The Manny Matsakis Show #5

Almost Heaven, West Virginia & Insights to Creating a Winning Culture with Darrin Hicks

Coach Darrin Hicks has been a journeyman football coach that has worked at Division III, Division II & FCS levels. He’s been building a program in Weirton, West Virginia in a very creative manner at Weirton Madonna High School. Darrin’s experience is vast and he’s been a coordinator on both sides of the ball at the collegiate level. A devout Christian, he’s successfully applied his methodology to his players at a small Catholic high school in the Northern Panhandle of West Virginia, near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

I believe you will also gain insight from his “out of the box” strategies in how he’s made progress in creating a balance in his life on and off the gridiron.

Enjoy this episode!


2:53 What inspired Coach Hicks to get into coaching football?

7:00 Darrin shares insights regarding switching from offensive coordinator to defensive coordinator at the collegiate level.

11:52 Darrin’s experience working with Dave Aranda at California Lutheran.

16:22 Dealing with staff dynamics and personalities of other coaches.

20:30 Darrin’s non-negotiables in taking a job.

26:30 The process of creating a turnaround.

32:45 Building a competitive environment within a football program.

41:00 Balancing life on and off the field.

42:40 Rituals and routines that Darrin uses to start his workday.

52:02 Dealing with negativity and the “monkey mind”.

56:25 Darrin’s influences outside the world of football.


The Manny Matsakis Show #4

The Art of the Turnaround & No Huddle No Mercy with Shawn Liotta

At only 38 years old, Shawn Liotta is heading into his 19th season of coaching football and this year he’s finally home as the head coach of Burrell High School. Coach Liotta has had tremendous success at every stop along the way utilizing his brand of offense, No Huddle No Mercy. In this episode we delve into his career and insights from coaching at the high school, college and professional levels. Shawn was also the architect of one of the greatest upsets in WPIAL history when Albert Gallatin defeated West Mifflin in 2017. After viewing some of that historic game video, I am sure you’ll gain some insights into the mind of this creative football coach.

Enjoy this episode!


5:45 A funny story about coaching with your brother.

9:00 What compelled Shawn to become a football coach.

12:30 Coach Liotta’s process of taking over a football program & his 90 Day Action Plan.

16:00 The “playing fast” philosophy.

18:30 The definition and application of “playing fast.”

23:50 A reference to Tiger Ellison and lessons learned from the inventor of the Run & Shoot offense.

28:40 Some 1st half video analysis of one of the greatest upsets in WPIAL history.

41:30 2nd half video analysis of the West Mifflin game to seal this great upset.

54:15 Keys to optimizing your life as a coach.

1:02:45 How to figure out when you should hire someone to do a job; instead of doing it yourself.

Follow Coach Liotta on Twitter.

Hope you have enjoyed this episode & please feel free to comment below.


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The Manny Matsakis Show #3

A Football Coach with a World Record Power Lifting background that turns around football programs.

Here’s the latest episode of the show that features an interview with Coach Donnie Kiefer of Green Sea Floyds High School near Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Coach Kiefer has one of the most unique backgrounds I have ever seen in a football coach, as he is a former world record holding power-lifter! His insights in building a football program are insightful for any coach and he has a proven track record of over 240 victories and counting…

Enjoy this episode, I sure did.




5:40      What an opposing coach said about facing a Donnie Kiefer led team.

15:00    Coach Kiefer’s process of taking over a new football program.

23:00    The lessons learned when he dismissed key players for misconduct.

35:20    The methodology behind Coach Kiefer’s Strength & Conditioning program.

40:25    His opinion on preseason conditioning tests.

45:00    The difference between “programmed” and “reactionary” agility. How and when to use each type of training.

52:20    The Speed model of weight training and how it can benefit your athletes.

56:40    More insight in how he uses “Speed Sets” in the weight room.

58:33    Power-lifting application to the sport of football.

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD an outline of Coach Kiefer’s Strength & Conditioning program.

Hope you have enjoyed this episode & please feel free to comment below.


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The Manny Matsakis Show #2

Win on the Field & Optimize your Life

In our second episode, I introduce you to the foremost authority on training specialists in football, The Kick Doctor – Paul Assad. Paul is a highly regarded football coach who has the uncanny ability to make the complex task simple for punters, kickers and long snappers. His insights in this episode will help you to avoid some big mistakes before you get into your season.

Enjoy this episode and take a look at the special gift (Below this Episode) that Coach Assad has for you in the form of an instructional video to teach your long snappers.


4:29        Sports trivia question for the day!

5:50        Paul’s journey in coaching specialists.

14:00     What goes into Coach Assad’s mind when he’s fixing the mechanics of a specialist?

18:25     Where Paul gets his best ideas from and how he gets players to respond to him?

21:40     A recommendation of a great book to help your mental coaching process called, Winning the Battle Within by Glen Albaugh and Michael Bowker.

25:20     How to work with young specialists, Paul’s recipe.

28:45     A video of Paul working with a young long snapper followed by more in-depth analysis.

35:15     Video Analysis of a workout with All-Pro long snapper, Matt Overton.

42:00     How Paul works with more accomplished players that are struggling.

45:00     Coach Assad’s contact information and just how he can help you!


Coach Assad may be reached in the following ways…

Email him at

Feel free to text him to set up a call at 1-209-595-4277

Follow him on Twitter at

Hope you have enjoyed this episode & please feel free to comment below.


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The Manny Matsakis Show #1

Win on the Field & Optimize your Life

Today my special guest is the Head Football Coach at Arlington Seguin High School in Texas, Joe Gordon. I have known Joe for quite a while and have always been impressed with his people skills as well as his ability to get the most out of his players. His coaching pedigree comes from the likes of Bob Stoops and Bill Snyder. I hope you will gain some insight from Coach Gordon, as I have in the following interview.



4:40        Joe’s unique entry into the coaching profession.

7:30        Taking a leap of faith to leave a full-time job at K-State to learn lessons as a GA at Division III Mississippi College.

13:30     Staying the course with the family while moving 7 times in a five year period.

17:40     “Word Association” with Joe Gordon!

19:30     The thought process in preparing a defense during game week.

24:00     The secret to Joe’s success lies in this one saying…

26:00     Joe’s thoughts on the application of the Parthenon Approach in his program.

28:52     The importance of connecting the present to the past when taking over a football program.

32:19     Applying the concept of Discipline = Freedom.

Please feel free to comment below.


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