BOZEMAN – It was a star-studded day at Bozeman High School as San Francisco 49ers linebacker Brock Coyle held a camp for youth football players. It meant a lot of the Bozeman native to hold the camp at his home field, Van Winkle Stadium.
“To come back to Bozeman High and to really think about it like that is special,” said Coyle. “This is my hometown, this is where I grew up, Sacajawea Middle School, Bozeman High. And to see all these kids that are from Bozeman is just special to be back here, and that’s why I wanted to do it here.”
Coyle had some help on Saturday. Former Hawk and current Seattle Seahawk Will Dissly visited the camp, Butte’s Colt Anderson, who was most recently on the Buffalo Bills and 49ers lineman JP Flynn were also in attendance. In total, nine NFL players were here to coach the kids.
“Coming back and Brock putting this camp on is unbelievable,” said Dissly. “I mean, this is kind of where it started. Me and my friends would come to the Demaryius Thomas camp. Seeing the role models that I had growing up, it’s really cool coming back and being one of those guys.”
Coyle brought his NFL teammates and friends in to prove a big point to campers.
“My biggest thing was when I grew up in Bozeman, we never had anything like this,” Coyle said. “Just to bring NFL players back, just to get back in the community and just show these kids that they can do it. If they have a dream, they want to do something, they can do it out of Bozeman, Montana.”
Even though the Treasure State doesn’t have an NFL team, the lucky few who make it to the pros always remember their roots.
“That’s the thing about Montana, we look out for one another and bring other guys in, too,” said Dissly, a fourth-round selection in this year’s NFL draft out of the University of Washington. “Trying to teach these kids as much as we can so they can get to the next level one day.”
The biggest lesson of the day was simple to all the kids on the field. Whether you want to be an NFL player, a lawyer, or a doctor, there is one thing you have to do.
“Brock did give these guys a journal to write your goals down. If you just have a goal and you think about it and you don’t write it down, you’re going to forget it. So the best thing to do is write that goal down so you see it and you look at it every day,” said Dissly. “The goals evolve, every time you get a goal, ‘All right, I played varsity, now it’s time to be all-state, now it’s time to get a college football scholarship,’ so they build on each other, so don’t stop setting goals.”
The camp was only one day and more than 200 campers signed up. Coyle, who is five years into his pro career, said it was always a dream of his to hold a camp in Bozeman before he retired. But the former Montana Grizzly has much more time until that happens. In March the 49ers signed him to a three-year contract.