Wade Phillips impresses with keynote speech on opening day of European Coaches Convention

NFL Super Bowl winning coach Wade Phillips opened up the European Coaches Convention in Berlin with a masterclass on the ethics of coaching.

The two-day convention was organized by Bart Iaccarino, general manager of the European League of Football’s (ELF) Barcelona Dragons, and the head of the Dragons, Jesus E. Sanchez. But Sanchez insists that this convention has nothing to do with ELF or any of the European football politics that have dominated the scene for the last few months.

Instead, the pair’s goal is threefold: to increase the quality of coaching in Europe at all levels by providing a space for learning along with offering networking opportunities for those in different and sometimes competing leagues, and also to make sure they have a great time.

Sanchez noted:

“This is an investment, we actually lost money on this. But we’re investing in European coaches at all levels so they can go on and raise the level of play across the board. It’s not about professional leagues or politics. We just want to make everyone better.

The first day of the convention also featured European British coaching legend Lee Rowland who broke down his fast paced no huddle offense, how to prepare for a game and the in-depth statistical analysis undertaken each week; Max Kössler, the Vienna Vikings home grown product, discussed the importance of idiosyncratic movements of receivers; Schwäbisch Hall Unicorns’ linebackers coach David Zeller who broke down fits, gaps and movements skills; Marc Mattioli, the Italian Bowl winning head coach and former Stanford and Vanderbilt defensive backs coach, who spoke on the myths within man coverage; and last but not least, NFL coaching legend and one of the greatest defensive mind on the planet, Wade Phillips.

Phillips’ willingness to share and remain humble, despite his outstanding success, was apparent from the moment he entered the room. His approach focused on the ethical side of coaching and how the values that his father, Bum Phillips, instilled in him made him one of the most revered and respected coaches in the NFL

Phillips’ connections with Europe stretch back for some years as he previously visited Berlin for games, but it was his relationship with both Sanchez and Iaccarino that spurred him to come to Europe:

“I’ve known the guys at Barcelona for a long time, they invited me over and I thought it was a great opportunity. When you’re on Twitter you connect with more than just your areas. I wanted to come here and see what the coaching was like. The speakers here have been just as good as any I’ve seen in the US, and I go to a lot of these clinics.”

And for Sanchez and Iaccarino this continent-wide first will not be the last you see of them. They already have plans to host another convention in six months’ time at the same venue. They hope to be able to invite a much larger group with multiple speakers allowing for a more engaging position-specific approach.

With the first day of the convention in the books, attendees can now look forward to Jag Bal and a 3-4 master class from Wade Phillips on the second.

For more information on the European Coaches Convention click here.

You can also check out the ECC Facebook page.



Daniel Mackenzie is a Press Association graduate who works in journalism and communications in the third sector. Daniel began playing football for the London Warriors and Team Great Britain and has since played across Europe.