Inside the Headset: DIII COTY Convention Round Table

This week on Inside the Headset, we are featuring our Division III Coach of the Year discussion. The coaches discuss some highlights of their program this past season and some key mentors in their life that have helped push them to their success. The regional coach of the year winners for Division III are: Region 1: Mike Toerper, Ithaca College Michael Toerper (Ter-per) was named as the 11th head coach of the Ithaca College football program on February 18, 2022. In his first season as head coach in 2022, Toerper guided the Bombers to 12-1 and reached the NCAA Division III Quarterfinals. IC secured its first undefeated regular season since 1986 and claimed its first outright Liberty League title. Toerper …

Inside the Headset: NAIA Regional Coach of the Year Panel

This week on Inside the Headset, we are featuring our NAIA regional coaches discussion. The coaches recap their seasons, their team’s culture, and reflect on some influential leaders in their life. The regional selections for NAIA are: Region 1: Mike Jasper, Bethel University (Tenn.) Mike Jasper recently led his Bethel Wildcats to an 11-1 record and a berth in the NAIA playoffs. Coach Jasper is a graduate of Bethel and was the first-ever Wildcat drafted to the NFL in 2011 when selected by the Buffalo Bills. He spent three years in the National Football League with the Buffalo Bills, New York Giants and Carolina Panthers. Region 2: Jordan Langs, Indiana Wesleyan University Jordan Langs had successful stops at previous institutions such …

Inside the Headset: POI Convention Round Table

This week on Inside the Headset, we are featuring our 2022 Regional Power of Influence Award winners in a roundtable discussion. The coaches discuss their journey, some of the mentors who have had an impact upon them, and some pillars of their football program. 2022 AFCA/AFCF Regional Power of Influence Award winners are: Region 1: Jim Kelliher, Abington (Mass.) High School Region 2: Rodney Saulsberry Sr., Whitehaven (Tenn.) High School Region 3: Dwight Lundeen, Becker (Minn.) High School Region 4: John King, Longview (Tex.) High School Region 5: Todd Sloat, Fall River (Calif.) High School Jim Kelliher has been the head coach at Abington High School for 49 years and currently sits fourth for career victories in Massachusetts history with …

Inside the Headset: GA Panel

This week on Inside the Headset, we are featuring our GA panel from the 2022 AFCA convention. The panelists discuss what they look for in a GA, how to be successful, and maintaining discipline through adversity. Our speakers included Bret Bielema, Sean Lewis, Ryan Riemedio, Dr. Alvin Parker, and Julian Griffin. Bret Bielema recently completed his second season as the Head Coach of Illinois. Bielema arrived in Champaign with 24 years of collegiate coaching experience and a 12-year record of 97-58 as head coach at Wisconsin and Arkansas. While at Wisconsin, he led the Badgers to three Big Ten championships and six consecutive bowl games including two Rose Bowls. Coach Sean Lewis recently completed his fourth season as HC at …

Inside the Headset: Ryan Day

This week on Inside the Headset, we are featuring Ohio State’s Head Coach, Ryan Day. Coach Day discusses his experience at previous conventions, being successful at a historic university, and maintaining efficiency within his football program. Coach Ryan Day is currently in his 4th year as the head coach of the Ohio State Buckeyes football program. Coach Day will be leading his program as the 4th seeded team in this year’s College Football Playoff. At the conclusion of this season, Coach Day will have completed his 21st year of coaching football in the collegiate/professional ranks. He has seen success at Ohio State in the form of 2 Big Ten championships, and Rose Bowl and Sugar Bowl victories, and 3 CFP …

Inside the Headset: Mike Leach

This week on Inside the Headset, we are honoring the life and legacy of Coach Mike Leach with his general session from the 2009 convention. Coach Leach was a pioneer in the game and the AFCA and the coaching community are better because of his impact. One of the masterminds of the air raid offense and a pioneer for the coaching profession, Coach Leach’s impact helped inspire a change in college football offense and spurred on a new generation of coaches. He was a two-time national coach of the year, had a 158-107 (.596) record, and impacted many lives on and off the field. Coach Leach’s coaching tree spreads across the majority of Power 5 football as well as into …

