Make no mistake, I've been to the Ohio High School Football Coaches Clinic held in Columbus each year and must say it's impressive. High School head and assistant coaches from across Ohio gather for a few days to improve their programs by listening to several head college coaches and some assistant coaches about drills, plays or other skills in building a solid program.
The headline speaker each year is Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel and rightfully so. As the head coach of the state university and a longtime supporter of the coaches association, Tressel is known for his crowd gathering abilities with a "Godfather" like appeal. But while Tressel has enjoyed the spotlight over the past several years, there is also a new coach who is showing the ability to pull in crowds during his scheduled speaking time and Ohio high school coaches are listening while learning how Brian Kelly is fast becoming one of the top college coaches at the Division One level.
"Brian Kelly spoke with a standing room only crowd as he talked about building a program," said one Southwest Ohio high school coach. "He spoke about how they took over the program and won ten games this past season while being in the hunt for a Big East Championship and also a BCS game. You could tell the coaches were real excited about hearing what Coach Kelly had to say and he impressed many of them."
It's often being said the success of the Cincinnati football program lies within the state lines of Ohio. With Ohio having such a great base for high school talent a college coach hoping to compete for the elite prospects in the state must have all of his bases covered. Brian Kelly and his staff are doing just that as they continue to be part of the Ohio High School Football Coaches Association bringing their own thoughts and ideas to a crowd of hungry coaches looking to improve their high school programs.
For the second year Brian Kelly has show why his speaking abilities rival those of any other college coach as the high school coaches in attendance listen taking notes and then wanting to learn more from Kelly. He gives as much time as he's allowed and can be seen talking with more coaches after he speaks until their broken up. But it's not just Kelly who takes part in this events as a few of the Bearcats assistant coaches are also former members of the coaches association and use the time to catch up with old friends talking about the building of Ohio only other BCS program.
While you can't place return numbers of what a day like this could mean to the program today. The long term payoff is huge as more high school coaches learn Cincinnati is a place they can send their players to find success on and off the field.