As they said in the movie 'Field of Dreams',
"If You Build It...They Will Come!"
Well, it was my dream to build or create a Free Agent Specialists Combine assembling elite kicking talent for the National Football League (NFL), the Canadian Football League (CFL) and the United Football League (UFL) coaches and Pro Personnel to evaluate.
On April 6, 2009 that dream came true when 32 coaches and Pro Personnel came to Phoenix, Arizona to watch 41 kicking specialists showcase their talent.
My goal was to make sure this event was comprised of the highest caliber specialists, so only those individuals I had worked with, evaluated and invited were allowed to compete.
For those I hadn't previously worked with, there was a one day 'tryout' session which I used to qualify individuals for Monday's Free Agent Specialists Combine.
Click here for a complete list of kicking specialists who participated.
Organizing this event took quite a bit of time and effort over a period of a few months. However, I believe the work was worth it for the teams, the kicking specialists and me.
I add myself to this list because it has been a dream of mine to create an event like this, which showcases -to the professional football teams- some of the best kicking specialist talent available.
With your support and participation (and the help of Team Zauner and Coach Yantis), I achieved this dream.
I want to thank all of you for helping me make this truly my 'Field Of Dreams'.
As a footnote I want to add...the biggest issue I encountered while organizing this event was regarding the date. It appears April 6 conflicted with some NFL organization's draft meetings.
To resolve this, the date for the 2010 Coach Zauner Free Agent Specialists Combine will be earlier next year. I will not wait for any other tryout camps to set their dates. I will set my date earlier to avoid scheduling conflicts for the attending teams.
And besides, Arizona's weather is great even in late March.
I also want to extend my thanks and appreciation to Head Coach Donnie Yantis of Paradise Valley High School who was instrumental in securing the field and making sure any issues related to the facility were addressed.Coach Yantis (left) Assistant Coach Chad Zecha (middle) and Danny Compton (right) (Paradise Valley High School kicker) who will be attending the Air Force Academy on a full appointment were extremely helpful, before, during and after the event. My thanks!
Also special thanks to Mark Breving of Reebok for providing the high quality jersey's which impressed all the kicking specialists.
Marty Jessen of Rayne Water for providing all the water consumed by over 80 attendees who sat in 85 degree sunshine for almost 5 hours. and to Phil (groundhog) Grams of Digital Sports Video who was extremely generous with his time in insuring we had the hours and hours of video properly edited.
My wife Michelle, Marty Jessen (H2O) and Angie Lawrence (Food)
I also appreciate Nick Sundberg (draft eligible snapper from Cal. Berkley) for helping out with several duties during the course of the event.
Stay Tuned for More of Coach Zauner's Blog!