While football in the U.S. is about to conclude with Super Bowl Sunday in two weeks, the Hamilton Wentworth Minor Football Association is gearing up for the 2014 season.
In conjunction with Ontario University Athletics’ McMaster Marauders, the association is staging a day-long coaches clinic on Saturday, Feb. 1. It will run from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the David Braley Athletic Centre at McMaster University and is tailored for football coaches at all levels of play.
The clinic will consist of four morning sessions and three in the afternoon. The $50 registration fee includes a lunch on campus. Register can be done online at www.hwticats.com or in person at Redeemer College in Ancaster on Saturday (Jan. 25) at the HWMFA Winter Skills Camp between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Space is limited.
The full day developmental clinic will feature presentations and demonstrations from Canadian Football League, Canadian Interuniversity Sport, and high school coaches discussing a variety of issues including fundamentals, offensive and defensive systems, program development, player safety and injury management.
An afternoon break out format will allow coaches to choose from a variety of presentations best suited to their coaching needs. Some of the featured facilitators are:
9 a.m. – 9:40 a.m.: Mark Forsyth, Marauders defensive backs coach: Topic: Defensive back drills and fundamentals for players at any level. Forsyth enters the 2013 season as the longest serving assistant coach on the Marauders staff and will continue to work with the defensive backs this season. A former Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawk, Forsyth won the Gino Fracas Award in 1998 as CIS Volunteer Coach of the Year. He was also a McMaster Friend of Distinction in the same year.
9:45 a.m. – 10:25 a.m.: Chris Puskas, Marauders head athletic therapist: Topic: Concussion/injury management. Puskas starts his third year as an athletic therapist at McMaster. He divides his time between treating in the David Braley Sports Medicine Clinic, supervising student field therapists and serving as head therapist with the varsity football team. He worked in the CFL for 17 years, including three years as the assistant athletic therapist with the Toronto Argonauts (1994-1996) and 14 as head athletic therapist with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats (1997-2010).
10:30 a.m. – 11:15 a.m.: Dave Walters, head coach of the Westdale high school Warriors. Topic: Yearly plan and effective practice planning. The Warriors are the current Southern Ontario Secondary School Association’s Division 1 champion. The team has four times claimed the senior Hamilton Wentworth Interscholastic Athletic Conference football championship and has five junior divisions banners to its credit. Outside of football, Walters was the 2012 World Masters Powerlifting Champion.
11:20 a.m. – noon: Arthur Tolliver, linebacker coach for Buffalo’s Erie Community College. Topic: Linebacker alignment and assignment in 4-3 defense. Tolliver was linebacker coach at Kentucky State University from 2009-2012 and was defensive line coach at Kentucky Wesleyan College from 2005-2008. He was the defensive line coach at State University of New York from at Albany from 2003-2005. For 2000-01 he was head coach at Saltfleet District high school in Stoney Creek after being the offensive line coach at Hamilton’s Barton high school for 1998-1999.
1:30 p.m. – 2:15 p.m.: Heath Weir, teacher/head coach at Huron Heights Secondary School in Newmarket, Ont. Topic: Play action series in flexbone triple option offense. Weir brings a 22-0 over the past two seasons (2012-2013) at Huron Heights, which has won back-to-back Ontario Federation of School Athletic Association Bowl Championships. The Warriors credited much of their success to their vaunted Triple Option running attack. Since 2004 the Warriors have amassed an impressive record of 92-11-2. Prior to coming to Huron Heights, Weir made stops at Acadia University, Arkansas State and the University of Memphis.
2:25 p.m. – 3:10 p.m.: Jason Riley, offensive line coach for McMaster Marauders. Topic: Fundamental skill development for an offensive line. Riley’s impressive playing resume includes being an All-Canadian and Vanier Cup Champion at University of British Columbia, as well as starting in four Grey Cups, winning one. Riley helped build a strong O-line tradition at McMaster and has coached many athletes to the CFL. He has also been named a Master Instructor for offensive lines by the Ontario Football Alliance. Riley is also a Friend of Distinction winner.
3:20 p.m.– 4:20 p.m.: Stefan Ptaszek, McMaster Marauders head coach. Topic: Quarterback/Offensive Systems. The 2012 CIS Coach of the Year also took his charges to the 2011 Vanier Cup championship, picking up the 2011 and 2012 Yates Cup titles along the way. The former offensive coordinator for Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawk also played in the CFL with the BC Lions, who drafted him in the first round. He also saw duty with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats and Toronto Argonauts. He played university football at Laurier from 1990-94 where he was a three-time All-Canadian and a member of the Vanier Cup championship team in 1991.