A lesson from one of the best receivers in the game

More than Football, Profiles

Adrienne Smith’s advice for girls and women who love football is simple.

P L A Y.

Number 10 for the Boston Renegades has compiled one of the most decorated careers in tackle and flag football in the game. The receiver’s resume and stats go back more than 10 years:

She is a FIVE-time Team USA flag football competitor who won THREE silver medals.

She won THREE Women’s Football Alliance (WFA) national tackle championships with Boston. In SEVEN of her eight seasons, she led the league as a top-16 overall receiver – compiling 3,272 yards and 37 touchdowns.

Smith was the WFA’s No. 1 overall player in 2016 as a receiver (54 catches, 742 yards and 12 TDs) and kick returner (14 returns, 292 yards and one TD).

She won TWO gold medals from Team USA’s national teams (2010, 2013) and scored the FIRST touchdown in the history of women’s national tackle in 2010: on a 54-yard reception.

“When opportunities are made available and restrictions removed: girls and women flourish. It brings me joy.”

This week, and especially in the last year, women in football have gained national attention.

Coaches Lori Locust and Maral Javadifar will work alongside Sarah Thomas, the first female official to work the Super Bowl. Jennifer King recently became the first Black woman to earn a full-time assistant coach title for the Washington Football Team.

All three coaches appeared in this week’s Nike and NFL announcement around adding girls’ competitive flag opportunities to high schools.

The tides are turning. More sponsorship. More opportunities. More support. More girls competing in high school.

Haley Van Voorhis, a junior defensive back from Virginia is being recruited by Division III programs. She may become the first woman to play at the NCAA level not as a kicker or punter. As the work is unpaid, Van Vorrhis may also compete for the D.C. Divas, scheduled to play Smith’s team April 18, before she begins college. Free safety Toni Harris became the first woman to sign and play NAIA football in 2019.

Most women – especially those who’ve built as robust a reputation as Smith – started from a much different path.

As a kid, she tackled her stuffed animals. Her dad taught her to throw a perfect spiral. Her mom taught her to fish. Still, Smith put in the work to become a multisport athlete: softball from third grade to graduation. She added basketball in high school and went on to compete overseas in Japan.

Her first exposure to playing football was in high school, when she broke a ring finger grabbing a guy’s flag.

The story includes her disclaimer: “come on, we’re ballers… I was still a champ.”

Of course she finished the game.
Naturally, her team won the championship.

She never looked back.

When we talked on the 35th anniversary of National Women and Girls in Sports Day, Smith was plotting training ideas to prepare for the upcoming WFA season. COVID cancelled what would’ve been her 15th playing tackle in 2020.

The Columbia Business School MBA grad and entrepreneur lives in New York City, recently snowed under. Amid the pandemic, she’s not comfortable visiting a commercial gym, but is pining to get under a barbell to knock out squats and deadlifts.

Make no mistake, no challenge will stop her. After all, she’s an athlete – sprints, jumping rope, flag tournaments, biking, boxing, whatever it takes, it takes.

But if there’s anything Adrienne Smith knows after a truly legendary career spanning football, acting (big flex: she appeared in the Netflix blockbuster Orange is the New Black), media, and building a number of successful businesses, it’s this:

If you want it, you’ll figure it out.

In 2010, 45 women assembled from all over the country to compete in the first-ever International Federation of American Football (IFAF) Women’s World Championships. Sweden hosted the first global gathering of women’s tackle football.

The rallying cry for the Americans: one team, mission gold.

In three games versus Austria, Germany and Canada: Team USA 201 – The World 0. Team USA’s defense gave up an average of 1.5 rushing yards / carry.

“We came back to silence. We did a momentous thing. I wasn’t necessarily looking for a ticker-tape parade but I felt like the moment needed some type of recognition. We killed it. No one scored. We got zero coverage.”

Smith is a less caption, more action woman.

She asked college friends in the foreign service and Department of Justice to lay out the process for visiting the White House – a traditional ceremony for national history-makers.

For three years she wrote letters petitioning to have Team USA invited to celebrate.

In that time, Smith also repeated as a gold medalist on the second Team USA squad.

In 2013, the IFAF Women’s World Championships were hosted in Finland. The Americans defeated Germany, Sweden and Canada to set a new scoring benchmark: Team USA 255, The World 7.

Smith was one of six USA players to score in the championship game (again versus Canada) and scored in each of the other two victories. Team USA created an apt 13 turnovers in its three games, three returned for touchdowns.

