As part of our build up to the National Finals games on Sunday, we’re getting to know the head honchos behind the four programmes that will be battling it out for glory this weekend!
Coach Wayne Hill is probably the best known Coach in Britball, heavily involved not only in the growth of the best known programme in BUCSball, having been involved with the Lions in various senior positions since 1998, but also with the Great British student and senior programmes and the IFAF World team. He’s been Head Coach of the Lions for two stints, 1999-2007 and 2011 to present, and during those periods has seen the Lions programme achieve unprecedented levels of success and growth as a student sports organisation.
Coach Hill is clearly a busy busy man, but luckily found time to give us all a bit more insight into the Lions’ den this season:
Hi Coach! Who are you and what’s your coaching background?
I have been involved with the Birmingham Lions for 17 years. Taking one year out to get married, I was back in the saddle the following year. Throughout my time I have either been Defensive Coordinator or Head Coach.
I was honoured to be on the IFAF World Team coaching staff that defeated Team USA. Only recently checked the roster to see that we beat a team that included Jameis Winston and Todd Gurley!
I was also previously Head Coach of the GB Student programme which I absolutely LOVED!
Currently I am Defensive Coordinator of the GB Adult programme and looking forward to our tournament in the summer.
How did you get into coaching American Football?
My dad started watching football and got me into it. We spent six months trying to find a local team (pre Internet, showing my age). From this I started playing when I was 12 years old for the Birmingham Bulls Youth Team.
Who’s your coaching hero?
There are a few that have really influenced what I do and how I coach. In the NFL coaches like Pete Carroll, Rex Ryan, Mike Tomlin and obviously Bill Belichick. In real life I have been extremely lucky to meet and learn from Mke Leach, Geoff Collins and Jeff Reinebold. However, one guy that stands out for me for just his absolute passion for the sport and being a phenomenal Defensive Line coach (that is where my heart is at) is Jim Tomsula.
However, I have been extremely lucky to work with some amazing coaches in the UK and I have to say that these are the ones that push me to continue to develop. Guys such as Tony Athersmith, Paul Summers, Martin Hilton and Simon Hatcher have really contributed to my development.
What’s your coaching dream?
To develop players to achieve at the next level.
What’s the single most important quality for a BUCSball coach, in your opinion?
I’d have to say it’s being able to support young men and women and develop their skills sets both on and off the field.
And now our quickfire round!
Answer as quickly as possible – we trust you to be honest!
Red or Blue?
Cats or Dogs?
Offence or Defence?
Bacon or Cheese?
Blitz or Coverage?
Star Wars or Star Trek
Punt or Go for it?
Rachel or Monica?
Run or Pass?
Ice him or Let him kick?
Hot dog or Burger?
Brawn or Brains?
Peyton or Eli?
Dodge ’em or Truck ’em?
Classless winner or Classy loser?
1 point or 2 points?
Squat or Bench?
Fast or Strong?
Titans or Renegades?
Clansmen or Lions?
And the balance is restored with Rachel and Monica tying 2-2!
Interestingly, pretty much our only unanimous quickfire was Burgers trumped hotdogs!
Coach Hill will be looking to restore his Lions to winning ways in the National Championship game on Sunday, head to Leeds and watch the National Finals games yourself!