Kevin Coyle energizes Legends on first day as head coach
By Jaylon Thompson, Atlanta Legends Team Reporter
SAN ANTONIO – It was Kevin Coyle’s first day as the new head coach of the Atlanta Legends, and he needed a little energy during Wednesday’s practice.
So, he turned on the loud speakers and asked defensive line coach Leroy Thompson to break out the workout playlist. In a matter of seconds, everything from country music to hip-hop classics started to blare throughout the Dub Farris Sports Complex.
The players started to feel the groove. The kinetic energy transferred into a spirited practice that included padded drills and group installs. It also signaled that the Legends are set to carry on with business as usual.
“I was really impressed with the energy of the guys,” Coyle said. “We had a brief team meeting last night and we talked about the goals for everybody.”
The goals included winning games and getting better each day. The Legends took the first step towards their goals together. Everyone stretched and took breaks as a unit. They also ended team huddles with a Legends chant.
Quarterback Aaron Murray led the charge. As the season progresses, different players will take on the leadership responsibility.
“I want to be out here with a group that loves to come to practice and loves to play the game of football,” Coyle said. “We will get the music going during stretch and have a little fun. “It’s all about competition and enjoying the process. We are set to do that.”
Coyle replaces Brad Childress, who stepped away from the head coaching role. Coyle begins his first head coaching journey after successful stops as a defensive coordinator with the Miami Dolphins and the Cincinnati Bengals in the NFL. He also spent time coordinating defenses at the collegiate level with Holy Cross, Syracuse, Maryland and Fresno State.
Coyle admits things will change in the new position. However, he hopes to forge his own way and rely on his background as a teacher and motivator to carry him forward.
“I think we want to be a team that is very disciplined in everything we do,” Coyle said. “We are not going to be a team that beats ourselves. We are going to be a team that is smart in situations.”
Linebacker Jeff Luc has idea of what Coyle brings to the table. He was a part of the Dolphins during Coyle’s tenure and knows the team is in good hands.
“Coach Coyle brought a new energy to practice,” Luc said. “The pads were cracking today. We went to a live practice and everyone was competing.”
Coyle said his principles came from different coaches in his career. He credits the work of his former high school coach for guiding his path into coaching. He also felt the contributions of former coaches like Lou Holtz, Dick LeBeau, Marvin Lewis, and Joe Philbin helped as well.
“They have all influenced me in one way or another,” Coyle said. “At the end of the day, I am guy that loves the game and loves working with these young men and teaching the aspects of the game.”
The Legends open The Alliance’s inaugural season against the Orlando Apollos at Spectrum Stadium on February 9. According to Luc, the team will be ready to with a revamped identity reflective of their head coach.
“I think the fans should expect for us to show up,” Luc said. “They will know what they are getting and they know we will play hard.”
Coyle agrees. He knows this path is a culmination of his lifelong dream.
“We are embarking on a new journey,” Coyle said. “I am blessed to have the opportunity to be working with these young men.”
Childress wishes Legends the best
Brad Childress, who has stepped away from the head coaching role with the Legends, made this statement through the team:
“I’ve been fortunate to work with many great players and coaches throughout my years in football — including those at The Alliance. Throughout it all, my biggest supporters have always been my family. I have four kids, four grandchildren and am still lucky enough to have my parents around. For now, I need to refocus. I’m looking forward to spending time with them and supporting them as they’ve done so for me. Equally, I’m excited to root for each and every player that now has another opportunity to get out and play professional football with The Alliance. The Atlanta Legends are in great hands with Kevin Coyle at the helm.”