(INDIO) – The performance of a team rises or falls on behavior – especially its leaders – and newly appointed SoCal Coyotes Director of Player Personnel Marvin Jones wants to know who they are. In a letter to players Wednesday, Jones asked core leaders to identify who is ‘Above the Line’ or ‘Below the Line,’ and insisted they must be the firewall of accountability and communication.

ABOVE THE LINE400“As a player, I had to lead my guys to victory,” says Jones, a Florida State University Hall of Fame selection who played 11 years for the New York Jets and was chosen by his teammates as a Walter Payton Man of the Year finalist. “At the very least, I had to make my teammates believe the job was possible. Now my job is to improve the Coyotes – plain and simple.”

Only moments after his appointment, Jones notified Coyote players with a formal letter, that read (in part) –

“Gentlemen – This is Marvin Jones, New York Jets 1993-2003, and a member of your Advisory Board. I will be formally announced this week as the Coyotes first-ever Director of Player Personnel, and will be in California soon. My job duties are (1) Evaluate the talent we have; (2) Find ways to better our team; and (3) Find more great players with even greater moral character. Everyone has a clean slate right now. From this point, the team is under a microscope. Leaders of this team must take charge of the locker room. If we need to get better at your position, we will. I will be calling on each of you individually to make sure you’re ‘Above the Line.’ Be thinking of ways you can get better individually, and how we benefit everyone collectively.”

With his appointment of the no-nonsense Jones this week, head coach J David Miller sent a clear message to his four-time champion Coyotes, who are in the midst of an injury-riddled Pac West spring season and battling for playoff contention.

Survivors of the spring will be given the opportunity to compete for roster spots with returning veterans and incoming star talent in the fall, when the Coyotes open play in the formidable Southern California Football League. The SCFL is the nation’s premiere developmental pro football league, with an unprecedented four Top 10 nationally ranked teams, including the Coyotes.

Spring serves as a laboratory for the developmental Coyotes. For rookies and second-year players hoping to earn a fall roster spot, it’s a proving ground. For a handful of stars, it’s a revolving door, who stay game ready on their way to NFL, CFL and AFL camps. For a few veteran mentors who play year-round, it’s a living classroom to employ new skills. For team captains, it has been a chance to embrace the Coyotes adopted ‘Above the Line’ leadership curriculum made popular by the Ohio State University football program.

To become, and remain, a captain, Coyotes must adhere to ‘Above the Line’ behavior, which includes intentional, on-purpose, and skillful production, in every facet of their lives. The Coyotes’ strict Code of Conduct, HOWL employment programs and massive off-field community outreach activities are all mandatory, ‘Defend the Shield’ affairs of this ‘Faith, Family, Football’ program.

“The expectations here are very high,” says Coach Miller, in perhaps the understatement of the year. Jones, just as he did in years past as a player at Florida State and in New York, wasted no time calling out team captains to test their metal. He is now in the process of meeting – and taking a personal inventory – of every Coyote leader.

THE SPRING COYOTES ARE currently 5-2, and clinging to first place in the Southern Division of the Pac West. If they hang on, they will host a playoff game on May 14. The Coyotes return home this Saturday night at Shadow Hills at 6 p.m. against the Santa Clarita Skyhawks, who are also battling for their playoff lives.

THE SOCAL COYOTES are a national, faith, family and football organization dedicated to restoring hope in personal lives, families and communities. With priority on faith, fatherhood and family values, the Coyotes have been recognized for “Building Champions by Building Men.” Visit www.thesocalcoyotes.com, and learn why the Coyotes were named ‘America’s #1 Developmental Football Program’ by The Football Educator, operated by former Denver Broncos GM and two-time Super Bowl winner Ted Sundquist, by clicking on ‘What We Do.’

 ON THE FIELD, 70 PLAYERS EACH YEAR earn the distinction of ‘Defending the Shield’ in the uniform of the SoCal Coyotes. Many will earn a shot with NFL, CFL or AFL opportunities, or graduate into business careers. Off the field, more than 30,000 Coachella Valley youth annually participate in Coyote Leadership Training and receive published Coyote Leadership Curriculum.

THE SOCAL COYOTES affect every community they touch. Coyote programs reach thousands of youth through coordinated efforts with numerous local charitable and civic organizations, including Boys & Girls Clubs, the YMCA, the Desert Strength Academy, the Boys & Girl Scouts of America, and Rotary International.

To learn more, contact Ron DiGrandi, SVP Business Development, at [email protected].

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