Keeping with the theme, 13 women (including now-renown coaches Cleveland’s Chief of Staff Callie Brownson and former Arizona intern and NFL’s first female coach Dr. Jen Welter) accepted the White House invitation.

Few women in football are “just” one thing.

They are CEOs. Intellects. College-educated and streetwise. Business owners and leaders. Police officers and teachers. Moms. Lawyers. Janitors. Every job and title between.

They deftly juggle demands: family, career, and an absolutely burning passion to find their own space.

“Girl. Play Football” is Smith’s rallying cry for Gridiron Queendom – a safe and supportive community for girls and women.

“Football is like math or music. It’s a universal language. I’ve met women from around the world who had the same love and passion I did for the game. I want a little girl in Japan, or a woman in Moscow, who wants to be a football player to not feel alone or weird. I wanted this to be a place where – flag or tackle – they can find community, see images, and read about peers doing the same things.”

In 2018, Smith took a year off from playing tackle in Boston to building BLITZ CHAMPZ, a card game of her own invention.

She pitched for national distribution at Wal-Mart and has big goals for its long-term success. She wants to make the game, which teaches critical math and reasoning in a fun way, a universal favorite – used by millions of elementary school children.

This seeming leap to education isn’t a new one – Smith created Harlem Hip Hop Tours as a unique workshop and field trip platform for grades 3-12 in her backyard.

“We are not a number. We’re here to put up numbers. [Women and girls] make football better.”

Nike commercial aired Feb. 2, 2021

For the past nine years, Smith has commuted five hours a day, three days per week from New York City to Boston in the name of tackle football. She recognizes, however, this pursuit isn’t just her. Not even close.

She most admires Lynn Lewis – her 2008 Team USA flag football coach and a pioneer for the game in New York (where she got her tackle start) – and Molly Goodwin – fellow 2010 Team USA gold medalist, and now owner and coach of the Renegades.

Lewis died after a longtime battle with breast cancer. Her legacy lives on in the work of her Foundation dedicated to helping the families of women also battling the disease. It is funded by the biggest annual women’s flag tournament in the sport. A longtime decorated tackle player in her own right, Goodwin took over as Boston’s owner in 2014 and advocated for the creation of the recently-aired ESPN movie, Born to Play.

Smith considers the selfless leadership of Lewis and Goodwin to be the goal for all role models:

“They created a smoother and broader path for the girls and women behind to follow.”

Girls and women: play football. The message couldn’t be more clear.

Follow Adrienne Smith on Twitter and Instagram.

2021 Clinic Finder

Clinics, Coaching

new year, new knowledge

One of the most humbling things about 2020 was seeing how I could serve other coaches. Using social media and my own passion to learn, I sourced more than 100 clinic opportunities in the inaugural edition of this list.

In 2020, I was fortunate to attend clinics with the Minority Coaches Association of Alabama and Glazier in Atlanta. At both, I made new friends, ran into a former coach I haven’t seen for years, and reconnected with a few old colleagues. From those I saw, I have to specifically call out Coach Caralla (Georgia Tech) for his passion, intensity and unique ideas; fandom in seeing Coach Foster (Iowa) presenting zone; and new ideas I took from Coach Fountain (Arkansas) on special teams.

I’m so thankful to the coaches who first introduced me to AFCA and going to coaching clinics a few years ago. One of the most powerful things about their invitation (beyond growing my thirst for knowledge and network), was the camaraderie I felt in having bonding time outside of work, especially since I’ve been a community coach. It was also nice to sometimes walk into a room with people I already knew and be introduced to their friends. I now try to go to as many clinics as I can, which sometimes means I’m solo and I’ve always appreciated coaches who make an effort to network outside their own groups. Hopefully we can all do that for each other when we get back to gatherings and travel.

In the mean time, I hope this second annual list helps you find new mentors and knowledge in 2021. With virtual meetings being more the norm moving into the new year, I expect many more opportunities to be added. I’ll update as much as possible as we go into the spring, but wanted to get this out with a few great January events planned.

Please let me know if I’m missing anything you’ve seen or shoot me a note at @CoachSmith67 on Twitter … and thanks ahead for sharing this tool with your networks.

Here’s to a great new year!



