Gridiron coaches, head coaches and assistants, from every corner of the state have joined together to become part of an upstart organization known as the Commonwealth Football Coaches Association (CFBCA) in an effort to provide input and be part of the process with the VHSL planning stages for restarting prep football in Virginia.
The VHSL canceled the spring sports season and has suspended all out-of-season workouts for football and all other fall sports at school facilities in accordance with Gov. Ralph Northam’s executive orders designed to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.
As the state attempts to slowly open back up from a mandatory shutdown on several fronts, including high school sports, the VHSL announced last week that it is exploring options for opening fall sports.
Virginia High football coach Michael Crist said Wednesday the new CFBCA wants to be a part of that process when it comes to prep football.
“Obviously, safety has to be the key to everything,” Crist said. “But when it comes to opening back up for football, the organization wants to be included in the discussions.”
Crist said the CFBCA got its start from discussions from Manchester (Midlothian) coach Tom Hall and Heritage (Lynchburg) coach Brad Bradley.
After initial talks about such an organization, Hall and Bradley started reaching out to football coaches throughout the state.
“It doesn’t matter how many championships you’ve won or what size school you coach. Everyone has equal input about things that affect high school football in Virginia,” Crist, a Southwest Virginia representative for the association, said.
While Virginia is diverse with its communities and school sizes, Crist said the CFBCA is focusing on common threads and unifying gridiron coaches from across the commonwealth.
“It doesn’t matter if you’re a Class 1 coach in Southwest Virginia or if you coaching at a Class 6 school in Northern Virginia. Everyone has a voice,” Crist said.
The association is getting plenty of attention from throughout the state with close to 1,000 followers on social media platforms by Wednesday afternoon.
It’s also getting attention from the VHSL. League officials have said they welcome input from the CFBCA and hope to work with the association in formulating a plan for opening up prep football in the state.
“That’s because the organization has done it the right way,” Crist said. “We realize that it is about safety first and that the VHSL has to follow the guidelines that governor directs. We’re just looking to advocate for the sport and its players and coaches.”
While the immediate concern is to work to get safely back on high school campuses across Virginia, Crist said the association is something that organizers hope will be around long after the threat of COVID-19 has passed.
“We look for this to be a long-standing association with a voice and resources for football coaches across the state,” he said.