Local Coaches Lauded For Leadership Skills

Youth Football Summit

Md. The Only State With Two Coaches At National Event

August 02, 2009|By Aaron Wright | Aaron Wright,aaron.wright@baltsun.com

Two Maryland football coaches accustomed to setting examples for their players are now role models for other coaches.

Andrew Bonheyo of the Maryland School for the Deaf and Donald Davis of Calvert Hall represented the state in the ninth annual Youth Football Summit in Canton, Ohio, which ran Tuesday to Friday.

Traditionally, the NFL and USA Football selects just one coach per state to attend the event - a series of seminars and workshops dealing with youth issues in football and the impact coaching can have. Davis was the initial choice this year, but according to USA Football executive director Scott Hallenbeck, an exception was made this year for Maryland because Bonheyo's accomplishments were too great to ignore.

"His story is unique," Hallenbeck said. " ... It's the way he approaches the game. He teaches life skills and values of the game."

Bonheyo, 48, has won seven National Deaf Prep Championships while serving as the Orioles' head coach the past nine years. His on-field success with the school, which has campuses in Columbia and Frederick, was not the only reason for his selection. Part of Bonheyo's philosophy has been preparing his players for life after football.

"Well, I try to teach the kids life lessons and prepare them for real life," Bonheyo said. "Displaying control, dealing with frustration and adversity, and to be modest. I try to be a role model to them."

Davis, 31, was a standout football player at Calvert Hall. After graduating in 1996, he moved on to Johns Hopkins, where he continued his playing career and studied sociology. Davis began his coaching career at Cardinal Gibbons in 2001. He was promoted to head coach in 2003 and was named the Baltimore Ravens Coach of the Year in his first season. He was also honored as the Baltimore Touchdown Club's Coach of the Year in 2006. In 2007, he returned to his alma mater.

"What we do as a program is structured to make them good college students, citizens, husbands and fathers," Davis said. "It's important that they pick up tools to become a productive citizen and put something back in the community that raised them."

The Cardinals' coach took a humble approach to the football summit. He chose not to announce the honor to his players.

"They just [knew] that Coach [wouldn't] be there during Tuesday and Thursday weightlifting," Davis said.

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