The following article was run in the Feb. 28, 2013 issue of The Whitetopper, written by guest writer Jonathan Mason.
The NFL Hall of Fame contains to some of the greatest names of players and coaches to ever play the game; however, for local coach Doug Blevins, it’s what he did off the gridiron that took the nation by swarm.
As a young boy, Blevins was diagnosed with cerebral palsy and has spent his life in a wheelchair; however, that has certainly not stopped the 49-year-old from achieving the greatest honor he could have ever imagined.
“I don’t know how I got nominated … it’s an incredible feeling,” said Blevins in a previous interview about his name being on the 2013 ballot for the Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.
Blevins has spent his life obsessed with football. Growing up, he dreamed of somehow being on the field himself, so he reached out to one of the best coaches in NFL history in Tom Landry. As a simple student at Abingdon High, he never expected a reply; however, he received a letter back with loads of valuable information from Landry, and he took that letter and embraced every last word.
One key aspect of Landry’s letter was the information specific to the art of special teams. Blevins soon picked up on the practice of kicking – something he has never done. Now, many years later, Blevins is an assistant coach here at Emory & Henry and has been a proud mentor to more than 25 placekickers that have been, or currently are, in the NFL.
Though he may be years removed from teaching the likes of All-Pro kicker, David Akers, Blevins continues to find a way to motivate guys strapping on their cleats today. Two current indoor football league kickers have found their ways to Blevins. Jon Striefsky, 25, and Paul Stoltz, 24, are both former Delaware Blue Hens kickers aspiring to go pro. Both men are living with Blevins as he teaches them everything he can to maximize their skill.
Stolz and Striefsky are working hard at becoming NFL kickers in the near future. Stoltz is currently a pro kicker for the Lehigh Valley Steelhawks in Pennsylvania, while Striefsky is aspiring to try out for an NFL team within the year. Both players are learning every single trade Blevins can teach them.
“He is a tough coach. … We practice for long hours, and every now and then he will get agitated with us, but who wouldn’t?” Stoltz said.
“Doug has opened up his house and life to me and treated me like a member of his own family,” Striefsky said. “As a coach, he believes in my ability to kick at the game’s highest level. But allowing me to live in his home is the ultimate compliment because, in essence, it means he believes in me as a person.”
Blevins has always opened his home for those who have had faith in him as a coach, hosting several prospects and giving them the support they needed while they mastered the trade that was given to them.
Whether the sun is just rising or is slowly coming to a fade in the late evening, it is not uncommon to find Blevins speeding down Selfe Stadium waiting on practice to start.
“I think I am the best at it. … I owe a lot to the young men who come to me,” Blevins said of his coaching, “but I guess they owe me too.” As time draws to a close in the day, Blevins leaves the field with a smile on his face as his Delaware projects continue kicking, hoping to master the trade that Blevins has never had the chance to do.
E&H is no stranger to success stories; however, this man has taken what minimal amount he was given and has turned that into a great feat.
Although Blevins was not selected in the 2013 year, this, was only his first year on the ballot, and he will have further years to receive the votes needed to reach the prestigious Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.