocks East of the Convention Center on Market.
Rye - Good place for a guy's dinner. About 10 blocks East of the convention center on Market. A bit further away but moderately priced, good food. Nice selection of bourbon, beer and wine.
Jack Fry's - Legendary Louisville spot. Classic dishes. Can't go wrong. 5-10 minute cab ride. Reservations recommended.
Doc Crow's - "Southern Smokehouse and Raw Bar" - highly recommended from some local friends. Reasonably priced.
Jeff Ruby's - Next to the Galt House. Big steak house...with a big price tag. (not my personal recommendation)
Eddie Merlot's - Steakhouse near 4th Street Live (1 block south of the Hyatt). Haven't been but hear it is good. Can get pricey depending on what you order. (wouldn't be top of my list; but some locals say it is worth it)
Vincenzo's - Good Italian food. One block West of the convention center.
4th Street Live area (one block south of the Hyatt...so two blocks south of the convention center) seems to be the right part of town. Our party will be at the Tavern on 4th (which is above Sports & Social Club). There is a Hard Rock cafe, a Maker's Mark lounge & a number of other bars right across the street too.