Jan. 7-9: Florida FACA Winter Football Clinic – In-person, Daytona, Florida (free to members, $70/nonmembers)

Jan. 12-14: American Football Coaches Association Annual Convention – Virtual (AFCA membership required)

Jan. 14-17: Virginia-Carolina Coaches Clinic – Virtual ($10)

Jan. 14-17: Lauren’s First and Goal Coaches Clinic – proceeds benefit pediatric brain tumor research, Virtual ($49 and donations)

Jan. 14-16: Michigan High School Football Coaches Association Winners Circle Annual Football Clinic – Virtual ($90)

Jan. 20-23: Wings & Things Online Clinic – Virtual ($25-60)

Jan. 23-24: Head Coaches Academy – Virtual ($29)

January 28-29: Southeast Texas Coaches Association 23rd Annual Golden Triangle Coaches Clinic – In-person, Beaumont, Texas ($40)

Jan. 29: Alabama Football Association Coaches Clinic – Virtual – ($25, free to members)

Jan. 29-31: 23rd annual Dallas-Fort Worth Coaches Clinic – In-person, Dallas, Texas ($80, refundable if cancelled)

Jan. 31-Feb. 1: Kansas Football Coaches Association (KFBCA) Clinic – Virtual ($5)


Feb. 2-5: New York State High School Football Coaches Association Clinic – Virtual ($50 before Jan. 11)

Feb. 5-6: Quad Cities Coaches Kickoff Clinic – In-person, Bettendorf, Iowa ($100)

Feb. 18-21: Texas Alliance for Black School Educators Conference & Leadership Institute: Delivering on the promise, equity, social justice and restorative practices – Virtual (fees vary)

Feb. 21-27: Nike Virtual Clinic – $125 before Jan. 31

Feb. 23-24: Harding University Football Coaches Clinic – In-person, Conway, Arkansas ($75 before Feb. 1)

Feb. 22: Texas High School Coaches Association Leadership Summit – In-person, Arlington, Texas ($89 in advance)

Feb. 26-27: Piney Woods Football Clinic – In-person, Longview, Texas ($60 before Jan. 6)

Feb. 27: Bring that Hammer Clinic – In-person, Quitman, GA (register online – questions to @_coachevans or @CoachJoshMack on Twitter)


March 6: Western Nebraska Powered Up Clinic – In-person, Ogallala, Nebraska ($45 pre-registered)


April TBD: Minority Coaches Association of Georgia Coaches Academy – apply by March 10, 2021 for consideration

April 8-10: Minnesota Football Coaches Association Clinic – TBD, date posted only

April 16-17: Southeast Iowa Coaches Clinic – In-person, Moravia, Iowa ($60 before April 1)


May 14-15: The Annual Offensive Line Clinic – In-person, Cincinnati, Ohio ($95)


July 19-22: North Carolina Coaches Association Football Clinic – In-person, Greensboro, North Carolina ($45 before deadline)

Will the real @CoachKurtHines please coach us up …?

Featured Coaches

In the past six years, Kurt Hines has amassed something of a cult following among high school football coaches.

More than 44,000 fans gobble up his relatable, positive (often car) selfie video content and wise musings on Twitter.

He’s used his aversion to pants (or ‘leg prisons’ as he proudly proclaims) to build a unique brand, which also plays well to the TikTok crowd.

The success has spun off into a podcast series and motivational speaking business complete with polished website and paid corporate engagements. His popularity is partly because of his big personality.

He jokingly admits he cultivates his image in the sense that he doesn’t post unflattering photos where he has seven chins (preach 🙏), but his primary goal for social media is to create relationships.

This genuine love for people comes through in daily interactions: he returns messages and trades comments with most anyone who’ll reach out and tag him. In demand more than ever, Hines deftly schedules meetings around family commitments. Wife Jillian, who convinced him to join Twitter in the first place, often drives to outings so he can use traffic time to talk to other coaches.


Despite the polish inherent to most ‘influencer’ personalities, Hines exudes realness in all realms.

In person, Hines is physically imposing like you’d expect a 6-foot, 2-inch, ex-college football player to be. His longtime strength coach + gym-rat frame, shaved head, and penchant for cutoff shirts exudes traditional alpha.

But he’s humble and funny about it.

Hines also:

  • is a fourth-grade teacher
  • describes Jillian as his best friend
  • prefers a hug to a handshake

Most interesting, he’s unafraid to share his flaws.

In high school, Hines recalls being a tough kid who really loved fighting.

He was an average student with consistent B’s and C’s. He played center and defensive end at Barrington High School.


At times, he worked with Special Olympics athletes and won art awards.

Other times, he got arrested.

A fight with three police officers resulted in his parents refinancing their home to pay his legal fees.

A year later, he spent the night in jail for fighting … this time out of town. He recalls being pulled into an office after spending the night in a cell. The lieutenant asked questions that caused him to rethink his decisions:

How many guys in prison do you think are boys who never grew up?  Too many.

