HEAD COACH / SPECIAL TEAMS COORDINATOR
What got you into American Football to start with? Did you play any contact sport beforehand?
Like most British kids growing up, I played football, rugby and cricket at school. I enjoyed anything involving the catching of the ball which naturally led to goalkeeper and wicket keeper. In rugby, I played on the wing as I used to be a lot quicker in my younger days. Cricket was easily the sport I was best at but I loved the contact element of rugby. But I took a couple of years off sport during sixth form and once I enrolled at Kent University, I wanted to try something new. I signed up to Baseball as my first choice sport but was also recruited to American Football by the cheerleaders. The baseball team folded due to lack of interest and I’ve now been involved in American football for nearly 15 years now and I married a cheerleader, so it all worked out well.
What was your career like at the UniBall Level?
Mediocre at best! But what I made up for in lack of ability was commitment to practices and hitting people as hard as I could. I played in 14 games over 3 seasons for the University of Kent Falcons, 11 of them at Wide Receiver and my final 3 games as Quarterback. My stats were modest over this time but I loved every moment of it, met some great friends that I still talk to today and was inducted into the Falcons Hall of Fame in 2010, which was a great honour.
Why did you start coaching American Football?
I finished playing at Kent Uni in 2007 and was starting my 2nd season at the local adult team East Kent Mavericks, but I wanted to stay involved with the university that had introduced me to the game. My Head Coach Jonty Newman kept me involved as an assistant coach on the offensive side of the ball, and eventually spent 4 seasons coaching there. My last two seasons were as the Falcons OC, which saw my last season breaking the team’s season records in points scored and the team went 7-1 and returned to the playoffs after a 10-year absence. After a brief break from coaching, City University had just started a team and were advertising for a Head Coach and I am now entering my sixth season with the team.
What advice would you have for a person interested in playing American Football?
Be open to trying the sport without any stigma or expectation attached. The vast majority of players in this country have not played the sport prior to joining university. This is improving with the growth of the youth and junior game, but you will be trying a sport for the first time with dozens of other people in exactly the same position. American Football is the ultimate team sport and there is a position for everyone regardless of size, strength and speed. Try the sport, learn from the coaches and teammate and become part of a great sporting community. Also, be ready and willing to block and tackle opponents as hard as you can!
What are you looking forward to the most this season with the City Wolfpack?
The run up to Fresher’s Week is my favourite time of year. The adult season is winding down and the new influx of new students are around the corner and its always exciting to see who the new recruits are that want to become a part of the Wolfpack. Rookie days and trials are great fun to coach at before getting the kit on for the first time and seeing how the new players match up to the experienced players. It should be another great season for the Wolfpack.
Favourite NFL Team and why?
When I began playing football at university, I was given the nickname Flipper. This, plus the fact that Ace Ventura was one of my favourite films growing up, meant the Miami Dolphins seemed the obvious fit. We’ve not had much luck during the time I’ve supported them…
Favourite NFL Player and why?
If I was older, I’m certain I would have idolised Jerry Rice, arguably the greatest NFL player in history. But watching the NFL in the mid-2000’s meant that the 2 wide receivers who were at the top of their game were Randy Moss and Terrell Owens. In hindsight, I think Randy Moss was the better WR but I loved to watch T.O. play because he was so physical and loved to block. It was good to see them both inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame in 2018.