Colleyville Covenant football coach Rick Jackson easily found some experienced coaches among those he talked with about joining his staff this past offseason.
But Covenant will go into the fall with a few extra check marks when training camp gets underway in August.
Four coaches, James Reed, Correll Buckhalter and the father-son duo of Danny and Mark Bradley will stalk the sidelines this season for the Cougars, and all of them have NFL playing experience.
“It just kind of came together by accident really,” Jackson said. “We were fortunate to have Brian Baker last season work with our defensive line and that kind of led to some other opportunities and chances to connect.”
Baker, a 19-year NFL veteran and now the defensive line coach at Mississippi State, spent last season on Jackson’s staff after Washington coach Jay Gruden let most of his defensive staff go in the 2015 offseason.
Buckhalter, who played eight seasons with the Eagles and two with the Broncos, began working with some of the middle school running backs last season before asking Jackson for a chance to work with the varsity.
“I was thrilled,” Jackson said. “To have a coach with that kind of experience, I think you can see it around the area at some other schools, it’s beneficial first and foremost to the kids and brings some different experiences to us.
“In some cases, Correll’s forgotten more football than I might know, but he wants to be a great coach and the kids have responded to him.”
James Reed was an undersized lineman who spent parts of nine seasons with the Jets, Chiefs and Saints.
He takes over the offensive and defensive line coaching vacated by Baker.
“The thing about James is that most of our kids are undersized, so they already see him as a guy that not only did it, but has the know how to make them better as well,” Jackson said. “He told me his biggest need was having to be violent with his hands and watching him coach, it’s like he’s choreographing a dance out there.”
Quarterbacks coach Danny Bradley played three games for the Detroit Lions in 1987 and starred at Oklahoma before working in the front office for the Cowboys.
He has the unique opportunity of working with son Mark, also an All-American from Oklahoma who played six seasons for the Bears, Chiefs, Buccaneers and Saints.
“That’s a pretty neat story with those two and it doesn’t get much better than having that kind of experience on our staff,” Jackson said. “You know, I was really excited when I realized that George Teague wanted to work with me at Harvest Christian, but I never thought in my career, I’d have the chance to work with a group of men like this.
“Traning camp can’t get here any sooner.”