What does football sound like?

There is a great story that was featured by ABC News at the end of last week.  It was part of ABC News’ “Person of the Week” series. It is this kind of story, and the individuals, teams, leagues, fans, and other supporters involved, that we hope to highlight.

I first learned about deaf student-athletes when I was at Georgetown. Our football team played against the team from Gallaudet University, a leading university whose student body is made up of those who are deaf and hard of hearing. I was amazed then and with this story from ABC, am reminded about how everyone can benefit from playing sports and how sports as an institution benefits when they do.

You can find the video clip from ABC News at http://gmy.news.yahoo.com/vid/15905481, and the associated article at http://abcnews.go.com/WN/PersonOfWeek/deaf-football-coach-leads-teams-victory/story?id=8737537, with an excerpt below.


Championship Coach Leads Deaf Football Teams to Victory
Coach Andy Bonheyo Has Won the National Deaf Prep Championship 15 Times

Oct. 2, 2009
The Orioles football team is 4-1 this season — not unusual for a team coached by Andy Bonheyo. In his 24 year career, coach Bonheyo has won 170 games and lost just 48. And most of those wins have been against teams who can hear.

Bonheyo and his players are deaf.

“I don’t look at whether we’re playing a hearing or a deaf team. I look at the team. So to me I don’t think I have an advantage over anyone except the teams who aren’t prepared to play us,” said Bonheyo.

Coaching at three different schools, Bonheyo has won the National Deaf Prep Championship 15 times — seven at the Maryland School for the Deaf, where he is currently the head football coach, assistant track and field coach, and is also the athletic director.

“It is true that I am a perfectionist. I like to see our plays perfect and that’s just me, that’s who I am,” he said.

Good thing he’s such a stickler for details. The football program at Maryland had a losing record before Bonheyo’s arrival.

“Coach Andy, he’s pushed me a lot harder,” said player Brandon Williams. “He pushes me harder than I think my limits are.”

The team plays an average of 10 games each year, three of them against other deaf teams.

The team had two long winning streaks, one from 2002 to 2005, when it won 27 games in a row, and one from 2005 to 2008, when it won 34.

(The story continues at http://abcnews.go.com/WN/PersonOfWeek/deaf-football-coach-leads-teams-victory/story?id=8737537)

There is also a wonderful video from YouTube about a member of the cheerleading team for the Orioles football team.