MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — In football, kickers are often an afterthought until the game is on the line.
A Twin Cities man is going out of his way to make sure they are ready when that moment comes.
Special Teams Football Academy is getting praise from coaches and kickers alike.
“It’s another way to get on the field,” said Chris Husby. “Sometimes you can be the fourth-string linebacker, or receiver, and not really play at all.”
Husby started the Special Teams Football Academy four years ago. He’s a former University of St. Thomas punter who tried out for some NFL teams. Now, he’s focused on turning high school kickers into game winners.
“It’s been fun,” he said. “We’re starting to see a lot of success. And a lot of these kickers here are kicking at a high level and performing very well for their schools.”
Twenty of the kids Chris has coached over the past few years are kicking in the state tournament in Minnesota and Wisconsin.
That includes Edina kicker Patrick Lecorre who tied the school record with 13 field goals this year.
“Kicking is not as easy as most people put it,” Lecorre said. “A lot of work goes into perfecting it, and making a lot of field goals in games, because that’s when it all counts.”
Lecorre believes the fundamentals that have made him successful were learned from Chris.
“I started working with Chris, who is a great guy and a great coach,” Lecorre said. “He’s worked with me since I was a bad kicker. And I’ve worked my way to get better.”
And it’s not just kicking field goals. Jon Coppens, who’s kicking in the state semifinals for Holy Family Catholic, said the academy is more than just splitting the uprights.
“He’s helped me tremendously,” Coppens said. “I do a 10-yard onside up the middle, and it’s worked two out of three times, so it has been a great weapon for my team.”
Husby said he trains kickers year-round and he hopes to one day coach in college, and possibly the NFL.
“It’s really exciting times right now, to follow the brackets and root for the teams with the kids you trained,” he said.