Football practices begin for Lombardi Middle School
GREEN BAY (WLUK) -- Green Bay, football and the name Lombardi -- they all go together.
But it almost all came apart this year, until four coaches answered the call from Lombardi Middle School, which initially was forced to cancel the upcoming football season.
This is the first week of practices for kids at Lombardi and for one coaches who agreed to help out. It's something of a homecoming.
"You know, it's Lombardi Middle School but it's also my alma mater, so it's a pretty neat opportunity. When I went here, they didn't have a football team so I got to work with the kids and give back to my community a little bit," said coach Bill Oroyan.
Amy Hogan is in her first year as athletic director after spending the last eight years as an assistant athletic director.
"What would it have meant if a school named Lombardi did not have football? Um, we would have tried to find some other options for the kids to participate in," Hogan said.
Luckily for those who wanted to put on football gear, it didn't come to that.
"When I found out there might not be any coaches, I was just going to go back to soccer but there is so, play football," said Alonzo Frias.
"Our mindset is just to go undefeated cause we have a bigger team than last year and more players and bigger players, so we just hope to get it all working by the first game," said Alex Coniff.
The motto of Lombardi Middle School is, 'We're in-VINCE-able.' And while that remains to be seen, at least they're in the game this year, thanks to volunteer coaches who stepped up.
Oroyan says he didn't know any of his fellow coaches beforehand, but says they all decided to sign up for a similar reason.
"Really to give back to the kids. I think football meant something really important to all of us and wouldn't want that opportunity to be missed because there's a lack of participation and I think that shows with as much of a response as Lombardi got," Oroyan said.
Hogan says they got all kinds of responses from those interested in coaching at Lombardi, even as far away as Texas.
The four-game season starts Sept. 12.