BY HAROLD GUTMANN
DURHAM — When Frantzy Jourdain was the defensive coordinator for the Southern High football team, some of his athletes, like former UNC Chapel Hill basketball player David Noel, went on to college. But there were many other talented athletes who didn’t.
“They lacked a lot of things they needed,” Jourdain said. “From character to their academics to their work ethic, and just to the way they carried themselves from a perception standpoint.”
Jourdain went on to become an NFL scout with the New England Patriots and earned four Super Bowl rings in his 10 years with the team. During that time he was also been influenced by Myra Kraft, the recently deceased wife of team owner Robert Kraft, who always preached about giving back to the community.
Kraft’s words, combined with his memories from coaching in Durham, motivated Jourdain to organize the 1st and Goal Pro Youth Camp at N.C. Central University Saturday.
About 150 football players ages 8-17 participated in the event, along with former N.C. Central standout Robert Massey and representatives from seven different NFL teams.
The camp was broken into two sessions. In the morning, the campers gathered in the Leroy T. Walker Complex for classroom lectures on C.A.M.P. — Character building, Academic success, Motivation and Perception — which Jourdain said are the keys to a successful life.
Afterwards, the kids moved across the parking lot to O’Kelly-Riddick Stadium, where they were taught about fundamentals and technique before concluding the day with scrimmages.
Jourdain said that football helped steer him away from trouble after he signed up for a Pop Warner team as an 11-year-old in Brooklyn, N.Y.
“You see a lot of kids in the streets because they don’t have anything to turn to. This game changed a lot of people’s lives,” Jourdain said. “This game is a game of life, it prepares you, and we’re just trying to prepare them the right way.”
Massey, a former Hillside football coach who is now the head coach at Shaw, spoke to the campers in the morning.
“It’s hard to do what’s right, and it’s easy to get in trouble, but it’s hard to get out of trouble,” Massey said.
He was pleased that there was now a youth camp like this in Durham, where local students could speak with NFL scouts and assistants about the importance of character and hard work.
“They get a chance to see and hear from people that they’d never have an opportunity to in their lifetime, unless they’re in a pro city or they become a pro athlete themselves,” Massey said.
The camp had a capacity of 275, and Jourdain hopes to attract players from neighboring counties in future years.
“In the word of my boss (Patriots coach) Bill Belichick and my owner Mr. Kraft, you can always get better,” Jourdain said. “The only way this thing can do is go up.”
Article source: HeraldSun - NCCU Sports