Monday, March 8, 2010
5 Questions With Coach Lee
Dion A. Lee, CEO and Head Coach of the Las Vegas Showgirlz can be found all over the Women's Football Talk programming when he isn't working on his team or other contributions to women's football. He stopped his busy schedule enough to be a guest for five questions today:
1. Describe your coaching experiences that have led you to the Showgirlz. What other coaching experience do you have? Have you coached sports other than football?
Coaching goes back to 1994 for me as a full-time thing. After my college career I went back to my high school (Carson High, in Carson, CA) and made my coaching debut as the Defensive Back coach. That year I coached and developed one of the best secondary in the City, 3 out of 4 were selected on the first team All-League team and All-City team that year. I knew all along that I wanted to coach for a living. In my second year I was promoted to the defensive coordinator position. But as life goes on I went back into my true love full time, entertainment promotions. From 1996 to 2001, I made my living in the entertainment industry as an Urban Marketing Specialist.
The need to get back on the field came in 2001, when I saw an ad for a head coaching position at Pasadena High. When I answered that ad the position was filled but I was asked to join the staff as a Defensive Back coach. The following year I was promoted to Defensive Coordinator. From 2001 to 2005 I helped put Pasadena back on the map and we were the top defense in the C.I.F in 02, 03 and 04. I was also the head Track and Field coach, again building the program up by recruiting heavily on campus to get us rolling. In track we won two boy league titles while I was there, but was more proud of building the girls program from 10 girls to over 75 and help them make it out of league and into the C.I.F. After the 04 season I was interested in becoming a head coach as the head coach was stepping down. But again life happens and my wife and I decided to move to Las Vegas. I drove back and forth from Pasadena to Vegas for the next 2 years to continue teaching and coaching Track and Field. Before we moved, I had befriended Aubrey Duncan of the Los Angeles Amazons. He wanted me to help coach his team of women football players. At first I just laughed, "women, right!!!" It wasn't until I went to a WPFL Championship in the Fall of 04 that I saw a game live.........and I loved it!!!! I told myself I have to get involved. So in the Fall of 2005, I went to Dallas Texas and presented the Las Vegas Showgirlz as a team to add to the WPFL line-up.
The Spring of 2006 is when we got started and never looked back, the first tryout was a little disappointing, we only had 7 players make it out that day, but we had 10 different media outlets there to see us. We ran practice as though we had a full team knowing that the news was going to cover a select few anyway. Players started seeing on us on the news and in newspapers and the next week we had 20 new girls out there. The week after we had 30 more new ones plus the other 30 or so others. Now we have a team. That year we had over 120 women come out and tryout for the team. I told the ladies that it is going to take us 5 years before we are on top of this Women's Football "thang". We went 2-5 in 2006, 2-6 in 2007, 5-3 in 2008, and 8-0 in 2009 losing in our first appearance in the WFA National Playoffs. In 2010, this is the year - just like I planned 5 years ago!!!
2. Tell me about your annual conference - what was your motivation, inspiration, and how did it all come together?
The annual camp and conference is nothing new, it was just something that wasn't being done in women's football. There are 100's of camps and clinics for football players and coaches all over the nation but none were open or for women football players. I have been around the women's game since 2005 and saw a need for our product to get better. We had good players but the true football fan wants to see great players. So after talking to a few coaches out there we talked about the needs of the players and created the WFCC or the Women's Football Camp and Conference.
At first the Camp and Conference was not welcome with open arms. Even though it was a great idea, the leagues out there didn't feel in was needed. They felt that all the owners would get together and talk and recruit each other out of each others' leagues and the same with the coaches. They thought that teams would be lining up to recruit their players.
As you can see they were all wrong....lol! The purpose was to get everyone that wanted to improve their game on and off the field to come and experience that. To learn the game, to be taught by others, to get the latest in coaching, to find out how to get sponsors, how niche marketing is what we do, how to sell season tickets and getting fans in the stands, to come together and work together.
In 2008 we had 42 campers there, in 2010 we had 73 campers and 13 management staff attend. Has it hit the numbers that we expected? No, not even close, we have what - 100 teams or so out there!!! We were looking at 2 coaches from each team, 2 management staff and 4 players, giving us a total of 800 attendees for the Camp and Conference. Very real listed numbers. We will get there on day some, as of today, March 5th, we have over 130 signed up for the January 6th, 2011 Camp and Conference.
3. What sports have you personally been involved in throughout your life? What do you do now for fun, competition, or health & fitness?
I have been involved in several sports from the age of 5 to now. I started playing sports at the age of 5 with flag football and basketball. I stuck with football and track throughout high school and college. Later I earned a D1 scholarship to attend and graduated from Cal State University of Long Beach. I played Defensive Back and later switched to Wide Receiver, earned All Big West Conference in Track and Field.
What I do now as far as competition is compete against my two kids and wife in everything; from racing to the front door, playing the Wii System, Bingo and Candyland. I get a little more fit by working out, side by side with the ladies that I Coach in football. Other than that, walking and running at work as a Recreation Sports Specialist for Clark County Parks & Rec.
4. Who are your role models and why? Do you consider yourself a role model? Why or why not?
My role models are to this day are still my parents. They have always shown me the way. They have helped me become the man that I am today.
I see myself as a role model to many out there. Coaching is a position where you are looked as a role model, a teacher, a leader. I am a leader and believer and I show that in my everyday work habits to help build Women's Football.
5. Tell me something that may surprise people to know about you.
Wow, that's a hard question, but as I think about it, most people don't know how funny I am. I should of been a comedian.....lol!