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  • Writer's pictureTerry O'Neil

Michigan Leaders Setting Torrid Pace

PLP founder Terry O'Neil presented Thursday evening to the Michigan High School Football Coaches Association (MHSFCA) annual Winners' Circle Clinic in the Lansing Center, two blocks from the state capitol (see above).

Earlier that day, O'Neil met with Michigan High School Athletic Association (MHSAA) executive director Mark Uyl, MHSFCA executive director Larry Merx and MHSFCA Board member Brad Bush at MHSAA headquarters in Lansing.  Uyl committed to endorse PLP's recommended contact limits in a presentation this Thursday, January 24, to the annual meeting of the MHSAA Football Committee. Merx and Bush are both members of the committee.

Under current regulations, Michigan allows 15 full-contact practices in pre-season, four full-contact scrimmages and 90 minutes of full contact per week in regular season.  In bold contrast, the MHSFCA Board of Directors, at a November 30 meeting in Traverse City, unanimously approved PLP's definition of full contact (full pads/full speed/taking players to the ground...."thud" is not full contact) and ratified PLP's recommended limits:

  • no full contact in spring/summer/off-season

  • 6 hours total, including scrimmage(s) in pre-season

  • 15 minutes per week in regular- and post-season

"This Michigan leadership means business," said O'Neil.  "In less than two months, the state coaches' association has endorsed reduced contact, we've presented to their annual clinic, the executive director of the MHSAA has added his support, and the MHSAA Football Committee will consider this week.  They're setting a record pace."

The urgency was described by Bush, who was inducted during the weekend into theMHSFCA Hall of Fame after compiling a 169-60 record in 21 seasons as head coach, then transitioning to athletic director at Chelsea (MI) High School.  About practice contact reductions, he said simply, "This is important."

The final word belonged to Coach John Herrington, age 77, the only head coach in the 49-year history of Farmington Hills Harrison High School.  Herrington retired two months ago after the school board announced that his school will close in June.  His career record, an astounding 443-112-1, including 13 state championships, confirms him as the most successful coach in Michigan football history.  His comment:  "I saw the Practice Like Pros presentation in Traverse City, and I saw it again tonight here in Lansing.  I enjoyed it both times." 

Two Appearances Added

PLP has added two appearances to its winter schedule.

First is a Friday, February 15, presentation to the NIKE Coach of the Year/Mid-South Clinic at the Goldstrike Casino & Hotel in Tunica, MS.  Clinic director Larry Blackmonhas given PLP a precious agenda slot directly ahead of Dabo Swinney, coach of the 2018 National Champion Clemson Tigers.

"In this current off-season," said Terry O'Neil, "there is no more coveted piece of real estate than a position adjacent to Dabo Swinney.  Deep thanks to Larry Blackmon."

Six days later, Thursday, February 21, O'Neil will play golf with South Carolina high school coaches and present to their South Carolina Football Coaches Association (SCFCA) Winter Clinic in Myrtle Beach.

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