*One hundred high school football coaches visited Redskins Park on Wednesday for the fifth annual High School Coaches Clinic, which included instruction from former Redskins GM Charley Casserly. *
"What you do is more important than what I do."
The sentence was displayed on the last slide on Charley Casserly's PowerPoint presentation for the 100 local high school football coaches that had funneled into the Redskins Park auditorium Wednesday morning. Casserly, the former Redskins general manager and current NFL Network analyst, didn't qualify that message, even after expanding on his prestigious resume.
100 high school football coaches from Loudoun, Fairfax, Prince George's County and the District of Columbia attended practice at Redskins Park and were addressed by Bruce Allen, Charley Casserly, and coaches.
"I always said when I was here that anything I did pales in comparison to what coaches are doing," Casserly said. "They're developing the leaders of America for tomorrow."
Those in attendance, and those possibly just learning of their newfound importance, came from Loudoun, Fairfax and Prince George's counties and the District of Columbia for the fifth annual "High School Coaches Clinic," hosted by the Washington Redskins Charitable Foundation.
Coaches briefly observed practice in the team's Indoor Training Facility before Redskins President Bruce Allen gave an introductory welcome. Casserly followed with his keynote address, something similar to the lectures he still gives in his leadership classes at George Mason University.
For nearly 30 minutes, Casserly discussed several bullet points fundamental to having success in coaching and networking, improving professionally and staying motivated.
"The things that I stress to them are the fundamentals, teaching, and what I tell them is that there is no difference in coaching high school and in the National Football League. There really isn't," Casserly said. "Coaching is motivation. It's leadership. It's getting people to improve and develop at a position. It's discipline. It's getting a group to work together as a team, evaluating them, and it's using your personnel properly."
Redskins head coach Jay Gruden gave some words of encouragement and a brief background of his playing and coaching days before the group split up into breakout sessions with defensive coordinator Joe Barry, offensive coordinator Sean McVay and special teams coordinator Ben Kotwica.
There, branching out into various rooms of Redskins Park, coaches received more detailed and intimate lectures. Barry used the opportunity to explain his philosophy on defense, giving the term "Physical," one of several signs plastered over the defense meeting room walls, a more precise definition and description.
"There's always something you can pick up: a drill, or a technique, any little thing that we can see how practice is structured, some of the things they do to warm up," said Park View High School head coach Michael Mullins. "Any little thing we can do to make our practices better for our players is going to help us."
Check out these photos of the Redskins preparing for their Week 2 preseason matchup against the Detroit Lions Wednesday, Aug. 18, 2015, at Redskins Park in Loudoun County, Va.
Barry highlighted different methods of tackling and handed out ideas for non-contact drills, preaching to them what he does to his players. McVay took time explaining the specific plays, protections and schemes he uses in games, aided by an overhead and armed with football lingo that would make outsiders scratch their heads. The coaches understood.
"I know the time, the effort that these guys put into it," Barry said. "Really, they're doing it because they love it and they're not making millions of dollars, but they're making a huge impact not only in the game of football, but in society. They're teaching these guys life lessons, not just football lessons. I think anytime that I get a chance and I can talk to them and I can share with them anything that we do at the NFL level and then they can go back and implement it into them. Why wouldn't you be excited about that, helping guys and helping kids?"
'A great opportunity'
Once the information and teaching moments concluded, coaches ate lunch in the Redskins cafeteria, where they had a chance to reflect on the day and, as Casserly instructed, networked with each other.
"It's always beneficial for us coaches," said J.C. Pinkney of Frederick Douglas High School. "You get to learn something new from the professionals in the game and get to see some of the similarities and differences from those levels and so it's good to see people we aspire to be like."
Among the group, which represented 40 different schools, some coaches were used to being in an NFL environment. Former players Cato June, who won a Super Bowl with the Colts, and Lamont Reid, who played several years with the Cardinals and Broncos, attended on behalf of C.H Flowers and Anacostia High Schools, respectively.
Reid, who just recently took over head coaching responsibilities for June at Anacostia, has enjoyed his school's partnership with the Redskins, and specifically Robert Griffin III, who has hosted his annual summer football camp there the past two years.
"It's a great opportunity anytime that you see your fellow colleagues out learning to get better as coaches," Reid said. "It's an awesome thing. It's that time of the year. We're all fired up. We're excited to see the things our kids are capable of doing."
Before Casserly finished his address, he mentioned a story involving famed college coach Lou Holtz and how he made the jump from high school to college. Words like "networking" and "curiosity" were brought up, something June took to heart as he looks to potentially join an NFL coaching staff someday.
"When you leave football, there's no parade. It's just over," June said. "Getting into coaching is the next best thing and I had the opportunity to do that at my alma mater… and I want my assistant coaches to be head coaches. And I can say that I have at least one coach on my staff (Reid) that can say, high school-wise, [he's] under the Cato June tree."