Italian Bowl winning HC Marc Mattioli speaking at European Coaches Convention

The European Coaches Convention is coming up this weekend, November 6-7 in Berlin, Germany, and another prominent speaker will be Parma Panthers head coach Marc Mattioli.

The 34-year-old Mattioli from Rochester, New York, led Parma to their first-ever undefeated season and their first Italian championship since 2013. The Panthers did it the hard way too, beating the previous and perennial title holders, the Milano Seamen, three times during the season including the championship game. He was also a member of the coaching staff for the Italian national team that just captured the IFAF Europe gold medal this past weekend, defeating Team Sweden 41-14.

Looking at his background for developing young players from his days at Vanderbilt (2014-2020) and as an assistant with Stanford (2012-2013) it shouldn’t come as a surprise that he brought the best out of his team in Italy. He also spent two seasons as the defensive line coach for LaGrange College in Georgia. In 2018, he developed LaDarius Wiley into one of Vanderbilt’s leading tacklers and the young defensive back caught the eye of the Tennessee Titans who signed him. Another protege of Mattioli was cornerback Tre Herndon who made the Jacksonville Jaguars 2018-19 active roster.

Mattioli spent his college playing career at Rhodes College in Memphis, Tennessee where he played defensive line for his final three seasons. He was team captain as a senior in 2008 and was part of the 2006 Rhodes defense that ranked fifth nationally.

He earned Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference All-Academic honors four times and was the National Foundation and College Hall of Fame Outstanding Student-Athlete Award recipient for Rhodes and was an All-SCAC choice in 2006 and 2008.

We asked Coach Mattioli about his approach to coaching and his reasons for speaking at this event.

AFI: What are the keys to building a winning team?

Mattioli: The most important thing in developing a winning team is establishing an identity. Players, coaches, and everyone else in the organization needs to know who you are as a team and what you do well. There are many challenges that come up throughout the course of a season, and when challenges arise, people need to know what it is that you hang your hat on as a team. If you don’t have that, you can’t win consistently.

AFI: How can teams best develop young talent?

Mattioli: The best way to develop young talent is to focus on fundamentals. Too many people focus on scheme, but that isn’t what makes good football players. Scheme is important, but execution is what wins games, and that comes down to fundamentals and technique. If you want to develop players, especially young players, they need a good foundation of fundamentals that they can rely on to be successful.

AFI: Why did you choose to take part in the convention?

Mattioli: I wanted to take part in this convention because I have a passion for football and the advancement of the game in Europe is something that is really exciting to me. I’ve had a great experience coaching in Italy this past year and I want to give back to the game in any way I can. I think there is huge potential for American football in Europe and I want to be a part of turning that potential into reality.

AFI: What is one thing you would tell young coaches?

Mattioli: Be yourself. There is no one way to be a good coach. There are lots of different ways to do it and to be successful. The most important thing is that you are genuine and that you are yourself. If you try to be someone else or what you think you “should” be, players will see through it and they won’t follow you. Everyone appreciates authenticity.

AFI: What does coaching mean to you?

Mattioli: Coaching is a big part of my life. I love the relationships, the competition, the game-planning, everything. Coaching to me is my way of impacting the world by touching the lives of the players. That brings me great joy. It’s an honor to be a coach.

You can listen to Marc Mattioli speak at the European Coaches Convention on Saturday, November 6 at 12 noon CET.

For more information on the European Coaches Convention click here.

You can also check out the ECC Facebook page.

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