The Washington Redskins Charitable Foundation on Friday hosted the third annual High School Coaches Clinic for 100 high school coaches from the Washington, D.C., region.
In the midst of the preseason, the Washington Redskins are still in their building phase – coaches continue to scout the roster, take notes during games and practice and preach unity that will become vital for the year ahead.
It's a comforting notion for DuVal High School football head coach Carlos Lockwood, who was one of roughly 100 coaches to take in the team's third annual High School Coaches Clinic presented by Inova Sports Medicine at the Inova Sports Performance Center at Redskins Park on Friday.
"For me, I like stuff like this because it's always about building, being a sponge," Lockwood said. "Even for me being a head coach, I can always learn and when you hear the same things from the guys at the higher level, it just always hits home."
The clinic, which was hosted by the Washington Redskins Charitable Foundation, allowed local high school coaches to watch the Redskins complete Friday's walkthrough practice prior to a speaker's panel that included many special guests and lunch in the team dining room.
Redskins President Bruce Allen kicked things off with a brief introduction followed by head coach Jay Gruden, who chatted about what he looks for in athletes – effort and consistent work habits were primary themes – before lending the stage to special teams coordinator Ben Kotwica, offensive coordinator Matt Cavanaugh and defensive coordinator Greg Manusky.
Together, the three of them addressed a wide range of topics, including what they learned from their high school coaches to balancing the stresses of their jobs with their families. The high school coaches, who came from Virginia, Maryland and Washington, D.C., took notes and photos, returning home with bullet points to teach their student-athletes.
100 high school coaches were invited to Redskins Park to watch walkthroughs, followed by a panel of all three coordinators, to discuss trends and topics in high school coaching. Doug Williams also provided a keynote address.
Later, EXOS Performance Director of Pro Sports, Brent Callaway, ran through a PowerPoint with slides dedicated to movement, nutrition, mindset and recovery, valuable tenets the company has dedicated their time to prepare athletes to perform at their best.
Before breaking for lunch, Super Bowl MVP and current Senior Vice President of Player Personnel Doug Williams shared a few stories about his time as a high school head coach (he had an undefeated team at Northeast High School in Zachary, La.) and the challenges and joys of the position. The former quarterback was a hit, providing insight and humor for 15 minutes and encouraging those in front of him to be ambassadors for their communities.
"Doug's iconic," Lockwood said. "Just to hear him speak about his childhood and what was going on back home and how meaningful it was for that team he had to go undefeated. Some of those guys never played collegiately or in the pros, but that's what brings back that community is high school football."
Also in attendance was Dunbar High School's head football coach Matthew Vaughn, in charge of the program that Redskins tight end Vernon Davis called his growing up. Watching practice and roaming the halls where Davis walks, Vaughn was grateful to be among a community of high school coaches and see Davis up close again.
"He's made a tremendous impact on the community as well as the school," Vaughn said. "We use Vernon as the standard of where the kids want to be and what they want to do. He's a great role model for the kids and he does a lot for the community. I'm proud to be here to watch him today and the kids, we always talk about Vernon and the things that he's done, and the way he went about his business and the way he still goes about his business and the way he represents the school, community and the Redskins."