FEATURING COACH DAVE LENTI (DOUBLE GOOD) AND COACH CHRIS COUGHLIN (GLAZIER)
Double Good Virtual Fundraising recently partnered with Glazier Clinics, an organization whose mission has been to bring coaches the best football education in the nation since 1976. Together, we are doubling down on our investment in the Football Coaching Community by offering scholarships for 75 underfunded high schools and 20 youth football leagues, including access to all Glazier in-person clinics, Glazier Drive, Glazier Academy online resources, and the Double Good Popcorn Donation Program.
As part of this partnership, our very own Coach Dave Lenti, Head of Partnerships, attended and spoke at this year’s in-person clinics in Atlanta, Indianapolis, and Chicago.
Three months into this exciting new partnership, we hosted a conversation between Glazier Clinics’ CEO, Chris Coughlin, and Coach Dave about the experience thus far and the further opportunities they see our partnership enabling.
COACH: So Chris, for our non-football customers, how do you describe Glazier clinics and the benefits football coaches receive?
CHRIS: Well, we wake up every day with the mission of helping coaches be better. We believe that sports done right is one of the few really positive cultural impacts on young people today. There are a lot of things going against young people. The coach is the tip of the spear in that part of the operation. If we can improve a coach, we can improve the benefits young athletes receive. If we train 60,000 coaches this year, we can touch a million athletes, improve their lives, and hopefully make them better, in our case, at football. So better dads, better citizens, better volunteers, better everything.
COACH: Yeah, that makes a lot of sense.
CHRIS: That’s the mission. But the in-person clinics are how we offer a tremendous amount of educational content. We’ll have between 6 and 10 concurrent speakers. We fill every hour from morning till night with content. If we have an extra nickel or a minute in the day, we’ll put it into more educational content to cover more subject areas. And beyond that, we do it digitally as well. So if you come to our clinics, you also get an enormous digital library.
COACH: So you have Glazier Drive and Glazier Academy. But you originally had just the Glazier Clinics. Can you talk a little bit about the motivation behind all these additional resources, from in-person clinics to the Glazier Drive to Glazier Academy?
CHRIS: Frank Glazier started football clinics in his basement in 1976. And I used to exhibit; I was with Rogers Athletics, and so I knew Frank. I started the Mega Clinics in ‘96, but after Frank passed away, I worked with his family and took over the Glazier Clinics sometime around 2003. But Frank and I had the same mission. We’re going to educate coaches at all cost. And we’re going to do it as inexpensively as possible to touch the most programs. So, we started with one clinic, one Mega Clinic, and eventually, pre-COVID, 34 Glazier Clinics.
But we’ve just continually tried to find new ways to reach coaches. I used to call every coach that didn’t come back – or at least tried to call back when people picked up their phone – and it was almost always a date conflict. So that pushed us into Glazier Clinics Online and Glazier Vault, and ultimately Glazier Drive. Glazier Academies is a new property that we’re just giving away to all 6,500 or so schools that do business with us. And that’s trying to touch every coach in the school, not just football, with what we call the soft skills of coaching. Educating parents, how to run a great practice, you know, really, things you might never think of. Like, what do you do at that first parents meeting to get the parents on your side? So tons and tons of lessons from, you know, people who’ve been coaching for a long, long time.
COACH: Something that jumps out here, Chris, is your passion for helping coaches. Where does that come from?
CHRIS: I am. I grew up in a small town in Michigan and didn’t really have good coaches. I didn’t have one that took an interest in me personally. And I had struggles as a kid, and man, what a good coach couldn’t have done to save me from some of those struggles and teach me some things. So I actually started coaching in college. Then as I began attending Glazier Clinics as a vendor and sitting in sessions and looking at the heart and the passion of so many of those coaches and what they could do for kids, it just lit the fire in me. Then I had kids myself. Being in my business, you couldn’t help but sit there and evaluate practice in your head and what you would do differently as a coach. And through it all, I was coaching youth sports and, eventually, varsity football, and it just grew and grew and grew. And, you know, Coach, you’ve probably seen it 1000 times with your length of service when you run into that 23-year-old who says they only stayed in school because of football. You hear stories like that; you get texts from kids graduating or having a child. I have one I pulled out of the church pew and taught to kick who kicks in the NFL now. And when he sends you the picture of him signing his contract, it just lights and re-lights that fire over and over and over again.
COACH: That’s an inspiring story, thanks for sharing, Chris. That brings a lot of meaning to what you’re doing, for sure.
So in a matter of eight weeks or so, you guys are jamming in 25 clinics. After that last clinic, I’m sure you sit down with some of your staff. How does that make you guys feel?
CHRIS: Well, tired, number one.
CHRIS: We usually end around that second weekend of March, so let’s call it March 10 to 14th. And then almost all of us try to get a week or two vacation in right after that. So that’s when you kind of get a chance to look back and say, “We got a lot done there; we touched 50, 60, 70,000 coaches,” which translates into a million plus kids.
