‘Above the Line’ has a face – and it’s Desert Chapel’s Xavier Guzman (Used by Permission)

(PALM SPRINGS) – Halfway through the 2022 fiscal year, the six-time champion SoCal Coyotes non-profit leadership organization is reaching more youth than ever before – and they can thank their award-winning ‘Above the Line’ (ATL) behavior-management program for the 11th year in a row.

“Through our camps, clinics and symposia, our annual goal – outside of football – is to positively impact at least 50,000 young people with faith, hope and redemption,” said SoCal Senior Vice President Ron DiGrandi, who oversees the ATL program. “We’re blessed by the overwhelming demand for ‘Above the Line’ … it’s out-performing expectations, one changed life at a time.”

The ‘Above the Line’ curriculum was authored by Coyotes’ non-profit founder J David Miller, who  is also a pastor and head football coach at Desert Chapel Church and School.

Based on Biblical standards drawn from the Book of Colossians, ATL provides young people a framework to live a life that is skillful, intentional, on-purpose and driven – while eliminating blaming, complaining and excuses.

Since the Coyotes unveiled the ATL program in 2013, they have shared it with more than a half-million youth ages 8-18, in 60+ public and private schools; dozens of youth sports leagues and camps; scores of churches from coast to coast; business workshops and seminars; and even the U.S. Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center at Twentynine Palms.

The SoCal Coyotes not only require their elite team captains to go through ‘Above the Line’ training – but captains must also teach it in business boot camps, football clinics, and school symposia. Schools, churches and non-profit organizations – who either collaborate with the Coyotes, license their programs or pool resources – all arrive at the same conclusion:

The ‘Above the Line’ program is user-friendly, easy to implement, and consistently delivers stunning, life-changing results.

SoCal’s ‘Above the Line’ Program impacts more than 50,000 youth annually through Coyote camps, clinics and symposia

With the ‘Above the Line’ program leading the way, the Coyotes’ non-profit is knocking down major milestones in 2022.

  • Expanding youth ministry. The  Coyotes make their home at Desert Chapel Church and School in Palm Springs. Coach Miller pastors both ATL weekday classroom instruction at the school, and ATL  morning youth services at the church. With the help and coordination of Desert Chapel leadership, the results have been palpable. Youth are pouring into both programs, with documented life-changing results. “We’ve seen a complete and total change in our son,” wrote one parent.

  • Enlarging territory. The Coyotes are training and equipping qualified ‘Above the Line’ partner-programs in Georgia, Tennessee, Illinois, Florida and Colorado. In the case of SoCal’s Tennessee partner, the church investigated other Bible-based behavior management programs before choosing the Coyotes’ ‘Above the Line’. Church officials report such positive responses they are already expanding the program.
  • Licensing spin-off strategies. In a pilot program, the Coyotes have granted a limited license for both their brand and the ‘Above the Line’ program to a Southeast youth organization. The purpose: Scalable, faith-based 7-on-7 flag football, youth camps, mentoring and youth development. “This is an entrepreneurial, turn-key strategy,” says Coach Miller, “to rapidly multiply the national impact of the Coyote ministry.”
  • Headlining major events. The Coyotes have doubled their number of major headline events, including the Coachella Valley Rescue Mission, the ‘Rae of Hope’ Foundation, and local universities, teaching ‘Above the Line’ to thousands of families and youth.
SoCal’s all-time sack leader (106) Jake Sheffield from Arizona State shares his unwavering faith at a Coyotes Men’s ‘Above the Line’ Training Camp Retreat in Tampa Bay, Fla.
  • Collaborating with parents. The Coyotes have developed a (subjective) 50-question Youth Leadership Quiz (based on Stanford leadership initiatives) that engages parents and tethers them to their child through the improvement process. “The ‘Above the Line’ program is the most useful tool I’ve seen to teach both good parenting and good learning,” said television anchor and foundation founder Bianca Rae. “You’re either ‘above the line or below the line,’ which is easy to understand, fun to learn, and the program always provides a means for self-correction.”
  • Creating safe environments. The Coyotes host an array of  ‘safe environment’ opportunities for qualified youth to have experiential, face-to-face interaction with their elite ‘Above the Line’ players. Weekly strength & conditioning camps are open to qualified Coachella Valley youth at no charge. “Kids need good listeners,” said Coyotes star prospect and defensive captain Justin Sykes, who leads the strength & conditioning program at Desert Chapel every Wednesday. “It’s an opportunity for us to  identify their needs and apply ‘Above the Line’ resources, and give them sustainable solutions.”

When coaches, teachers or parents take the time to outline and demonstrate expectations – and give students opportunities to practice appropriate behaviors – then compliance becomes easier, DiGrandi says.

“What we’ve learned is that once students understand and see acceptable behaviors that are ‘Above the Line’ versus what is unacceptable, or below the line, they really want to stay ‘Above the Line,'” he adds. “It’s very simple, it eliminates excuses, and it sets clear expectations.”


In 2021, California State Senator Melissa Melendez selected the six-time champion SoCal Coyotes from 40,000 other District 28 Inland Empire and Coachella Valley organizations as ‘Nonprofit of the Year.’  Learn more about how the Coyote full-service nonprofit organization annually impacts thousands of lives across the region at TheSoCalCoyotes.com.

The SoCal Coyotes are the national standard of American developmental football, and are 106-16 under Hall of Fame head coach and non-profit founder J David Miller. The Coyotes’ organization provides elite athletes a professional environment that refines and showcases their skills through trademarked processes similar to the NBA’s D-league and MLB’s minor-league systems.

Additionally, the Coyotes’ 501c3 and award-winning ‘Above The Line™’ leadership programs impact the social, mental and physical growth of more than 50,000 youth annually through remedial curriculum, training camps, clinics and symposia. In 2014, NFL executives have named the SoCal Coyotes organization America’s #1 Developmental Football Program™ for its national, scalable brands, community outreach programs, nine-year operational track record, verifiable data, youth curriculum, sales, public-private sector alliances, and measured results.


Desert Chapel High School provides students with an education that is Christ-centered and Biblically-directed, encourages a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, fosters academic excellence, Christian values, as well as physical and social well-being. Located in the resort city of Palm Springs, California, DCHS students acquire wisdom, knowledge, and a Biblical foundation, evidenced by academic excellence and Christian service, leadership, stewardship, and worship. Discover more at DCEagles.org.

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