This week we caught up with the new Head Coach of the London Blitz B Squad - Anthony Coverdale. The former Offensive Coordinator has replaced Greg Goldie, who retired from the team at the end of last season after many years of relentless service.
How did you first get into American Football?
I got into American football in the mid 80’s. Channel 4 had just started to show it on Sunday nights, and I managed to catch a few shows.
I brought a magazine called Gridiron UK that had an article about Mark Gastineau (below) in it and I thought “This guy’s the man! How do I get into this sport?”
My parents did some research and I was lucky enough to live in an area with a team (North Herts Phantoms) with a youth programme (Spirits), and I started my journey in the sport.
How did you end up coaching for the London Blitz?
When my playing time ended I started to coach for a local team - the Bedfordshire Blue Raiders.
In 2012 Anthony Fitzpatrick joined the Raiders coaching staff from the London Blitz, and I assisted him at OC until the team merged with the MK pathfinders in 2013, to form the Ouse Valley Eagles.
Coach Fitzpatrick returned to the Blitz and recommended me to Greg Goldie, who was looking for coaches for the development squad. It was an easy decision for me when I was asked if I wanted the job, as I had played for Mark Moss when he was HC for the Hertfordshire stags, and with Coach Fitzpatrick there I had two coaches I knew and respected.
Last season – the Blitz B’s first ever – the team finished 4-6 in their division. What do you think the team can accomplish this season?
To finish 4-6 in your first season is fantastic especially when you consider we had 2 playoff-bound teams in our division, with one of them winning the Div 2 national championship.
The standout game for me was the last game of the season against the London Hornets. Despite missing some key players though injury, we went blow for blow with them and came out on top.
We won as a team that day - not at any point bid anyone drop their head or take a play off. That confirmed to me that we had all bought in to the Blitz culture, and that great things lay ahead!
We have a young team, but we made great strides last year. That does not happen overnight, and is a great testament to the work Greg Goldie has put in over the years to get a B team up and running.
Many of the players in the Blitz B Team are still very new to American Football. What do you expect from players in your team?
The guys returning this year know what’s expected of them - commitment on and off the field. For guys coming along to our rookie days in January we expect the same. That’s the culture of the programme from top to bottom, and that’s what it takes to win.