COACH: You’re definitely impacting a lot of lives in a very short period of time. You have to be pretty selective about who you guys partner with. What did you like about Double Good where you felt we would be a good partner?
CHRIS: Well, number one… Alright, so this is going to sound like I’m sucking up, but they were smart enough to bring you along, Coach, right? So many people show up in football and don’t know anything about football, and you bring credibility.
But when I heard the origin story, and I don’t remember all the details, but I know your founder started out small and hustled and zigged and zagged and just made things happen, and now you can donate 2 million bags of popcorn a year. You resonated with my desire to impact schools that I call the have-nots who can’t afford things like Glazier Clinics. So all those things just clicked.
COACH: The partnership has been a great journey: we gave away 75 scholarships to underfunded high schools. We gave 20 scholarships to youth programs around the country. We’re exposing coaches at the clinics to the Double Good Popcorn Donation Program so they can bring donated popcorn back to their school’s faculty. With all these different aspects of our partnership, what really resonates with you the most?
CHRIS: You know, we give the coaches more than they pay for, right? We spend about 90% of our money on the coaches to bring tremendous value. So when a partner comes along and is willing to invest in our mission, that’s an investment in coach education. Compared to anyone before us, what we offer coaches is just so much more, and that’s because of partners like Double Good. That’s number one. Number two, I said it earlier, and I’ll say it again: those underfunded high schools. That’s a passion of mine.
Years ago, we pulled into a town for an away game, and I don’t know if I ever shared it with you, but I took a picture of the football sleds they were hitting, which looked like they were from 1970. They didn’t have covers on the pads. They were sort of duct-taped together and on a field that was like gravel. And I thought those people aren’t our customers because they couldn’t afford what we do. And I just made it my mission right then: we were going to find a way to identify and help those schools. So I think we’ll help, together, about 1,000 of those programs this year alone. And there are about 5,000. So that’s the most important thing we do together as partners.
COACH: At the end of the day, the more we can educate the coaches, that’s going to have a profound impact on the kids. And that is what’s really driving our mission to help kids do what they love to do.
CHRIS: Yes, exactly. Our vision is to help those schools and all schools by touching every coach, every parent, and every athlete.
COACH: That’s where Glazier and Double Good have a lot in common. Of course, there are a lot of ways to earn a living, but being mission-driven makes a significant difference. And it gives you a chance to really impact the world, which is special.
So I’ve had the great pleasure of speaking in Atlanta, Indianapolis, and Chicago, talking to some of the best coaches around the country, and one of the things that was very rewarding was giving those coaches access and exposure to the Popcorn Donation Program for first responders and essential workers. And if you’re talking about essential workers, teachers and coaches are at the top of that list. So it’s really rewarding to give those coaches an opportunity to bring free popcorn back to their schools.
CHRIS: You know, after I saw you in Atlanta, I went to Orlando. And I was standing with a group of coaches, and they were talking about exactly that. It was a diverse group of coaches, and a couple were from schools that didn’t have much. They were actually volunteering at the clinic in order to come because they wouldn’t be able to afford to, and they were so excited about that.
COACH: That’s fantastic! So as we continue with our relationship down the road, and who knows what 2024 will bring for us, Chris, how do you find additional scholarship recipients?
CHRIS: We’ve identified about 5,000 High Schools where 40% or more of the kids get free lunch or some type of lunch subsidy. And that’s a variety of schools, right?
We get registrations, and then the coaches call to cancel last minute because the school cut all conferences. We know, Coach, that when money’s tight, the school board will often cut funding for the development of their coaches and teachers. Now, that’s not always a poor school, either. So when you ask how we find more people, we just email people who couldn’t attend and ask if it’s the money. Because we don’t want them to miss out. We don’t want the kids to miss out. So we have lots of opportunities to find more scholarship recipients.
COACH: So with our partnership, what do you hope is the outcome at the end of the year?
CHRIS: Well, you guys took a little different approach than how we’ve partnered with anybody else. Together, we’ll find new ways to solve problems for people who can’t afford it while making our clinics better for those who can. We collect data; we break down our own coach film: we score every speaker, and we score every session.
COACH: All this coaching talk and you’re breaking down film and game planning and adjusting – you’ve got my heart pumping 100 miles an hour here, Chris; I’m ready to jump right back in it.
CHRIS: I know. Now I have to look at spreadsheets instead of Hudl.
COACH: But it definitely resonates because we always talk to our student athletes about those lessons. You have to adjust your game plan if you come up a little short of your goals. And that’s exactly what you’re talking about: if we’re not reaching our goals as a partnership, let’s readjust the game plan and see what we need to do differently. That’s how you win.
CHRIS: And if we crush our goals, we figure out if we need to aim higher.
COACH: Right! We don’t want to have average goals. If you have average goals, you’re at the top of the bottom or the bottom of the top. So you’ve got to reach for the stars.
Well, Chris, this has been great; we really appreciate you taking time with us.
CHRIS: Happy to do it!