BY ANDREAS BUTLER
The Bruce McNorton Football Clinic (BMFC) was once again a success.
The two-day event on June 6 and 7 at Derbyshire Sports Complex in Daytona Beach brought in former professional athletes along with local coaches at all levels to teach skills and drills to boys and girls ages 6-20 free of charge.
The event was sponsored by the BMFC and City of Daytona Beach.
The clinic dodged thunderstorms both days, but was able to persevere. More than 300 kids participated during the two days.
“We’ve battled rain both days, but it didn’t stop us. It actually cooled the air off. Turnout has been great,” Bruce McNorton told the Daytona Times.
19 total years
McNorton, who works as a scout for the NFL’s Pittsburgh Steelers, created the camp during his playing days. He is a retired NFL player who spent 10 seasons in the league, including nine with the Detroit Lions and one with the Miami Dolphins.
The camp has existed for 19 years, including 14 consecutive ones in Daytona. It was originally held in Detroit for five years when McNorton was still playing there.
McNorton told the Times, “This is just my way of giving back to my community. Having everyone come out and participate and volunteer their time to help out is also a great thing.”
NCAA seminar too
The clinic included an NCAA Eligibility Seminar, which was held on June 5 at the Yvonne Scarlett Golden Educational and Cultural Center.
This portion of the clinic is designed to help high school players and their parents learn what is needed for the kids to play football in college.
“The seminar portion is starting to progress. We had a lot more kids and a lot more parents this year take advantage of this portion of the camp, which provides them key information if their kid wants to play at the collegiate level,” said McNorton.
This portion of the clinic has been going four consecutive years now.
Johnny Vickers served as the speaker at this year’s event. Vickers is a motivational speaker and CEO and co-founder of Warnell A. Vickers Enterprises LLC.
He also played football in college as a running back at Bethune-Cookman (1999-2003).
“I really stressed the importance of graduating high school with those NCAA eligibility requirements already completed. They can learn now what they need to be eligible,” said Vickers.
Many of the instructors on the field during the two- day clinic were former NFL players.
Calvin Johnson, also known as “Megatron’’ spent nine years with the Detroit Lions. He retired following the 2015 season. Johnson was glad to be at the camp with the youngsters.
“I do a few of these camps and clinics a year. Coming out to teach these kids is only the right thing to do. I am all for that. It’s all about the positives. It’s important and necessary to give back whenever you have a chance to do it. So, just go ahead and do it,” expressed Johnson.
Women helped too
Other former NFL players included Ernie Mills, John L. Williams, James Harrell, James Jones and Kelvin Fisher. Most of the players played in the 1980s and 1990s like McNorton.
NFL players and local high school and youth coaches weren’t the only instructors.
The Daytona Beach Waverunners, a women’s semi-professional team that competes in the Women’s Football Alliance, helped out.
“It’s a great thing having a clinic like this which isn’t an easy thing to put together. It’s critical to volunteer and help out. I also came here to show these little girls that they can play too,” commented Waverunners quarterback Shar’quayla Baker.
‘A good thing for us’
The kids also gave positive feedback.
Jared Jackson, 16, will be a junior at Atlantic High in the fall; he also plays football at the school.
Jackson stated, “This camp is a good thing for us to have to come out learn and have fun. It helps players like me and others to sharpen our skills and get ready for the upcoming season in the fall.”