Program to provide best-in-class training to prepare players for professional football
CANTON, Ohio – September 24, 2020 – Hall of Fame Resort & Entertainment Company (“HOFV” or the “Company”) (NASDAQ: HOFV, HOFVW), the only resort, entertainment and media company centered around the power of professional football and owner of the Hall of Fame Village powered by Johnson Controls in Canton, Ohio, today announced the coaches roster for the inaugural NFL Alumni Academy (the “Academy”), the NFL Alumni Association’s player development program that kicks off at the Hall of Fame Village Powered by Johnson Controls this week. Eight former NFL coaches and players – Mike Tice, Jay Hayes, Steve Smith, Anthony Munoz, Chuck Smith, Moe Williams, Jermon Bushrod and Dean Dalton – are committing their time and talents toward building the next generation of professional football players.
The Academy is an unprecedented, invitation-only in-season training program designed to prepare the top available free agent player-prospects for opportunities at the next level. Participants, which include the top-graded players that were released from NFL training camps, will have the opportunity to work on improving their strength and conditioning under the tutelage of elite former NFL personnel, with the end goal of being promoted to an NFL roster and enjoying a career at the game’s highest level of competition.
“We are honored to have some of the greatest minds and coaches in professional football join us for this program at the Hall of Fame Village powered by Johnson Controls,” said Michael Crawford, President and CEO of HOFV. “The Academy is truly innovative and there’s nothing like it anywhere else in the world, providing us with the unique opportunity to create original media programing. We plan to produce content that will give fans and younger players a ‘behind-the-scenes’ look of what it takes to make it to the NFL.”
The eight coaches for the Academy staff were deliberately chosen given their extensive and successful careers in professional football as coaches or players. These coaches have either been involved in or devoted large portions of their lives to the game of football and understand what it takes to not only make it to the NFL, but also become an integral part of an NFL franchise for the long term.
“The NFL Alumni Academy is designed to develop NFL-ready talent to become complete professionals, giving them exposure to all 32 NFL teams to generate the best opportunities to successfully sign with an NFL franchise,” said NFL Alumni Academy Executive Director Dean Dalton. “Players will have the ultimate opportunity to improve on the field and compete on NFL rosters because they will work every day with some of the best in the business. It goes without saying that all the coaches engaged with the Academy bring tremendous knowledge based off of their past NFL successes.”
The credentials of the coaches leading the Academy can be found below:
Mike Tice – A former tight end for the Seattle Seahawks, Washington Redskins and Minnesota Vikings, Mr. Tice followed his 11-year playing career with 17 years as an offensive line coach and offensive coordinator along with four years as the head coach of the Minnesota Vikings, leading them to the playoffs.
Jay Hayes – An NFL coach for over 20 years for the Pittsburgh Steelers, Minnesota Vikings, Cincinnati Bengals and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Mr. Hayes recently joined his NFL-veteran brother Jonathon as an XFL defensive coordinator. Additionally, Coach Hayes spent 11 seasons at top NCAA Division football programs including Cal and Notre Dame.
Steve Smith – As an NFL coach with the Kansas City Chiefs plus a two-year tenure in NFL Europe, Smith also participated in training camp coaching fellowship programs with five NFL teams. Throughout his career, he has also been a collegiate head coach and has had stints in the Arena League and the XFL.
Anthony Munoz – Coach Munoz is a Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee celebrating his enshrinement as a member of the Class of 1998. He is one of the absolute best ever to play offensive tackle in the NFL and was the first-round draft pick of the Cincinnati Bengals as the third player selected overall in the 1980 NFL Draft. During his 13 seasons of play, Mr. Munoz was elected to 11 Pro Bowls, named All-Pro 11 consecutive times, and was named the NFL Offensive Lineman of the Year in 1981, 1987, and 1988.
Chuck Smith – A pass rush specialist, Coach Smith played eight seasons for the Atlanta Falcons, leading them to the Super Bowl and also playing a season with the Carolina Panthers. Mr. Smith was a standout at the University of Tennessee where he played in both the Sugar and Fiesta Bowls, and earned the Most Valuable Player (MVP) honor at the Senior Bowl.
Moe Williams – The University of Kentucky running back was drafted by the Minnesota Vikings in 1996. A team leader with the Vikings, Mr. Williams spent over nine years in Minnesota on some of the top offenses in NFL history. Mr. Williams went on to play for the Baltimore Ravens before spending time coaching at his alma mater, in the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl and with the Oakland Raiders in its training camp fellowship program.
Jermon Bushrod – The Towson University product was drafted in the 4th round by the New Orleans Saints and played seven of his 12 NFL seasons there. Overcoming the odds as a small-school product, Bushrod’s 12-year NFL career also included starting for the Chicago Bears and Miami Dolphins. Mr. Bushrod was a two-time Pro Bowl player and a Super Bowl Champion.
Dean Dalton – The Executive Director of the NFL Alumni Academy also enjoyed a long and successful NFL coaching career with the Minnesota Vikings. As an offensive coach with one of the highest-powered offensive teams in NFL history, and one with record setting successes, Dalton also was the running backs coach for the number one rushing team in the National Football League. Additionally, Dalton coached collegiately at Western Illinois, Purdue, Texas Southern University and Wisconsin.
Diversity will always be a key component of the Academy program, and its composition will directly reflect the wide range of individuals that it serves. The Academy includes a Football Diversity Development program which works to advance minority former NFL players that are transitioning to coaching and other professional football positions. This initiative will create a variety of professional opportunities for many NFL Alumni Association members.
The Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium at the Hall of Fame Village powered by Johnson Controls will initially serve as the NFL Alumni Association and NFL Alumni Academy’s headquarters and training facility. The Academy will then move to the Center for Performance, which will be located on the Village’s campus and is anticipated to be completed in 2022. The Center for Performance will feature an 80,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art indoor field house and training facility, among other amenities.
More details about the players who will be involved in the Academy and opportunities for fans to engage with Academy players and coaches will be announced in the near future.
About the Hall of Fame Resort & Entertainment Company
The Hall of Fame Resort & Entertainment Company (NASDAQ: HOFV, HOFVW) is a resort and entertainment company leveraging the power and popularity of professional football and its legendary players in partnership with the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Headquartered in Canton, Ohio, the Hall of Fame Resort & Entertainment Company is the owner of the Hall of Fame Village powered by Johnson Controls, a multi-use sports, entertainment and media destination centered around the Pro Football Hall of Fame's campus. Additional information on the Company can be found at www.HOFREco.com.
About the NFL Alumni Association
The NFL Alumni Association is a nationwide group of former National Football League players, coaches and other employees whose mission is to serve, assist and inform former players and their families. The association offers a variety of medical, financial and social programs to help members lead healthy, productive and connected lives, as well as community initiatives under the NFL Alumni’s “Caring for Kids” programs. The NFL Alumni Association hosts the NFL Alumni Academy Player Development Program each football season at the Hall of Fame Village powered by Johnson Controls in Canton, Ohio. The NFL Alumni Academy provides a pathway for the top graded players that were released from NFL training camps to return to the NFL by giving them the opportunity to further develop their skills and realize their potential by training under the tutelage of elite former NFL coaches, players and performance coaches.