2017 Senior team coaches named

08 Dec

Eagles Head Coach Neale McMaster has unveiled his 2017 coaching team ahead of next month’s rookie sessions.

The Eagles are very fortunate to have an extremely dedicated group of coaches, who work hard at all levels of the game to ensure that our players are not just the best American Football players they can be, but are also striving to be the best people they can be.

As announced last month, McMaster will take on Defensive Coordinator duties alongside Offensive Coordinator Nick Tilbury, and the duo will be assisted by Gary Villiers (Special Teams), Andy Cox (Offensive Line), Martin Day and Lawrence LaMontagne (Wide Receivers), Burger Swanepole (Defensive Line) and Kevin Kong (Defensive Backs).

Our aim as a club is to put five players a year through their Level 1 coaching badge, and to secure funding to allow all coaches to attend conventions and clinics to promote their learning.

There is currently a vacancy for a Running Backs coach. If you would be interested in taking on the position please get in touch.

Head Coach / Defensive Coordinator – Neale McMaster

Following a successful playing career in Scotland with the University of Glasgow Tigers and East Kilbride Pirates, McMaster moved south of the border in 2012 and joined the Bedfordshire Blue Raiders initially as a player, before becoming Offensive Line coach ahead of the 2013 season.

He became Chairman of the newly-formed Eagles following the merger between the Blue Raiders and Milton Keynes Pathfinders, and was named Offensive Coordinator by former Head Coach Will White.

In Neale’s three seasons as OC the Eagles posted a combined 19-11 record which included a record 75-6 win against the Ipswich Cardinals in 2014 and play-off appearances in 2014 and 2015, and he is also a part of the coaching setup with the Great Britain Lions.

Offensive Coordinator – Nick Tilbury

After a senior playing career that also took in spells with the MK Pioneers, Chiltern Cheetahs, London Mets, Herts Stags, Cambridgeshire Cats, Bedfordshire Blue Raiders and the Saxons, Tilbury transitioned into a coaching role with Peterborough and was part of the staff that took them to the Division 2 Final in 2015.

Following promotion to the BAFANL Midlands Football Conference 1 the Saxons were unable to complete the 2016 season, but Tilbury wanted to remain involved in football, and jumped at the chance to join then-OC McMaster’s coaching staff in the latter half of the season.

Special Teams Coordinator – Gary Villiers

Gary grew up in South London and was forced to play rugby at school. He discovered American Football in the early 80s when Channel 4 started showing regular highlights. Around 84/85, aged 17, Gary found a team forming in a park in Bexley, went along and played unkitted for about a season before The Bexley Barons were finally formed as a kitted team.

Gary played as Fullback and Slot Receiver for a couple of years before switching to defensive-end. Gary then moved on to East Kent (then Kent) Cougars, also briefly with Barracuda and Olympians II. He retired from playing in 1995 after breaking shoulder and had nothing to do with Britball again for 18 years! However, he became increasingly interested in US College Football during that time, eventually studying coaching techniques and philosophies more seriously.

After a move to St Neots, he decided one wet Sunday in early 2013 to see if his local team the Bedfordshire Blue Raiders needed any help and was quickly adopted as Defensive Line Coach assisting Coach Ramsay. Gary found the experience really rewarding and fun so signed up to qualify with BAFCA as a Level 1 coach.

Following that season, Gary was offered the opportunity to coach at Cambridge University with the Pythons where he coached all lineman on both sides of the ball and worked alongside Coach Fuller as Defensive Coordinator, before being named Head Coach ahead of the 2015/16 season.

Offensive Line Coach – Andy Cox

Andy grew up in Daventry and was always actively involved in sport, representing his school at football, rugby and hockey as well as captaining the cricket team. Outside of school it was American Football that grabbed his attention, playing for The Weedon Warriors.

Now working as a Business Analyst, he graduated from the University of East Anglia in 1991 with a B.Sc. (Hons) degree in Physics, and three years of playing for the UEA Pirates American Football team culminated in an appearance in College Bowl V.

In his last two years at UEA, Andy also represented the Norwich Devils, and joined the Eagles ahead of the 2016 season as Offensive Line Assistant Coach.

Wide Receivers Coach – Lawrence LaMontagne

A vastly experienced player and coach who has been involved in the sport since joining the Luton Flyers in the mid-80s.

“LT” spent his playing days with the Bedford Bombardiers, Leicester Panthers, Sheffield, PA Knights and Coventry Jets as at Defensive End, and after retiring from playing has coached with the Jets, Southend, Blue Raiders and Essex Spartans.

Wide Receivers Coach – Martin Day

A one-time Bedfordshire Blue Raider and Lincolnshire Bomber QB, Day has been associated with the Eagles since the merger, spending the majority of his time at Tight End.

He is moving into coaching during the 2017 season whilst recovering from ACL reconstruction surgery.

Defensive Line Coach – Burger Swanepole

Burger is a diehard Patriots fan and all round NFL fanatic. He graduated with a BSc Sports Coaching Science from Worcester University in 2011 where he was also a member the then Worcester Cardinals, and after a rebranding to the Worcester Royals.

Burger took on a Coaching role as Defensive Back Coach whilst studying, where he also gained his British American Football Coaching Level 1, and joins the Eagles for the 2017 season.

Defensive Backs Coach – Kevin Kong

Growing up in Bedford, Kevin was always interested in sports but it wasn’t until Super Bowl XXXIX that he found his true passion, where his now-beloved Philadelphia Eagles lost to a bunch of cheating b… the New England Patriots.

Choosing Loughborough University for their prestigious American Football programme, he started his journey as a Corner Back and eventually earned a place as a starting Safety.

He was one of the original members of the Bedfordshire Blue Raiders and eventually joined the Ouse Valley Eagles when moving back to the area.

Having played for 10 years Kong believes it is time to share what he has learned, and hopefully have a laugh on the way.