the study of the kicking components within sports

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Role Models, Mentors & Inspirations, part 2

During your younger kicking days, was there anyone in particular that served as a role model, mentor, or inspiration to you?
Yesterday we looked at the first batch of answers from kickers and kicking coaches responding to the preceding question. A collegiate theme recurs in several of today's second batch of responses.

Michael Husted, National Combine Series
"Growing up in Virginia, I used to watch many ACC football games. Once I started kicking, I followed the kickers closely. Excellent kickers like Kenny Stadlin, UVA, David Treadwell, Clemson, and Jess Atkinson, Maryland were great to watch perform. Stadlin actually kicked at my high school, Hampton, and came out to visit my sophomore year. Seeing these guys kick in big time college games encouraged me to go out and practice often in my front yard. However, the most influential person was a coach on my city league team in 9th grade, Coach Gillette. He told me to, 'Look down at the tee, kick the ball and keep my head down.' Pretty simple and the beginning of my kicking career."

James Wilhoit, James Wilhoit Kicking Coach
"During my younger days I looked up to Jeff Hall, who was the former kicker at the University of Tennessee from 1995-1998. He kicked for the 1998 National Championship Team at Tennessee and was known for being clutch under pressure including game winning kicks against Syracuse and Florida. He became the all time leading scorer at Tennessee and he was the first kicker I started to watch. When I signed a scholarship at Tennessee, our head coach, Coach Fulmer, gave me Jeff's phone number and he became a mentor to me throughout my career.
By the end of my career I was the 2nd all time leading scorer in Tennessee history trailing only my idol Jeff Hall."

Rex Robinson, Total Kicker
"I am old enough to have my inspiration from the original soccer style kickers... Pete Gogolak, Charlie Gogolak, and Jan Stenerud. I would watch games and then go out and try to do what they were doing. I was only 8-9 years old at the time. Another lesser known kicker, Peter Rajecki, was the first to show me the concept of steps back and across for more consistency. Peter had kicked at Georgia and was playing in the old World Football League for the Charlotte franchise. It made a huge difference for me during my junior and senior years of high school."

Brandon Kornblue, Kornblue Kicking
"Since the time I was 6 or 7 years old, my dream was to kick for the University of Michigan. I grew up watching and idolizing all the Wolverine kickers and punters from Bob Bergeron in the early 80's to J.D. Carlson in the early 90's. Carlson and others were most inspirational to me because they walked on, a path I would eventually take. I attended my first football kicking camp in 7th grade and usually attended at least one camp each summer (year-round camps that provided rankings were non-existent). I received invaluable advice from numerous kickers and punters over the years...guys like Gary Anderson, John Carney, Mitch Berger, Steve Christie, Carlos Huerta, Ian Howfield, and Rick Tuten were the ones who made the greatest impressions. I would take home suggestions and advice from those pro and college kickers and work on them with my high school kicking coach, Jeff Dawson, who kicked at the University of Florida. I was very fortunate in that, unlike most high school or even college kickers, I had a coach at my high school who understood kicking and punting."

Paul Assad, Paul Assad's Pro College Football
"I was a self starter. In fact, my family and friends seemed opposed to the idea of misconception that I was going to be a college and professional level player. The fact is that even though I was an area standout Soccer player from the Youth to College Levels even offered scholarships for soccer, I didn't decide to play until Junior College and basically, I had no history of football game experience. So when I was at Modesto Junior College I wanted to get better, so I asked my coach and he gave me a brochure for PKS and I attended Ray Pelfrey's Camp at Sacramento State that summer. I had a great experience at the camp where I met Louie Aguiar who was playing for Chabot Junior College and we became very good friends all through college and most of thereafter. Now he runs his own school too and does a great job, it doesn't surprise me. Ray Pelfrey was great to me. He took me on the road for 6 years. Louie and I ran many of his camps over the years and it provided me with a foundation for my teaching and camp formats, along with my formal education in Physical Education where I use the same progression systems. 

There were there two guys I really admired: Kendall Trainer who was a great player at Arkansas and world record field goal setter Dirk Borgognone (68 yards). We all became the best of friends and competitors and drove each other. Two other huge mentors for me where Joe Prokop the former NFL Punter who asked me to join him as the Kicking Expert of Scout Camp, and we started coaching college seniors who wanted to go pro. The owner of Scout Camp, Steve Austin, eventually asked me to run his entire operation for the Specialist of Scout Camp. So I traveled with the Regional Combines for over five years evaluating players, video taping and profiling them. This not only offered me scouting experience, but Mr. Austin I felt took me under his wing as a person and helped me understand how to run, start, and grow my school.

I had a great friendship with Mr. Fred Anderson who owned the Sacramento CFL team. He also owned the Sacramento Kings NBA team, purchased our local Minor League Baseball team the Modesto A's (Oakland's Single A Affilliate), and his partner Kevin McClatchy, (McClatchy News and the owner of the Pittsburgh Pirates MLB Team). Just the experience of spending time and being able to sit in on meetings that had to do with stadium to player deals was really eye opening. I felt like in addition to my father of course, these people I've met have really helped me, so I try to cultivate a personal relationship with each player I have so their experience is something special like mine was."


Note: additional responses will be posted in the coming days.

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