Creating a winning culture

Niagara Storm

A pair of young coaches have been tasked with turning the Niagara Storm Junior Varsity team around after a 1-7 season and are already taking the job on head first.

Matt & Alex

Matt Hill and his brother Alex Hill are 25 and 20 years old respectively and have recently been brought on to take over the junior varsity Niagara Storm team. The young duo have a long history of success as both players and coaches and are looking forward to the new task and believe they can quickly turn what was once a stagnant program into a winning one.

Despite being only 25 years of age Matt has a long history of success as a coach for different teams. He has held positions with the Hamilton Ironmen and Steelers, the Sir Winston Churchill Bulldogs in St. Catherines and was just 17 when he coached his brother’s flag football team to a World Championship in New Orleans.

I have been a part of a few different programs in high schools as a positional coach, an offensive co coordinator and a defensive coordinator,” said Matt Hill. “It was a big opportunity for me to take on this head-coaching role. I know my brother wanted to get into coaching and I’ve coached him for years, he is going to be a brilliant offensive coordinator.”

Matt is confident that he can use his experience to surround himself with like-minded talent and bring a winning tradition to the Niagara Storm.

“I have a great defensive coordinator in Phil Costantini and I have some great positional coordinators coming in now, the kind of guys that I want to surround myself with and coaches that I know we can all work together to help turn this around.”

Well-prepared, Matt knew he was going to be taking over as the head coach of the Storm’s JV team during his past year with the Bulldogs, so he took the time to make every connection he could with the coaches and players he came across in an effort to build a foundation of support for his new job.

“At the end of the season I was able to follow up with all these people and I had some good support from other high schools as far as getting some of these kids and players, and its amazing how it has snowballed,” he explained.

The process of turning things around for the junior varsity team has already begun with the new coach initiating an indoor training camp to drum up interest in the team and recruit some new talent.

“The Niagara region has a lot of high school programs, but a lot of the kids just didn’t play summer football, they weren’t really involved,” said younger brother Alex Hill. “Just from talking we got a lot of kids interested so we started an eight week indoor program, once a week, working on fundamentals. From there a lot of kids are signing up to play for us because they really enjoyed the camp, it has been great for recruitment.”

“It’s really the camp that has really been the biggest recruitment tool,” added Matt.

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Alex himself has played tackle football for eight years and was at one point recruited to McMaster University as quarterback. He, like his older brother is confident they will be able to turn the program around this season.

“We are expecting to have a pretty good season,” stated Alex. “We’re looking at having a winning record and competing every week. We are going to put together a very competitive team.”

Matt was aware of the many challenges he faces as the new coach of a team coming of a one-win season, but sees great potential in the program and the many kids who have already come out to the indoor camp. He is now looking forward to helping these players take the next step and prepare for the next level of football.

“There were some kids on the fence obviously with the Storm’s record last year, these kids are competitive, they want to be on a winning team and we get that,” said Matt. “It’s about having fun but at the same time at the end of the day it’s about winning. A lot of these kids want to get to the next level and the on field play counts. “We want to combine humour with on field discipline and make it a fun environment for them and at the same time get the results. You can tell they are just dying for football.”

All it takes in one conversation with Matt or Alex to understand how passionate both men are about the game of football and the opportunity to coach young talent. Matt is just 25 years old and has already been coaching for more than eight years while Alex considered himself ‘a student of the game’. It is no surprise that they have tackled the task of taking over the Storm JV program headfirst and are already seeing results.

“Each coaching job I take I take on I work with it and learn and I have been surrounded by a lot of good coaches,” stated Matt. “To come in at young age and have this head coaching opportunity, I’m going to go with it and see what I can do; one game, and one year at a time.”

Anyone interested in getting in touch with Matt Hill and the Niagara Storm Junior Varsity team can go to www.http://www.niagarastorm.com/#!head-coach/cvhh 

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