“It’s one more opportunity for us to build relationships [and] one more opportunity for us to be around these guys to open our doors to make sure these guys completely understand that there isn’t anything that we won’t do for them,” UNC assistant coach Walt Bell said. “Anything they want to know, anything we can help them with, we’re there for them. They can bounce ideas off of us. We can talk about how we’ve done things at other places. It’s really a chance to share knowledge and give us one more opportunity to build relationships.”
Like last May, the event was hosted by Hendrick Motorsports and held at the Hendrick Motorsports Museum. The festivities began with Chris Burkey, Hendrick's director of scouting and recruiting, speaking to the crowd of over 100 coaches from high schools as far north as Greensboro and as far south as South Carolina with a heavy dose from the Charlotte area. Burkey, who discussed how he’s responsible for scouting and recruiting former college and professional athletes for pit crews, is a former Wingate wide receiver, coach at Tennessee Tech and North Carolina, and scout for the Miami Dolphins under Nick Saban.
The clinic began with Blake Anderson, UNC’s offensive coordinator, discussing how the UNC staff coaches its players to play fast and focus on ball security. He also touched on how they execute and practice different screen passes, which are a major ingredient to UNC’s one-back spread offense.
“This is good for the coaches in the area,” Charlotte Mallard Creek head coach Mike Palmieri said. “A lot of [high school] coaches don’t get a chance to travel, because of families and spending a lot of time with their programs. To have something like this in the local area is good to have for them.”
Following a brief break, the group broke into subsets for more specific “chalk talk” with UNC coaches, plus Scott McConnell, Matthews (N.C.) Jireh Prep’s defensive coordinator. Anderson went into more details and answered questions about UNC’s offense, Bell focused on special teams, Gunter Brewer lectured on wide receiver techniques, Chris Kapilovic discussed offensive line techniques, and McConnell talked about defensive schemes.
“It’s great to be in a relaxed atmosphere like this, because when [the UNC coaches] are coming into our schools or when our kids come to check their schools out it’s so fast that you don’t get to spend a lot of time with them,” Matthews (N.C.) Butler head coach Brian Hales aid. “It’s a relaxed atmosphere and you get to learn some personalities.”
Palmieri says the willingness of several UNC coaches to devote time to speak at the event – especially during a very busy juncture of their calendar – shows their commitment to the high school coach.
“It shows that it’s not all about [the high school coach’s] players,” Palmieri said. “It shows the high school coach that they are trying to develop a relationship with them and they can become someone the high school coach can trust and rely on to call them up to find out information on football.”
Mike Newsome, Kannapolis (N.C.) Brown head coach, agrees.
“The biggest thing is just the camaraderie between the coaches,” Newsome said. “I don't think this is a big get together and learning football kind of clinic, but it’s the camaraderie of getting to hang out with the UNC coaches. And I think that’s a key thing for recruiting for them. That’s key for them, but it’s a key point for us – we build those relationships with the coaches and they build those relationships with the kids they have playing for us.”
UNC coaches were the featured speakers at a clinic in Matthews a couple of weeks ago and will be the featured speakers at a clinic in Chesapeake, Va. on Thursday. Also, Kapilovic will speak at an spread offensive line clinic in Houston later this week.