Area high school football coaches had an opportunity to learn from their peers Saturday at the Saluki Football Spring Clinic.
The event, put on by SIU coach Dale Lennon and his staff, offered a chance for the coaches to see how a Saluki football practice is held and to listen to successful high school coaches. Speakers included Al Martin of DuQuoin, Mike Rude of Vienna, Kerry Martin of Marion and John Ivlow of Bolingbrook. Each coach has won at least one state championship during his career.
Lennon said attending clinics can be extremely beneficial for any coach, young or old.
“I think it’s important for young coaches to go to these clinics to see the profession and how it works,” he said. “It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been coaching, you’re going to take something away from it. You’re always going to learn something at a clinic.”
Mt. Vernon coach Jared Shaner completed his first year at the helm for the Rams last year, and he said this was the first time he came to a clinic at SIU. Shaner said he enjoyed the clinic because it was a great learning experience for himself and his seven assistants.
“As coaches, you try to come to these kinds of things to prepare for the future,” he said. “We might not run the same defenses or offensive system, but if you can pick up a little drill or a coaching point here or there, that’s what you want to do.”
Before this year, Shaner said he had always attended the spring clinic held at Illinois State. Although the format of the two was comparable, Shaner said he couldn’t help admiring the facilities at SIU.
“This being my first time here at Southern, I’ve noticed that things are set up very similarly,” he said. “You see a lot of the same types of things. It is neat to come here. This stadium’s only a year or two old now, and it’s a beautiful place to have some football.”
The day started with practice for the team and coaches were welcome to observe. Following practice, each speaker presented a specific facet of football that he had experience in.
Lennon said the players were excited to practice in front of the coaches, some of which had been their coaches in high school.
Quarterback Kory Faulkner said he had noticed extra enthusiasm from some of his teammates as well.
“I know some of the coaches here were these guys’ high school coaches. If my high school coach was here, I’d probably be trying a little bit harder just to impress him,” he said. “Being a competitor, when there are coaches out here that know what they are talking about and you are playing well, it’s exciting.”
The Salukis have one more week of practice before the Maroon and White Spring Game Friday at Saluki Stadium at 7 p.m.