11th Annual Alabama Football Coaches Association Convention

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The 11th annual convention of the Alabama Football Coaches Association kicks off Thursday at the Embassy Suites Hotel in downtown Montgomery with a new corporate sponsor as the Raycom Media Camellia Bowl has thrown its support behind the popular high school coaches’ clinic.

“We do a youth clinic in the summer to give underprivileged kids an opportunity to be exposed to the sport of football and then our other strategic plan for our bowl is to have our own coaches’ clinic,” Camellia Bowl executive director Johnny Williams said. “Well, when I looked around, I explained back to our superiors that we would rather partner because I knew about their organization.

“Virtually every high school coach in the state, at least 90 percent of them, participate and I knew the (financial) need was there so we came on board as one of their sponsors. We hope it’s a long-term commitment to give back to the sport of football and help those coaches to keep doing a great job and encourage the kids to come out and play the game.”

The convention opens on Thursday with appearances by Alabama High School Athletic Association executive director Steve Savarese, Auburn University football coach Gus Malzahn, University of Alabama football coach Nick Saban and Jacksonville State University football coach John Grass.

ALFCA executive director Jack Wood said he was thrilled to have the Camellia Bowl offer their support by becoming a sponsor.

“I think they thought they ought to be doing something in the way of a clinic, which is kind of counterproductive because we’ve got a pretty big deal,” Wood said. “So they became a sponsor.

“We’re thrilled to death with the relationship. It’s good for Alabama, it’s good for Alabama football. That’s what we’re for. They want to give back to the community and to the coaches and they’re doing that by helping to sponsor our convention and our clinic. It’s a great partnership.”

The convention runs through Saturday when high school coaches of the year from each classification are honored for their work in 2015. The organization will also honor several veteran coaches with the annual ALFCA Lifetime Achievement Award, which has recognized some of the state’s best high school football coaches since 2008.

Camellia Bowl officials believe they can only grow their game through support of high school and collegiate football programs. One way they do that is by honoring a college coaching legend at their annual pre-game banquet. Another way is to offer tickets to high school programs for players and coaches to attend the annual matchup between Sun Belt and Mid-American programs. Now, the bowl hopes to get involved in the teaching aspect of the game as well.

“This year, we reached out to all the schools and made a limited number of tickets available for them to bring their team to the game,” Williams said. “That’s something we’ll continue to do annually. And we’ll probably assist (ALFCA officials) with speakers and from our platform bring in people who can help educate the coaches on the marketing and promotions part of their sport. Hopefully, we’ll be heavily engaged in helping them to grow their organization. The purpose of a coaching clinic is to learn so hopefully we can learn from each other.”

Wood said the two sides will get together this weekend to plan future involvement from bowl officials.

“Looking forward, there may be some things we can do to expand it some and we’d like to do that,” he said. “We’ve talked about some things we can do, from a TV spot to an ad in the (bowl) program, but any visibility we can get would be great.

“We’re just getting it started. We’ll know a lot more after this year’s convention, what we can do.”

Support Staff Member Invited to Super Bowl

When National Football League officials asked Dante Tyson-Bey for help at the Super Bowl, Alabama State University’s head equipment manager didn’t hesitate.

The job didn’t offer any pay, but it was an opportunity Tyson-Bey couldn’t refuse.

“Working at the next level is always a great opportunity,” he said. “You’ve got coaches and players who have played the game and never get to the Super Bowl in their careers, so it was exciting for me.”

Tyson-Bey had worked as a voluntary assistant at Super Bowl XLVI in Indianapolis, but this time it was a different role and a different setting.

“I was just helping with headsets,” he said. “Headsets are very difficult. If the headsets don’t work, the coaches can’t communicate so you have to go in and hook them up, but each headset is different. Like, our headsets here are $65,000. Their headsets are way over $100,000, maybe $200,000.

“I love doing headsets but it’s a heck of a job. People don’t see behind the scenes what the equipment managers do on game day or the week leading up to the game. We do a lot of work. A lot of work.”

In his previous Super Bowl work, Tyson-Bey had worked with the replay booth at Lucas Oil Stadium, a job he was somewhat familiar with after spending a year on the equipment staff of the Colts a decade ago. This time, his work with the Super Bowl would take place at the 49ers’ new stadium in Santa Clara, Calif.

“It’s the first time I’ve ever been to San Francisco and Santa Clara, where they played the game, is just down the road,” Tyson-Bey said. “It was awesome. The weather was great in the day time. But at night, the weather changes so fast. It was a great experience, it was exciting.

“I was just glad to be there, to see a lot of the celebrities and the different people. We got a chance to go out a couple of times and they have all types of parties. We got a chance to mingle, do a lot of networking.”

Tyson-Bey is now in his eighth year with the Hornets, overseeing the athletic equipment room and locker room facilities while maintaining the Hornets’ equipment and surpervising his equipment staff. Prior to joining the Hornets, he worked in a similar position at Alcorn State in 2007 and 2008.

