Buffalo Wild Wings September 2016 Coach of the Month: Jamie Willis, Long Reach Football
Jamie Willis, who has coached the Long Reach football team in Howard County to a 6-0 start, is the County Sports Zone/Buffalo Wild Wings Coach of Month for September.
The team's fast start represents a seismic change in fortunes for the Lightning. Long Reach is not known for being a perennial powerhouse in Howard County, and just last season finished 2-8.
This season has been a completely different story, as the Lightning have beaten traditionally successful teams like Oakland Mills and River Hill. Through six weeks, Long Reach sits atop the MPSSAA Class 3A East regional playoff standings.
"The reason we're having the season we're having is because of the hard work the kids have put in. They understand the expectations that we have for them and where we're trying to take this," Willis said. "Our kids continue to work hard, grow and try to do the things the coaches ask of them."
Coach Willis is from Berea, Ohio. As a player, Coach Willis played tight end at Youngstown State for future Ohio State coach Jim Tressell. He was a member of the team that won the NCAA Division I-AA national championship in 1991.
Coach Willis has been coaching for over 20 years. He coached at a plethora of colleges including Otterbein College, Bowling Green State University, until eventually landing back at Youngstown State.
When his wife, Beverly, got a job in the Baltimore area, Coach Willis moved to Maryland. He's been the head coach at Long Reach for the past four years, and he teaches special education at the school as well.
"I love the multi-cultural community we have at Long Reach, and the staff is great people to be around," Willis said. "It's a special place to coach."
His players commended Coach Willis for not only being a great tactical coach, but for being a mentor too.
"He loves his players, and he's someone I appreciate because he'll help you out through thick and thin," senior linebacker Greg Benton Jr. said. "I love being around him, he's a great coach."
Coach Willis learned to be that kind of coach from the coaches he had growing up. He credits his coaches for having a huge impact in him becoming the person he is today.
His hope is to have that same impact on his players.
"I love the camaraderie I get to have with the kids. I get to learn and grow with them," Willis said. "I'm just trying to help kids reach their full potential and their goals to be successful, not only as football players, but as citizens of the community."
For being named County Sports Zone/Buffalo Wild Wings Coach of the Month, Coach Willis received a gift certificate, sauces and a hat from Buffalo Wild Wings, as well as a County Sports Zone t-shirt.
If you'd like to make a nomination for next month's County Sports Zone/Buffalo Wild Wings Coach of The Month, click here.
Congratulations to Coach Willis!
|October 11th, 2016||By: Wick Eisenberg|