Inside the Headset: Sonny Dykes

This week on Inside the Headset, we are featuring Sonny Dykes, head coach at TCU, the #3 seed in the 2023 College Football Playoff! Coach Dykes discusses his coaching path, recruiting philosophy, and some keys to building a winning program. Coach Dykes was named head coach at TCU on November 30, 2021, after 4 successful seasons at SMU. He has worked with reputable coaches such as Hal Mumme and Mike Leach. In 2006, Dykes received the Mike Campbell Top Assistant Coach Award from the American Football Coaches Association. Coach Dykes is now leading his 12-1 Horned Frogs into the College Football Playoff in his first year as Head Coach at TCU. Show Notes: 2:10 How I got started in coaching …

Inside the Headset: Jeremy Hawkins

This week on Inside the Headset, we are featuring the Defensive Line Coach and Defensive Run Game Coordinator from Eastern Kentucky, Jeremy Hawkins. Coach Hawkins discusses the adversity faced in the profession, the financial sacrifice of being a coach, and his professional development with the AFCA. Jeremy Hawkins joined Eastern Kentucky’s staff as the defensive line coach in January 2020. Coach Hawkins has also spent time as player personnel director at LSU and UAB. He was a four-year letter winner at Troy and earned his bachelor’s degree in sports and fitness management in 2009 and a master’s degree in sports administration in 2014. Coach Hawkins was also recently selected as a member of the 2022 AFCA 35 under 35 class …

Bryan Nardo

Inside the Headset: Bryan Nardo

This week on Inside the Headset, we are featuring the Defensive Coordinator at Gannon University, Bryan Nardo. Coach Nardo discusses his start in coaching and his career path, his defensive and recruiting philosophy, and the impact the AFCA has had on his career. Bryan Nardo is currently coaching at Gannon University as the Defensive Coordinator and Linebackers coach. He was appointed in February 2022 after 2 years at Youngstown State and 8 years at Emporia State. Coach Nardo was named the Great Lakes Football Conference Assistant Coach of the Year in 2011 while working at Missouri S&T in Rolla, MO. He was also selected as a member of the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) 35 Under 35 Coaches Leadership Institute …

Inside the Headset: Jameson Croall

This week on Inside the Headset, we are featuring Jameson Croall, the Head Coach at the United States Merchant Marine Academy. Coach Croall explains the unique opportunity coaching at a service academy, his coaching path, and some key takeaways from his involvement with the AFCA. Coach Croall was recently named USMMA Football’s head coach in August 2022. This will be his 11th year with the program, first as HC. The previous 10 years Coach Croall served as the Offensive Coordinator and Offensive Line Coach. A 2009 graduate of Springfield College, Croall played for four years as an offensive lineman for the Pride while earning his bachelor’s degree in physical education. He graduated with his master’s degree from Springfield in 2020. …

Inside the Headset: Eli Gardner

This week on Inside the Headset, we are featuring Stonehill College’s head football coach Eli Gardner. Coach Gardner discusses the new changes in a coach’s career, the change to Division 1 FCS for Stonehill College, and his experience with the AFCA 35u35. Coach Gardner is in his seventh year as the head coach at Stonehill. He served in other roles at Stonehill before taking over the head coaching position with experience as the special teams & defensive coordinator and associate head coach. Coach Gardner was a part of the 2018 AFCA 35U35 class at the 2018 AFCA Convention in Charlotte, NC. Coach Gardner is a 2008 graduate of Western New England University, where he earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Sports …

Inside the Headset: Julian Griffin

This week on Inside the Headset we are featuring Julian Griffin, the running backs coach at UTSA. Coach Griffin discusses his role as NFL Liaison, his recruiting approach, and the importance of having mentors in the profession. Julian Griffin played wide receiver at ULM from 2008-2012 before becoming a coach at Texas A&M Kingsville. His coaching stops include ULM, Central Methodist, SMU, Arkansas, and is now present at UTSA as the running backs coach. Coach Griffin earned his bachelor’s degree in kinesiology and exercise fitness from ULM in 2012 and his master’s degree in education from Texas A&M-Kingsville in 2015. 2:11 What do NFL scouts look for? 4:07 Experience with PRO Days 6:29 Working with athletes outside of current discipline …