How many of those guys had great potential and now aren’t doing anything with their lives?  Most.

“I had great teachers and a fun-loving, blessed childhood with supportive parents. The chief of police, despite my bad behavior, ultimately was a fan. I wasn’t given, or handed, many things, but I made a lot of stupid decisions. I had to grow up. I loved football as a player, and I love it even more now as a coach.

I have an opportunity to share what I’ve learned about how fragile life can be.”

Hines played college football at Plymouth State in New Hampshire for three years. He majored in elementary education thanks to the impact of a seventh-grade math teacher and a part-time high school job working at a football coaches’ daycare.

He loved working with kids.

“I think all students do better in class, give better effort, and learn more easily, if they know we care.”

He’s carried that sentiment into his roles – as football coach and fourth-grade teacher – and this level of care sets him apart.

At times, it has drawn his critics.

Early in his foray as a head coach, an assistant confronted him after practice and delivered this blow:  “The team doesn’t respect you.”

Hines was embarrassed but had the fortitude to ask for an example.

The position coach responded simply. “They aren’t afraid of you.”

This defined an uncrossable line for Hines … and became a non-negotiable in his approach.

“Fear and respect are two different things. If I have a young man, or woman, in distress – whether its worry over sexuality, suicidal thoughts, or they are dealing with a bad family situation – if they fear me, they will never tell me what’s going on.

“I can never help them.”

Hines traded his senior year of playing college ball for coaching a flag football team for kids with special needs.

Three years into teaching, he asked the head football coach at Souhegan High School for a volunteer job, and ended up as a paid freshman head coach for seven seasons. He proved his talent, and approach, and was recruited into a role at Goffstown High School.

His first head coaching role was at Bedford High School, which was in its infancy as a varsity program. The team had no seniors and he inherited four coaches, two who played college football.

“We were so bad, no one lied to us. They’d say … ‘man, coach, you have a beautiful field’ instead of ‘good game.’

“Sometimes when I speak to people, I lead with ‘we set some records in the state.’ Most people get a knowing look in their eyes, and I go on to say, ‘we set records for being beat up more than anyone in the state of New Hampshire.’ ”

Still, Hines reflects on that year as his greatest as a head coach despite subsequent years flush with success in division, league and state championships and a selection as Coach of the Year in 2012.

The early failure made him really examine his motivations and goals:

How badly do I really want to do this?
Why do I want to do this?

In the soul-searching, Hines found some answers:

As a head coach, Hines wanted to be able to be completely be himself. And, he wanted to choose his own staff – great coaches who loved people.

“Everyone talks about this in an interview process, but when times are tough, your true colors show. I want coaches who truly align with my goal to change lives.

“I am focused on living what I’m selling. If you want the best team, regardless of wins and losses, you better produce that in players who are doing better in the classroom and staying out of trouble. That success comes down to relationships. Players realize what we’re doing is more than a game. For all of us, playing football ends.

“If winning is the only goal that matters, you will be disappointed.”

Hines grew his Bedford team into contenders, serving as head coach, OC, RB, DB and strength and conditioning coach alongside teaching first through fourth grades.

But despite all the experiences in his extensive career, Hines will be the first to say he doesn’t have all the answers.

He admits sometimes he thinks more about what he’ll say next in a conversation instead of really listening but knows as the leader, he doesn’t want to do all the talking.

“I spent half my career as an assistant and there’s nothing worse than the feeling that if you left, no one would notice.”

Hines wants coaches who will own their areas, without reservation. His vetting process to find them has evolved. He traded letters of recommendation for a three-step hiring process that uses in-person meetings to determine fit.

  • First: discuss intentionally non-football related topics.
  • Second: position and game-specific chat.
  • Final: weight room sessions with students.

“I’ll see the red flags – does the person talk over you in a conversation? Do they have a personal life outside of football? Will they take the lead? Will they engage with all the players or gravitate to the most athletic and ignore smaller or heavier kids? I think it’s most telling to see coaches interact with players and afterward, to get the players’ opinions.”

Hines wants to be challenged by his assistants, to have genuine, thoughtful conversations. He admits his ego has taken a few hits with this approach, and early on, definitely caused him to second-guess himself.

Ultimately, it’s also made him better … which translates to reaching players.

“A few years ago, we had to game plan against a 140-pound, shifty, fast player with 2,000 yards or so that season. We really didn’t have an answer to him but felt if we put our best corner on him and safety over the top, we’d have the best chance.

