By Mark F. Gray, AFRO Staff Writer, firstname.lastname@example.org
Lamont Jordan finds himself sampling from national radio personality and baseball coach, Aaron “Hercules” Jones, who won the Metropolitan Independent School Athletic League (MISAL) championship at Riverdale Baptist High School in May. Jordan, the former NFL running back, is literally starting from the bottom to build a football program. He hopes to make a name for themselves in one of the nation’s powerhouse regions for college recruiters.
Sampling is what Jordan thinks will give him an edge because he’s been around the some of the greatest minds in the game. He is hoping to blend principles learned while playing for Bill Bellichick, Mike Martz, and Norv Turner to make his team a championship success at his new job in Upper Marlboro’s private school.
Lamont Jordan is the new head football coach at Riverdale Baptist High School in Upper Marlboro, Md. (Courtesy Photo)
Jordan, a Suitland High School grad, played eight years and with four teams in the NFL after a distinguished career at Maryland. He accounted for a total of 4,035 yards and 31 touchdowns between the New York Jets, the Oakland Raiders, the New England Patriots, and the Denver Broncos. Jordan also served as a coaching understudy while working on Martz’s NFLPA Collegiate Bowl teams, and was the running backs coach for the San Diego Fleet of the defunct Alliance of American Football League.
“I’ve been fortunate to have played for a lot of great coaches on all levels, so it’s hard to say who had the greatest influence,” Jordan told the AFRO. “When I first started playing the game I learned it from a guy in my neighborhood who was just coaching us up. That’s what I do.”
There is a method to what Jordan is doing. He is pushing this team’s learning curve by installing a rather sophisticated NFL style offense that uses professional schemes and terminology from day one. It’s one of the first lessons this young group of Crusaders had to learn before the season kicked off. There is a correlation between study time, playing time, and mastery of the playbook forced the team to begin the learning before classes started.
“The foundation is the foundation period,” Jordan said. “We use NFL verbiage to communicate assignment, alignment, and technique when they are in the huddle. The kids have to go home and study the playbook in order to be ready when they hit the field. It’s the first step of them understanding how to execute in the game of life that will serve them when they move to college and into the workforce.”
Jordan is the final part of the three sport coaching makeover that Riverdale Baptist began at the start of the 2018-2019 school year. Coaches of their basketball, baseball, and football programs are part of a new philosophy that no longer focuses on recruiting student-athletes.
In addition to his coaching responsibilities, Jordan also finds himself rebuilding the infrastructure of his program. He is raising funds for new uniforms and equipment while facing teams such as Bishop McNamara, who are a haven for his transfers. Jordan also finds himself educating parents on realistic expectations for what their student-athlete should expect to gain long term from playing football.
“You have to learn how to handle the emotion of teaching kids and parents about the process,” Jordan said. “When you tell a parent why their kid isn’t starting, it can be difficult for them to accept. I want to prepare them for life after the game.”