Niagara Erie Youth Sports Association, Inc. (NEYSA) representatives, Ray Turpin and Mark Ziegler attended the USA Football 2015 National Conference held in Indianapolis, Indiana from February 20 through February 22, 2015. This special event was headlined by featured speakers: Tony Dungy, former NFL player, Super Bowl winning coach and current NBC analyst; Oliver Luck, former NFL player and current NCAA Executive Vice President of Regulatory Affairs and Mike Golic, former NFL player and current radio personality and his wife Christine who participates with the Mom’s Clinics provided by the NFL and who brings a unique parent’s perspective to the game of football.
Carl Peterson, Chairman of USA Football opened the conference followed by Scott Hallenbeck, USA Football’s Executive Director, spoke about the state of youth and high school football.
Merril Hoge, former NFL player and current EPSN analyst, then participated for the remainder of day one’s events by introducing Tony Dungy.
After this dynamic opening, there were two break out sessions for the youth commissioners and the high school administrators. The youth sessions were broken out by geographical regions and presented by USA Football Regional staff and Master Trainers in a Town Hall type forum. The high school session was presented by Scott Hallenbeck, Bill Gardner (National Federation of State High School Associations), Bruce Whitehead (National Interscholastic Association of Athletic Administrators) and a various collection of the top high school coaches from around the United States.
A football panel discussion followed with standout nationally recognized panelists: Bill Polian, Bill LeMonnier, Bruce Rollinson and George Teague who offered their unique perspective of coaching and administering to enhance and strengthen a program.
A presentation about Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SAC) with Dr. Jonathan Drezner, University of Washington and Matthew Nader a SAC survivor led to the final sessions of the day which included youth and high school breakout sessions.
The day concluded with a viewing of the 2015 NFL Combine and an-on field HeadsUp Tackling and Blocking session at the Lucas Oil Stadium.
Scott Hallenbeck opened the next day session and introduced Oliver Luck, who spoke about the importance of coaching and managing your organization.
The conference closed with Mike and Christine Golic who shared, from a parents’ perspective, information that should be provided and what football means to a family.
There was tremendous information sharing and gathering as well as the networking that occurred between organizations, both youth and high school. The evidence of support from the USA Football officials and staff members was beyond reproach and provided an intense but comfortable learning environment for all of the participants.