“I had two players in practice who I could tell really didn’t believe in our plan. When that happens, sometimes you have to humble yourself and be real with kids. I pulled them aside after practice and said, ‘look, we don’t have all the answers, but we think we have the best answer for us.’ Then I asked them what they would do. The most important thing in football is always to do things together, and if I can get my players to buy in and work together no matter what, we’ll have something.”

Hines doesn’t use voting for captains. He schedules and promotes meetings of a players’ leadership council.

“Some may never even play varsity, but they can see you working with everyone. They may never make an impact on the field as a part of the team, but that experience can impact their lives forever.”

Hines challenges councilmen to brainstorm on topics like what defines good leadership. The group negotiates a list of top leadership qualities and grades themselves against stated benchmarks. Hines participates in the exercise.

“Some players roll their eyes at first. I will give myself a six in an area and share how I can do a better job with it. Players assume coaches all feel like we’re a 10 in everything. For me to share areas where I know I can improve is empowering for them to see in someone they admire and respect.”

There is no compromise in faith or family.

Even in the darkest days of some epic losses as a head coach, Hines has not, and will not, hold a Sunday meeting.

“Too many coaches talk about raising players of character, but at the same time, their family goes by the wayside during football season. One of the most powerful things I can teach my players and coaches by example is balance.

“Football is important but it’s not the only part of who I am.”

In New Hampshire, Hines coached against son Brockton’s football team in his back-to-back junior and senior Homecoming games.

“At halftime his first year, we were up 21-0 and I was jogging up to the fieldhouse to use the restroom. I saw my wife come down from the stands, arms folded and this ‘knock it off’ look on her face. I truly did not even run our best play in that game, but after halftime, we took out all our starters and literally ran dive left and right.”

Hines recalls a more competitive game the next year, which included Brockton’s best individual game – a shared highlight for them both.


In a somewhat surprising turn of events for some in 2015, Hines and his family moved closer to eldest daughter Halee who attended San Diego State and started a family on the West Coast.

“It was hard to tell the kids [at Bedford] I was leaving, but it was easy because I, and they, knew why. I’m now three miles from my grandsons [Cruz and Maddox] and we get to be present in their lives.”

In California, Hines interviewed at Christian High School and was hired as running backs coach, special teams coordinator, and strength coach. The family drove cross-country, arriving on a Saturday.

Hines reported to practice two days later. The opportunity parlayed into what he hopes is his final head football coaching role at Coronado High School in 2017.



As suspected, there’s an awful lot to the real Kurt Hines.

He turned a love for kids into an expansive varsity football career on both coasts.

He coached a 0-9 team to three state runner-up finishes in three divisions.

He’s the teacher who legitimately oozes with pride in sharing he’s never raised his voice to his elementary school classes in 25 years.

Between positive, uplifting (and, often, comical) posts on social media, he actively shares his life in and out of football, and his family and faith, with the world.

For all the things he is, Kurt Hines knows why.

“As much as I care about the game, I care more about the people. It is such a blessing to selflessly serve those we lead. I think we have an opportunity every day to change lives. I want people to know me for serving that passion.”


Why Scoop AND Roar Exists

Building the Business

I’m super proud of the Coaches Football Clinic list I published this year … and even more excited that it has received more than 2,000 views to date.  

I fangirled a bit about briefly being identified to other coaches on Twitter as “a national site” but that is my long-term goal in creating valuable content for all football coaches.

I started this website two years ago and I hadn’t really found my mission until this post took off and I started a new social account to promote it:

“For the love of football: coaching resources and gridiron storytelling.”

I drew on my own story for the website name:

For the handful of non-hog readers, the scoop is a backside run block for the offensive line (where I spent my playing career and where my heart will always be as a coach).  Backside blocking can be a neglected art form, but is critical to avoid negative plays … and unnecessary chaos at the point of attack.  Just like education and self-awareness, blind spots in leadership and growth can hold us back.

As I continue to cultivate knowledge, I also will gather a team of mentors and friends who’ll serve as my left tackles in life, to always tell me the truth.

I also have a passion for storytelling with my journalism background. “Getting the scoop” on something, or someone, is as natural to me as snapping a ball.  I chose to work in sports rather than write about them after college, but I do hope my website is someday as valuable to some as football scoop is to most.

“Roar” is one of many nicknames I’ve acquired but, more than that, I want it to be an opportunity to amplify great football stories and people.  One of my next projects is to roll out some introductions to some of the unique and inspirational people in the game we love.

Please message me if you’ve got ideas for the website or stories to share. I look forward to seeing you … on the line.