Former Northwest Catholic High School football coach Mike Tyler is bringing back a group of his former players to help out at his annual clinic in August.
Tyler, 60, retired from coaching after the 2014 season, ending his 15 year tenure as head coach, but he continues to work as a social worker at the school and every summer runs the football clinic he started 17 years ago.
Having former players come back to help at this year's clinic, which will be held from Aug. 1 through Aug. 4, is going to be extra special for him.
"I started thinking about all the kids who have come to the camp from the beginning because I'm out of coaching," Tyler said. "I really started thinking about the guys and pulled out my files. Most of these guys came to the camp or worked at the camp or did both."
Tyler said that when he was coach, he always stressed the importance of being a good member of the community.
"Here at Northwest, we always talk about with the kids giving back and being a good community person," Tyler said. "That far outweighs being a good football player. That's what I feel and that's what the kids are supposed to learn first and foremost. You want to win, that's fine and dandy, but without life skills and making the right choices, you've got nothing. "
The players who will return to the clinic to help Tyler were All-State players and continued to play football in college. Players include his son, Nathan Tyler, who went to Southern Connecticut State University, Kevin Eagan, who went to Endicott College, and Mike Golic, Jr., who went to the University of Notre Dame.
Golic, Jr., who started in the 2013 BCS National Championship game against Alabama, said it was an easy decision to return to the clinic when Tyler asked him.
"I remember going to camps when I was a kid and looking up at the counselors," Golic, Jr. said. "You look with a certain reverence to the people working at these camps. Now, we have a chance to give back."
Golic, Jr., who attended Northwest Catholic from 2004 through 2008, said Tyler always stressed community service.
"That was always a focus and that was the Northwest Catholic mission in general," Golic, Jr. said. "That was something Coach Tyler always tried to drive home. We don't get to enjoy any of the things we do… without giving back to the community."
Tyler said he's excited that so many players were eager to come to the clinic to help out.
"I just feel a lot of gratitude and blessed to have these guys in my life," Tyler said. "I always felt that way about these guys. First and foremost, they are good community people. They were great teammates. They were very respectful guys, and they've all been excellent role models."
The clinic is open to anyone entering the third grade through the ninth grade. Tyler encourages pre-registration, but added that registration on the first day of camp is welcome.
To register, call Northwest Catholic High School or visit northwestcatholic.org.