Annual AFCA Convention Thoughts

By FirstDown PlayBook on Jan 9, 2024

We have been on the go here at FirstDown PlayBook so we are a little behind on our blogging. One of the things that has had us on the go so much was that we attended the AFCA convention in Nashville.

I had a revealing moment on our first day in Nashville. I saw a post on Twitter (intentional) where someone was posting that this was their 15th AFCA convention. It got me thinking about how many I had attended over the years. That’s when I realized that if I had attended every one it would be 40.

Just to put this in context, my two co-workers along with me were not born when I attended my first AFCA convention. It got me thinking about the conventions when I would walk by, or get in an elevator with Tom Osborne, Lou Holtz or Vince Dooley and be frozen in total amazement.

Having admitted this, here are some observations A 63 year old veteran football coach has about what I saw in Nashville…

So Many Great Humans Young & Old In Our Professions At The AFCA Convention

We had a lot of traffic at our booth this year and obviously we were pumped about that. Two FirstDown PlayBook coaches who absolutely love our football playbook tool stopped by. One was 23 and the other was 73.

Here at FirstDown PlayBook we took big notice of this. Two coaches born a half a century apart who not only use FirstDown PlayBook, but made a point to come by and tell us that. Both of these coaches are people that make our profession proud. I’m not going to name them, but It just reinforced what we have always known. Our profession has and always will produce good people.

Too Many Asses & Not Enough Chairs

It has always been like this, but it has taken on a new dimension. Getting in a football office has always been hard. I will always be thankful for my lucky day that Mack Brown allowed me in at Appalachian State.

Young Coach

What I notice now is that there are so many youngsters in the Power 5 football offices that, I wonder what they do? It’s not hard to see how idle time could do a young coach and a program harm. That is just my observation. These buildings should be hard to get into and provide plenty of work that weeds out some. That is how our business has always worked and I hope it stays that way.

The Transfer Portal Will Cost Our Profession Dearly

As I write this, Nick Saban has retired. Okay, what does Nick Saban have left to prove? How much more money can Nick Saban make? There are many reasons why Nick Saban may be retiring. Heck, he might just want to see his family more, but here is where and why we better be careful.

Our profession has always provided a good coach an avenue to challenge a young player to get better as a person and a player. Any good parent understands the same things a football coach does about raising kids between the college freshman year and after. I sincerely hope we have not run Nick Saban and others like him out of our business.

More importantly, I hope we are giving our young coaches a chance to affect lives like we have over the years. I do know this. When I go to the AFCA convention I still see a future. A future full of young coaches who will carry on our traditions regardless of what we throw at them.

Special Teams Coach Gerry Gallagher