Before that, most of his work was in the professional arena, working with the NBA’s Detroit Pistons, the WNBA’s Detroit Shock, the Colts (2004) and the Jacksonville Jaguars (2005-06) in the National Football League and the Arena Football’s Grand Rapid Rampage and Detroit Fury.

“The NBA championship, it’s exciting,” he said, “but the Super Bowl? It’s a whole other level.”

Tyson-Bey stays busy with the Hornets, but loves the opportunity to mingle at high-profile events. (While at the Super Bowl, he spent time with former Hornet assistant coach Dexter Jackson). That’s one of the reasons he enjoys working as the practice coordinator for the Raycom Media Camellia Bowl, which gives him an opportunity to visit with administrators and equipment managers from Sun Belt and Mid-American teams.

“Mr. Williams heard my name from somebody and they gave me a call,” he said. “I’ve been doing it ever since. That’s exciting, too, and it’s the whole week. I appreciate Mr. Johnny Williams helping me out with that.”

Williams, the executive director of the bowl, said he first encountered Tyson-Bey at a bowl-sponsored youth clinic held at Alabama State.

“He came on board then as part of our team,” Williams said. “He’s been a very vital part of our team. He coordinates with the teams about their practices and the logistics with their equipment. He’s been a very, very useful addition not only for our game week but for all of our events because equipment managers are ‘get-it-done’ kind of guys, whether it’s setting up our golf tournament or delivering products to different venues.”

But all of his local work pales in comparison to working at the Super Bowl. And while the job was voluntary, the National Football League paid for his travel and accomodations, an opportunity he hopes will return next year.

“I just went out there and tried to do my best,” he said. “It was exciting for me and for somebody to give me that opportunity is always a pleasure. I really appreciate it.”


Raycom Media Camellia Bowl Set For Sat, Dec 17

Four Bowl Games Kick Off Opening Day

ESPN Events, a division of ESPN, has determined the date, time and network for each of the company’s 13 owned and operated bowl games for the 2016 season. Four bowls on Saturday, Dec. 17 kick off ESPN Events’ bowl season – Air Force Reserve Celebration Bowl, Gildan New Mexico Bowl, Las Vegas Bowl and Raycom Media Camellia Bowl, and will conclude with the Birmingham Bowl on Thursday, Dec. 29. All games will be aired on ESPN with the exception of the Celebration Bowl and Las Vegas Bowl, both to be broadcast on ABC.

Air Force Reserve Celebration Bowl
The Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) and the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) will meet in the second-annual Air Force Reserve Celebration Bowl on Saturday, Dec. 17, pitting the conference champion from these two Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU). The game will be played at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, at noon on ABC.

Gildan New Mexico Bowl
The 11th edition of the Gildan New Mexico Bowl will be played Saturday, Dec. 17, from University Stadium in Albuquerque, N.M. The 2 p.m. game on ESPN will feature a team from the Mountain West against a team from Conference USA.

Las Vegas Bowl
The Las Vegas Bowl is set for Saturday, Dec. 17, on ABC at 3:30 p.m. The 25th annual game will be played at Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas featuring the top choice from the Mountain West against a team from the Pac-12 Conference.

Raycom Media Camellia Bowl
The third annual Camellia Bowl will be played on Saturday, Dec. 17, from historic Cramton Bowl in Montgomery, Ala. The 5:30 p.m. game on ESPN will match teams from Sun Belt Conference against the Mid-American Conference.

Marmot Boca Raton Bowl
The third edition of the Marmot Boca Raton Bowl is scheduled for Tuesday, Dec. 20, at 7 p.m. on ESPN, from FAU Stadium on the campus of Florida Atlantic University. The Mid-American Conference, Conference USA and American Athletic Conference are the affiliated conferences for the Boca Raton Bowl.

Famous Idaho Potato Bowl
The 20th annual Famous Idaho Potato Bowl – slated for Thursday, Dec. 22, at 7 p.m. on ESPN – will be held at Boise State University’s Albertsons Stadium. The game will feature a Mountain West versus Mid-American Conference matchup for the fourth-straight year.

Popeyes Bahamas Bowl
In its third year and second as an ESPN Events owned and operated game, the Popeyes Bahamas Bowl will be played on Friday, Dec. 23, at 1 p.m. on ESPN. The game will be played at Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium in Nassau and features teams from the American Athletic Conference, Conference USA and Mid-American Conference.

Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl
The Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl will be played on Friday, Dec. 23, on ESPN. The 14th edition of the postseason college football bowl game will kick off at 4:30 p.m. from Amon G. Carter Stadium on the campus of TCU, in Fort Worth, Texas. This year’s Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl is slated to feature a bowl-eligible team from the U.S. Naval Academy versus a school from the Big 12 Conference.

