Coach Storm Q&A Session
Please describe your football playing career.
My Football playing career started when I was 7 years old for the Eastland Vikings organization. The first time I was ever in Chicago area was when I was 10 years old. We came to play another undefeated and underscored on team at the time, Buffalo Grove Bills. I never remembered the name of who we played but years later after graduating college and moving to the area I happened to be driving down Lake Cook road when I moved here 20 years later, and I recognized the field from when I was a kid. I had to pull over right then man, every time I tell the story I get chills. Went home and dug up the program from the game and confirmed it was Buffalo Grove. Played both fullback and inside linebacker until high school and through high school starting both ways at those same positions and never left the field at any level.
I was fairly heavily recruited by big schools including Ohio State as a high school sophomore starting both ways. I had offers from three MAC schools, but I knew where I was going and nothing else mattered. I walked on at Ohio State University and played outside linebacker, strong safety and special teams for the Buckeyes under both Earl Bruce and John Cooper. I was fortunate enough to be a team captain as well.
How long have you been working with BOOM?
I've been with Boom since its inception 8 years ago
When/how did you hear about the organization?
Matt Sinclair coaching with the organization but took a job with the University of Illinois so they needed a defensive coach. Lonny brought me to one of the first practices and I guess they liked what I brought to the organization. I pretty much stuck on the first few years and just kept learning more and more every year from Mike. I keep learning more and getting better season by season.
What is your current role with the organization?
I have coached at every level of the Boom organization, and I am now the defensive coordinator of the top defense (BOOM Black) and also a minority owner now as well.
How many titles have you won as a coach?
I have won many tournaments including five regional championships along with two National Championships with BOOM Yellow.
What has been your favorite tournament victory?
My favorite tournament victory by far was the Pro Football Hall of Fame inaugural National Championship.
Most humbling experience as a member of the organization?
Most Humbling experience had to be getting smacked down at the NFA regional in Bradenton during our first tourney of the season in 2017. We started 0-2 in pool play and were done early on Sunday. I wanted to fire myself.
What separates the youth program from the 18u teams?
The youth program has really picked it up under Bert's leadership the last few years. He runs it like a machine man, very organized and efficient. The biggest difference I would say is the number of athletes and talent level they get compared to the high school teams. They get about half the kids at their tryouts. The competition used to be very scarce but as the sport grows so does the competition level for the youth teams. The number of teams competing in tourneys and level of talent isn't quite as high at the youth levels but again it’s getting there more and more every season.
How does BOOM compare to other organizations?
I think Boom is widely considered the number one youth and off-season football training program anywhere. The level of talent we get at both youth and high school with skilled players and lineman is pretty special. We have some of the smartest and most passionate coaches littered throughout the organization. It’s not an accident when coaches leave us they end up coaching in college. Other organizations typically compliment us on what we do. I am confident that pretty much every college at every level knows who Boom is and now we are getting the respect of most of the Division 1 schools in the Midwest. We still remain humble and hungry to learn and to teach and get better together.
What is the most rewarding part of working with BOOM?
The most rewarding part of the Boom for me is seeing the progression of the kids from the time we get them until they leave us. I think we all love to see the offers come in one by one and their hard work paying off. These are some of the hardest working kids anywhere, some work 6 or 7 days a week and still practice and go to school. I love watching kids that played for us and will watch them all day on long on Saturdays at colleges all over the country. Seems like nearly every single game that is on has at least one Boom athlete playing and now we get to watch them in the NFL too. None of the coaches get paid to do what we do, every single coach that coaches with Boom is doing it for the right reasons. JR and Mike keep the cost down so every kid can afford to play that makes the team and that to me is just special and I love being a part of it. I feel like my pay is watching these kids get paid with scholarships. We don't get them scholarships but we put them on the stage for the world to see them!
How have you spent time during COVID-19?
During the pandemic I've tried to establish good habits like exercising every day and eating dinner with my family every day. I also try to call or text my family, friends and team quite often too. Hoping to get a few more 7-on-7 tournaments in before school starts.