Minority Coaches Association of Georgia executive director Ahmand Tinker is upbeat discussing the organization’s annual football coaches conference.
The two-day event starts Thursday at the Elizabeth Bradley Turner Center on the campus of Columbus State University.
Tinker has put together another A-list group of speakers including first-year University of Georgia coach Kirby Smart, University of North Carolina coach Larry Fedora and University of Tennessee coach Butch Jones.
In recent years, the conference has become a popular destination for SEC coaches with Nick Saban, Gus Malzahn, Kevin Sumlin, Mark Richt and Jim McElwain all participating in the event.
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“Building relationships is what coaching is all about from college coaches to little league,” Tinker said. “It’s all one big fraternity.”
After a brief two-year stint in Atlanta, the conference returned to its “home base” Columbus in 2013 where it quickly established itself as a premiere destination for youth and high school coaches to connect with their colleagues from the college ranks in an intimate setting.
While the event’s attendance numbers have steadily increased — attendance has more than tripled since the first year — the number of coaches in the audience remains at a modest number.
“The last couple years we have averaged 200 to 300 over the course of the two days,” Tinker said. “It’s about where we want it to be. We love the idea of it being a conversation. We talk about certain clinics being Walmart-types. We want to be more of a mom and pop shop. We want coaches to meet each other and have that interaction and engagement.”
Auburn continues to support the event with coach Gus Malzahn sending four of his assistants this week. Malzahn attended the conference in 2014 and former defensive coordinator Will Muschamp was a speaker last year.
The program’s new linebackers coach Travis Williams will participate in a panel Thursday night along with University of Georgia’s running backs coach Dell McGee and University of Alabama secondary coach Derrick Ansley about transitioning from the high school ranks to college.
“I don’t think a lot of people even realize that Travis or Derrick coached high school football,” Tinker said.
Registration on Thursday begins at 5:30 p.m. and Friday at 9 a.m. The fee for an individual high school coach is $80 with a staff discount (for five or more coaches) dropping the price down to $70 per person.
The cost for recreational league and middle school coaches is $45.
Confirmed speakers for 2016
- University of Georgia coach Kirby Smart
- University of North Carolina coach Larry Fedora
- Troy University coach Neal Brown
- Alabama A&M University coach James Spady
- University of Tennessee coach Butch Jones
- Alabama State University coach Brian Jenkins
- U.S. Naval Academy outside linebackers coach Lt. Col Robert Green
- Auburn University linebackers coach Travis Williams
- Auburn University defensive line coach Rodney Garner
- Auburn University secondary coach Wesley McGriff
- Auburn University wide receivers coach Kodi Burns
- University of Tennessee linebackers coach Tommy Thigpen
- University of North Carolina running backs coach Larry Porter
- University of North Carolina co-offensive coordinator Chris Kapilovic
- University of North Carolina secondary coach Charlton Warren
- University of Alabama secondary coach Derrick Ansley