Hawai’i Bowl
The Hawai‘i Bowl will be played on Christmas Eve (Saturday, Dec. 24) for the 12th time from Aloha Stadium in Honolulu. In its 15th year, the bowl will be aired on ESPN at 8 p.m. and pits teams from the Conference USA against the Mountain West.

St. Petersburg Bowl
The ninth annual St. Petersburg Bowl will be played Monday, Dec. 26, at 11 a.m. on ESPN. Conference tie-ins for the St. Petersburg Bowl showcase the American Athletic Conference against Atlantic Coast Conference from Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla.

Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas Bowl
The seventh annual Heart of Dallas Bowl is set for Tuesday, Dec. 27, at the historic Cotton Bowl Stadium on the grounds of Fair Park. This year’s bowl game will air on ESPN at noon and is slated to feature teams from Conference USA and the Big Ten Conference.

AdvoCare V100 Texas Bowl
The 11th annual AdvoCare V100 Texas Bowl is set for Wednesday, Dec. 28, at 9 p.m. on ESPN. The game will be played at NRG Stadium in Houston and marks the third meeting of a six-year agreement between the Big 12 and SEC.

Birmingham Bowl
The 11th annual Birmingham Bowl will be played Thursday, Dec. 29, at 2 p.m. on ESPN. Played at Legion Field in Birmingham, Ala., the game will pit a team from the American Athletic Conference against a team from the Southeastern Conference.

ESPN Events
ESPN Events, a division of ESPN, owns and operates a large portfolio of collegiate sporting events worldwide. The roster includes three Labor Day weekend college football games; 13 college bowl games, 10 college basketball events and two college award shows, which accounts for approximately 250-plus hours of programming, reaches almost 64 million viewers and attracts over 700,000 attendees each year. With satellite offices in Albuquerque, Birmingham, Boca Raton, Boise, Dallas-Fort Worth, Honolulu, Las Vegas, Montgomery and St. Petersburg, ESPN Events builds relationships with conferences, schools and local communities, as well as providing unique experiences for teams and fans.

ESPN Events also manages the Big 12 Corporate Partner Program.

Collegiate Football
AdvoCare Texas Kickoff (Houston); AdvoCare V100 Texas Bowl (Houston); Air Force Reserve Celebration Bowl (Atlanta); Birmingham Bowl (Alabama); Camping World Kickoff (Orlando, Fla.);Famous Idaho Potato Bowl (Boise); Gildan New Mexico Bowl (Albuquerque); Hawai’i Bowl (Honolulu); Las Vegas Bowl (Nevada); Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl (Dallas-Fort Worth); Marmot Boca Raton Bowl (Florida); MEAC/SWAC Challenge (Orlando, Fla.); Popeyes Bahamas Bowl (Nassau); Raycom Media Camellia Bowl (Montgomery, Ala.); St. Petersburg Bowl (Florida); The Home Depot College Football Awards (Atlanta) and Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas Bowl(Dallas-Fort Worth)

Collegiate Basketball
AdvoCare Invitational (Walt Disney World Resort near Orlando, Fla.); Armed Forces Classic (Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Honolulu); DIRECTV Wooden Legacy (Orange County, Calif.); College Basketball Awards Presented by Wendy’s (Los Angeles); Gildan Charleston Classic (South Carolina); Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic (Honolulu); Jimmy V Men’s  Classic presented by Corona (New York City); Jimmy V Women’s Classic presented by Corona (TBD); NIT Season Tip-Off (Brooklyn, N.Y.); Puerto Rico Tip-Off (San Juan) and State Farm Champions Classic (New York City)

For more information, visit the official website, Facebook, Twitter or YouTube pages.

Raycom Media to sponsor Camellia Bowl through 2018


Raycom Media has renewed as the title sponsor of the Camellia Bowl through the 2018 bowl season. The extension was announced Thursday by bowl officials at a luncheon in Montgomery.

The third annual Raycom Media Camellia Bowl will be played Saturday, Dec. 17, 2016 at historic Cramton Bowl in Montgomery and will be televised at 4:30 p.m. CST (5:30 p.m. ET) on ESPN.

Named after the Alabama state flower, the Camellia Bowl is a college football bowl game that annually features a representative from the Sun Belt Conference against one from the Mid-American Conference.

“We couldn’t ask for a better title sponsor than Raycom Media whose headquarters are located in Montgomery, Alabama,” said Johnny Williams, Raycom Media Camellia Bowl executive director. “The vision and support set forth by Paul McTear, and the entire Raycom Media team, has had an amazing impact on the event.”

At the Thursday luncheon Raycom Media CEO Paul McTear was given the first Paul McTear Impact Award for his role in the Camellia Bowl’s success. The award will be given annually to individuals who have ”great impact on the bowl with a shared vision of excellence”.

For more: guardianbowl.com.

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