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Saturday, December 6, 2008

Shane Phillips Back to Australia

The man from Australia... Shane Phillips. Michelle (who voted for a new photo) and I will miss him greatly!

Shane Phillips is from Melbourne Australia. I was fortunate to have Shane call me about 6 months looking for some One on One Punting Lessons here in Scottsdale, Arizona.

To make a long story fairly short. Shane is an Australian Rules Football player that came to the United State several years ago and earned a scholarship to play baseball and football at Alcorne State. Yes, I said Alcorne State.

Shane is a big legged Australian punter that was not fundamentally sound. After several lessons he improved and went to Louie Aguiar's Punting Combine and was ranked #1. However, during the pro day there was a nasty storm, Shane slipped and pulled a hamstring.

Shane was down and out for several weeks. His dream was to become an NFL punter and he sustained a setback.

He came back for some more One on One Punting Lessons with me and was trying to figure out a game plan. The draft was now over and most teams had signed most of their kicking specialists for training camp.

My kicking consultant business was getting very busy and I needed help. Shane was the answer. He could help me and I could help him. It was going to be a symbiotic relationship.

Shane has a great personality. He would meet and greet all my clients. Immediately everyone took to the Aussie. It must of been his accent!

He was not only great on the computer getting contacts for me on FaceBook, but back in Australia he worked in a TV studio and was perfect for video taping the kicking specialist.

Shane was a man of many talents as you will see. Below, he was a holder for Derek Doerfler from Baker University. Derek and Shane became friends.

Below he was the video man and holder for Sebastian Janikowski.

A couple times we had several kicking specialists in town and Shane was the life of the party. I don't know why but he was. Below from left to right: Cole Wilson, Zach Yates, Me, Shane, Ben Woods and John Lord.

In June, Shane got a workout with the Minnesota Vikings and Buffalo Bills. We thought things were getting brighter. However, the NFL's 80 man rule was not only hurting Shane's chances but all kicking specialists. Teams were signing specialists that could punt and kickoff.

In my mind the NFL was no longer standing for the best. Many teams were signing because of roster limits instead of quality or the best available athlete.

In mid June, Shane helped me in Minnesota with my River Falls Kicking Camp. Below from left to right you see Steve Hauschka, Shane, Derrick Frost and myself. Shane is holding a golf club but it really was a weapon. He killed a lot of grass that day.

Below is a photos of Shane, Steve Hauschka, Garrett Palmer and Derrick Frost talking to the campers at my River Falls Kicking Camp.

Below Garrett Palmer, Shane, Matt Katula (Ravens) and Steve Hauschka enjoy the evening in River Falls, Wisconsin.

As the months progressed we had visitors from other countries. Below, is Shane with Cory Paterson, an Australian Rugby player who plays for the New Castle Knights.

Shane and Cory on top of the peak over looking Fountain Hills, Arizona. In the background is Red Mountain.

In October, Huw Collins and his brother Tom, came to the United States from England. Both were professional Ruby players in England. Once again Shane hit it off with the Englishmen. I named the boys the 'three amigo's'.

In late November, A.J. Schable one of my former Arizona Cardinals players came to town to work on his snapping skills. Shane became the blocking dummy.

The week Shane was getting ready to leave another Australian came to town for One on One Punting Lessons. Below is Chris Bossong and Shane.

Shane left Scottsdale right before Thanksgiving. Australians do not celebrate Thanksgiving. However, they seem to celebrate every other occasion.

Below, Shane and I worked on an Australian Drop Punt Instructional Video. You will see the video in the future on my website, http://www.coachzauner.com/. Shane did an excellent job of instructing and demonstrating his native drop punt technique.

As a side bar to the video taping of the instruction video. We held a little going away party for Shane before he left and at the party we played all the out takes or bloopers. The entire group never laughed so hard.

Some day I will post them so Shane can enjoy them once again.

Shane was our house guest for several months. He assisted me in several areas. He did a great job with the computer, video taping, download of video tape, transportation of clients and setting up of contacts with FaceBook, kicking friends and countless other duties.

My best memories of Shane. The boy could eat. He ate endlessly. Neither Michelle or I have kids but he ate use out of house and home as my parents would say.

The next best thing he did was assume or take the blame for any and all mistakes I made. And there were a lot. As the saying goes... he was thrown under the bus. For this I give Shane the man of the year award.

Shane left our house right before Thanksgiving. However, it took him several days to leave town because of all the girls he met and needed to say goodbye to. Goodbye's take forever.

For the next two weeks there might be a Shane sighting any place in the United States. He went to Austin and New Orleans before going back to Mississippi to drop off his car. He then flies to San Diego to see Garrett Palmer. He will end his tour up in L.A.. He will meet other friends there and then fly back to Melbourne.

Shane will be back in March for my NFL PRO Combine in late March or early April.

I know Craig my media relations man, website design and press man will also miss the Aussie. The two exchanged verbal abuse constantly in a joking manner.

Michelle and I wish him safe travels. We thank him for all his hard work and good times. He will be missed by all the people he touched here in Arizona.

My words to Shane any night he would go out or as he heads back home to Australia... stay focused and stay out of trouble.

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