From Early 1960’s to Today
Edited By Earl Browning
The Coach of the Year Football Clinics were founded by legendary Coaches Duffy Daugherty and Bud Wilkinson in the late 1950’s.
Bud Wilkinson – A graduate of the University of Minnesota in 1937 where he played football and was captain his senior year. He was an assistant coach at Syracuse University from 1937 to 1940. One of his payers was Hugh (Duffy) Daugherty. From 1942 to 1946 he was in the Navy and served time in the Pacific War Theater. In 1945 he was an assistant coach at the University of Oklahoma. He was named Head Coach at Oklahoma in 1947. He lead his teams to three National Championships and had a 55 game winning streak at one time. He served as the Director of President John F. Kennedy’s Council on Physical Fitness from 1961 to 1964. He ran an unsuccessful bid for the U. S. Senate from Oklahoma in 1964. He resigned as Head Coach at Oklahoma in 1964. In 1965, he was a TV Analyst for ABC Sports. From 1969 to 1971 he was the Special Consultant to President Richard Nixon. In 1978 and 1978 and 1979 he coaches the St. Louis Cardinals of the NFL. He was inducted in to the National Football Foundation College of Fame as well as many other honorary groups.
Hugh (Duffy) Daugherty – A native of Pennsylvania and a 1940 graduate of Syracuse University where he was captain of the 1939 team. He served in World War II in the U. S. Army from 1941 to 1946. He received the Bronze Star in the Army. He returned to Syracuse as an assistant football coach in 1946 serving under Coach Clarence “Biggie” Munn. He moved to Michigan State with Coach Munn in 1947, and was named Head Coach of the Spartans in 1954. His team won the 1955 Rose Bowl. He lead Michigan State two the National Championship in 1965 and again in 1996. He was elected to the National Football Foundation College Hall of Fame.
With the tremendous success the two coaches had with other football coaches they were constantly in demand for speaking engagements. Both started doing football clinics in their recruiting areas during the winter season. Bud did most of his clinics in Oklahoma and Texas, while Duffy held clinics in the Michigan area. The two coaches were spending a tremendous amount of time on the road with their clinic engagements. They came to an agreement that instead of traveling every weekend for months on end, they decided to set up a series of weekend clinics running two or three clinics a weekend for a specified period of time each year.
They established “The Coach of the Year Clinics”- three per weekend on four successive weekends in January and February. The Coach of the Year Clinics started on Friday evening at 7:00 PM and closed on Sunday by noon. The idea Bud and Duffy developed was to assure the schools systems the coaches would not miss a great amount of school time in order to attend the clinics.
The clinics were very intensive presentations for high school and college coaches and were designed to teach innovations in the game to coaches throughout the country. The first clinics were sponsored by Kodak, then Kellogg’s, and next was Champion Products. The first clinics were held in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and Dallas, Texas. Soon San Francisco, Atlanta, and Santa Monica were added. As the clinics became even more popular, other sites were added in the early years including Minneapolis, Chicago, Pittsburgh, Washington, D. C., St. Louis, and Memphis, Tennessee, bringing the total to 12 clinics across the country.
In December of 1959, I attended the Football Banquet at Manual High School in Louisville, Kentucky. Manual High School won the Kentucky State Championship that year. On that Manual, team was Sherman Lewis. Sherman had signed a scholarship to attend Michigan State University and Duffy Daugherty, the head coach at Michigan State was the speaker at that banquet.
The head coach at Manual High was Tom Harper. Tom and I were close friends through our wives. Tom’s wife Coral, and my wife Sally, and I grew up in Logan, West Virginia. Coral and Sally were best friends. In fact, we lived on the same street in Louisville.
Sherman Lewis went to Michigan State in 1960 and completed his freshman year. In July of 1961, Tom Harper called to tell me he was going to meet with Duffy Daugherty. He asked me to go with him to the meeting to meet with Duffy afterwards.
After that meeting in 1961, Tom and I met with Duffy and he asked Tom if he would be interested in starting a football clinic in Louisville. The Coach of the Year Clinics founded by Duffy Daugherty and Bud Wilkinson had successful clinics in Grand Rapids, Atlanta, Georgia, Dallas, Santa Monica, Pittsburgh, Washington, D. C., and San Francisco. They had a clinic in Memphis but it did not draw well. Duffy wanted to move the Memphis Clinic to Louisville. Tom agreed to do the clinic and he asked me to assist him with the first Louisville Clinic in February of 1962.
