DUBLIN — The West Bladen Knights football program is taking another step toward consistent credibility by hosting its first-ever football camp aimed at those students 7 to 11 years old who will funnel through the school district to West Bladen High.
“This is pretty huge for us,” said Knights varsity head coach Russell Dove. “It’s a chance to host a camp that’s free for the kids and get some football and life skills taught through a highly-developed program. We’re extremely excited about this.”
The camp is being brought to West Bladen by a former Bladenboro High football player who played alongside Dove, Richard Howell, who is now in his 14th year as assistant strength and conditioning coach for the NFL’s Indianapolis Colts.
“That makes it extra special, having a local boy come home and bring a camp like this,” Dove said.
The free camp, being tabbed as the Richard Howell Football Camp Powered by USA Football, will be held Saturday, June 28, at the Knights’ football field and will run from 9 a.m. to noon. There will be an 8:30 a.m. registration time for anyone who has not previously registered online.
“But we are really encouraging folks to get their youngsters registered online as soon as possible,” Dove said.
There will be 80 slots available for online registration at http://usafootball.com/fun under the title of “Richard Howell Football Camp.” There will also be a printable waiver that should be signed by a legal guardian and brought to the event.
An additional 70 slots will be available on the day of the camp.
“we won’t turn anyone away,” Dove said. “I don’t know if we’ll fill the slots with students who will come through West Bladen, but that’s our hope.”
The camp, in addition to Howell, will feature instructors from the coaching staff and roster of the Knights football program, as well as coaches from around Bladen County and possibly beyond.
In addition to learning skills during the camp, each participant will receive a T-shirt, Gatorade and snacks.
The Howell bio
Following his graduation from Bladenboro High in 1990, Howell played his collegiate football for Davidson College as the team’s quarterback. He served as the Wildcats’ team captain his senior season.
When he had completed his collegiate career, Howell held five school records and finished his senior season ranked No. 4 in the nation in scoring for Div. 1-AA football.
After graduating from Davidson, Howell played one season for Akersberga in a Sweden league, then returned home to take a position as assistant coach at his alma mater, where he remained for five seasons. During that time, in the summer of 1997, he was an intern in the scouting department of the Carolina Panthers.
In 1998-99, he served in the strength and conditioning department at North Carolina as a graduate assistant.
In 1999, Howell was the strength and conditioning coach for the Barcelona Dragons in NFL Europe before returning to the United States to join the Indianapolis Colts’ staff.
Howell earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from Davidson.