UNC Building Relationships with Clinic

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. --- Larry Fedora and the North Carolina coaching staff had its doors completely ajar on Thursday and Friday for its 2014 Coaches Clinic. The event included a dozen speakers, as well as "chalk talk" and the chance to watch Friday afternoon's practice.

"As a high school coach you want to exposure yourself to as many football related ideas and be around as many football people as possible," Carrboro's head coach Jason Tudryn said. "If you take one thing away from every clinic you become a smarter coach."

In addition to UNC assistant coaches Seth Littrell, Keith Heckendorf, and Keith Gilmore, the two-day event featured reining state championship high school coaches from Dudley (Brandon Anderson), Havelock (Caleb King), Southern Durham, T.W. Andrews (Rodney McKoy), Shelby (Lance Ware), Murphy (David Gentry), and James Kenan (Ken Avent) as clinicians.

"Any time you can go to a clinic you can gain knowledge not only from the college guys, but also the high school guys," Ware said. "They're able to share with you what they've done to be successful. Even if you leave with one thing, it was well worth the time."

A fortuitous byproduct of the clinic is the relationships that flourish throughout the two days.

"As a high school coach, you're always trying to build relationships with these college guys to help them and to hopefully help your student athletes later on down the road, as well," Franklinton head coach Jeremy Buck said. "It's good to build that relationship so that they can trust us and we can trust them."

"Ever since Coach Fedora has been here, North Carolina has done an outstanding job of networking with the high school coaches," Ware said. "Any time you can get on their campus, it helps facilitate those relationships."

The clinic isn't the only time UNC's doors are open to high school coaches. As he mentioned during the clinic's opening statement, Fedora welcomes high school coaches on UNC's campus 365 days a year to speak with his coaches and/or use his equipment and facilities.

"I'm going into year 14 or 15 [of coaching] and this staff has been tremendously open since Coach Fedora came in," Buck said. "Coach [Blake] Anderson when he was here and Coach ‘Kap' [Chris Kapilovic] have always been phenomenal when I've had questions. And Coach [Gunter] Brewer, when I was in Charlotte, he was everywhere with little clinics. They just go out of their way to talk the game of football and to teach us."

"We feel comfortable here," Ware said. "We feel like we're part of the Carolina family. I think they've made everybody in the state feel that way."

Fedora's open door philosophy coupled with the relationships that are built through encounters only help UNC on the recruiting front.

"The more you see somebody, the more you can trust them," Buck said. "You have to build relationships. This whole business is built on relationships. They don't recruit us as coaches – they're recruiting our coaches – but they have to go through us and trust our instincts, too, to find out if the kid is going to work hard on the next level."

Fedora addressed recruiting during his opening statement.

"You've been in this state for years so you know there's been some great talent in the state of North Carolina," Fedora said. "There's a lot of talent in this state. We've recruited all over the place, so I can tell you from years of coaching there's great talent in the state of North Carolina. A lot of that talent has left the state. We're never going to stop all of it – that's just the way it is. I want you to understand that we're going to do our best to recruit those kids the hardest – those kids that we feel like can help us win a championship. We want them to understand that they can reach every dream and all that they have right here in the state of North Carolina. They might not choose the University of North Carolina – it might be Wake [Forest], Duke or that other school. But we want them to stay in the state. But the state of North Carolina in college football will be so much better if we can convince them to stay in the state. You can win championships with the talent in the state of North Carolina."

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