Tom coached at Manual High School through 1964, before moving to Eastern Kentucky University as an assistant coach in 1965. Later he was an assistant at Oklahoma State, head coach at Wake Forest, assistant coach at Iowa State, North Carolina, Virginia Tech, and Clemson. He died in 1989.
Because Tom was involved in college coaching outside of Louisville, Tom asked Duffy and Bud to have me take over as the Louisville Clinic Director. I had served as Assistant Director, and handled most of the daily operations of the Louisville Clinic since Tom had moved on to college coaching. They agreed and officially, I became the Louisville Clinic Director in the summer of 1974.
In the mid 1980’s Duffy Daugherty bought Bud Wilkinson’s share of the Coach of the Year Clinic. Duffy had moved to Santa Barbara, California by that time. In August 1987, Duffy called me and told me he was not going to be able to do the clinics in 1988 because of a diabetic problem. He asked me to work with Coach Bill Yeoman of the University of Houston to keep the clinics going until he could get back the next year. Bill was an assistant under Duffy at Michigan State and a very good friend of the family. Duffy asked me to work with the other clinic managers to assist Bill as much as we could until he returned.
In early September of that year, Duffy called me again. He said the doctors wanted him to go on dialysis but he was not going to do that because of the quality of life it presented. He asked me to help keep the clinics going and to work with Bill Yeoman so Francis Daugherty would have an income after he was gone. He told me to keep the Clinic Manual going and to work with the other clinic directors to make sure the clinics continued. I assured Duffy I would do everything I could to see that the clinics kept going. I told him all of the Clinic Directors felt the same as I did in that respect. Duffy died on September 25, 1987, and Bill Yeoman ran the clinics for a couple of years.
Bill Yeoman ran the clinics for a few years with Francis Daugherty very involved in then financial operations of the clinic. Bill Yeoman did an outstanding job of keeping the 12 clinics together. During that time Seattle and Denver had joined the clinics.
Johnny Majors was a long time friend with Duffy and had spoken many times on the Coach of the Year Clinics. When John Majors won the National Championship with Pitt in 1976, he spoke at all 12 of the Clinics the next year in 1977. Later Johnny Majors and George Perles, whom had played and coached for Duffy at Michigan State, and a few others, bought the Coach of the Year Clinics from Francis Daugherty to make sure she received a fair price for the clinics and would not have to be involved in the operations of the clinics.
Loran Smith of the University of Georgia was one of those involved in buying the clinics with John Majors. Loran became the National Clinic Director for a few years. Loran Smith still works with the University of Georgia Media and is the sideline reporter for Bulldog Football Games.
Chuck Rohe who had coached track at the University of Tennessee when John Majors was the Head Football Coach took over as National Clinic Director when Loran Smith had to give up the clinics because of health problems. At the time, Chuck was the CEO of the Citrus Bowl in Orlando, Florida. Chuck is still the National Clinic Director and runs the Orlando Coach of the Year Clinic.
John Majors and the present owners have continued the Clinic Manual set up that we had with Duffy from 1975. Today we have 21 Nike Coach of the Year Clinics. The Michigan Clinic in now held in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan at the Casino. The Birmingham Clinic moved to Tunica, Mississippi Caisnos. We now have clinics in Charlotte, Long Island, and Minneapolis.
Over the years we have had clinics in several other cities including Turtle Bay – Hawaii, Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Belterra Casino – Indiana, Chicago, Philadelphia, Kalamazoo, Boston, Birmingham, New Orleans, Myrtle Beach, SC, and Baton Rouge.
Paul Smarks was the Clinic Manager of the first Grand Rapids Clinic, and Charlie Dyer was the Clinic Manager of the first Dallas Clinics. Other Clinic Directors include Bill Russell of Santa Monica, Bob Troppmann of the San Francisco Clinic, Pete Dimperio Sr. of the Pittsburgh Clinic, Bob Roy of Minneapolis, Ed Kintz of Denver, Dwight Keith of Atlanta, Ed Velten of St. Louis, Bud Breed of Kalamazoo, Jim Stehlin of Boston, Ralph Ricapito of Philadelphia, Tom Winecki of Chicago, Ross Merrick of Washington, D. C., and Tom Harper, Louisville, until 1974.
In the summer of 1974 Earl Browning became the Clinic Director. Soon after Pete Dimperio, Jr. took over in Pittsburgh. Don Lessner took over the Michigan Clinic and moved it to the Casino in Mt. Pleasant. John Burke took over the Denver Clinic and added the Las Vegas Clinic to the list of clinics.
A list of the 21 Nike Coach of the Year Clinics and important information is listed on our website: www.nikecoyfootball.com