The San Quentin All-Madden flag football team is getting a name change. Included with that name change is a re-vamp and overhaul of the team, including new rules for the players to abide by.
Head Coach Bryant Underwood is changing the name of the SQ All-Madden football team to the San Quentin 49ers, “paying homage to the only (pro) football team left that represents the Bay Area,” he said.
“Before I took over the football team, I got the opportunity to be mentored by the team’s former head coach, Dwight Kennedy, before he paroled,” said Underwood. “He asked me, ‘What is your vision for the program?’ I had no response at first. But then, Dwight told me that it was my chance to make a difference in the program.”
After conversing with several of the football program’s veterans, the mission for the program became evident to Underwood: to “create a new-found respect for the football program.”
The All-Madden football team was inspired by the late multiple Super Bowl-winning head coach and legendary commentator, John Madden.
The SQ All-Madden team has helped shape some of the players into better men. Coach Underwood understands the core essence and significance of the “Madden” name, and still intends to keep the name for the intramural football leagues. However, he believes that changing the name of the actual team to the Niners is the right move to make to push the new ethics and standards in the program.
“I intend to create a football academy for the program, but my main goal is to have this avenue for the rehabilitation of the participants,” Underwood said. “I found that organized football practices and games as an avenue could help offer guidance and mentorship to our participants in the program the same way that I did.”
Underwood outlined a series of requirements and by-laws that he expects all players and coaches to follow. Included are requirements to be involved in a self-help group, to be involved in an education program, and to hold a job assignment.
Veteran G. “June-Bey” Macdonald was informed by the coach of the changes and was initially shocked but eventually said that he agreed and supported all of the changes.
Coach Underwood is setting the bar high for the participants, and the expectations are to develop the participants into the leaders he hopes they could be. For the inaugural season of the SQ Niners Academy, Coach Underwood will narrow the team to around 30 participants. He expects them to all show discipline and respect while demonstrating confidence, leadership and fellowship.
stic. “We just gonna take one game at a time.”