In his 40-plus seasons as a football coach Brainerd's Ron Stolski has attended countless clinics and has conducted several of his own.
The Warriors' head coach began conducting clinics in Brainerd in 1976 because he thought there was a need for high school coaches to hear from their high school counterparts.
"The only clinics we went to back then were put on by college coaches," Stolski said. "I thought there was a lot of expertise in the high school ranks and saw a need for having a two-day clinic for high school coaches by high school coaches."
As the years rolled on the number of clinics increased so Stolski discontinued his.
"Frankly, the need no longer existed," he said, "plus the fact high school football had come to the point of sophistication where many of us were doing what was being done in colleges."
A few years ago a coaching colleague approached Stolski and said he should resurrect the Brainerd clinic because it was the best he had attended.
"So we did," Stolski said. "It was successful, and fun, but attendance was not great. I was convinced again there were enough clinics."
A golf tournament attached to Stolski's final clinic made it unique.
"What I learned is that people would rather play golf than go to a clinic in June," Stolski said. "As a result of that clinic I got a letter from a coach who said how much he enjoyed it, and if I ever wanted to do a clinic again he would like to help me."
That coach was Claud Allair, former head coach at Osseo, now an assistant at Minnetonka. But Stolski remained reluctant until last spring when Allair informed him a nationally known clinic organization wanted to put a clinic in Minnesota. Stolski said no about three times.
"Finally, I said yes but only if we put it together in a way that's unique and special," Stolski said, "and I think that's what we've done."
Between Stolski, Allair and Varsity Gold, an athletic fund-raising organization, and with the help of Brainerd businesses like Greg Larson Sports and Wendy's, the first Brainerd Football Conference is scheduled June 17-19 at Cragun's Resort on Gull Lake.
Events include a coaches golf tournament, a football clinic, management forums, an officials clinic, a fishing tournament on Mille Lacs Lake, a golf clinic and a strength and science seminar. The Heisman Trophy will be on display.
Coaches from Texas, Indiana, Iowa, North and South Dakota, Tennessee, Wisconsin and Minnesota will make presentations.
"Frankly, this lineup is a who's who in coaching," Stolski said. "In all my years as a coach I've attended hundreds of clinics, and I believe this lineup is as good as any clinic lineup I've ever seen, as do most of the people who've seen it."
Stolski said the golf and fishing tournaments attached to the event make it unique, along with the fact it will be at a resort, there are clinics for various groups and as much time will be spent on coaching management as on coaching techniques.
"I've felt, in all my years coaching, and as an athletic director, that one of the areas we do not address often enough is coaching management, how do you do the things you do, particularly at the high school level," he said.
"We thought what more of a unique situation than to be playing golf or to be fishing and maybe being paired up with an official or supplier or perhaps someone involved in strength."
Stolski said the fact many coaches take time off in June, attend other clinics or conduct a clinic of their own poses a challenge.
"We think all the ingredients are there for success," he said. "My goal is to have everyone involved in Friday night football games be represented -- officials, coaches, strength people and vendors.
"I think it will be a boon to the area. The guy from Texas is going to go home and say we've got to go back there next June, the guy from Indiana is going to do the same. I just know that. It's just that we've got to get it off the ground this first year."
Information is available at www.brainerdfootballconference.com.
Mike Bialka can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 855-5861.
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.