(CHATTANOOGA) – The six-time champion SoCal Coyotes non-profit sports leadership organization announced its participation in a joint-venture pilot program with a Tennessee non-profit that will permit use of its brands and youth programming to give a national boost to a faith-based 7v7 youth flag football team and its youth camps, mentoring programs and leadership development.

The 7v7 youth football Chattanooga Mud Dogs sought a license from the The SoCal Coyotes, Inc. 501(c)3 and Coachella Sports & Entertainment Stadium Authority (CSESA) to formally change their name to the Tennessee SoCal Coyotes, and use with permission the Coyotes primary ‘Defend The Shield™’ brand, colors and other assets.

“West Coast Coyote fans can now cheer their junior counterparts in Tennessee,” said Tennessee coach and founder Mark Lane, who shares coaching responsibilities with assistant coach Deryl Richardson.

The Coyotes granted limited licenses to Chattanooga-based Gateway To Opportunity 501(c)3 for specific uses of their primary brands The SoCal Coyotes™ and America’s #1 Developmental Pro Football Program™ – along with their award-winning Above the Line™ leadership programming.

In addition to its annual schedule of games and tournaments, the Mud Dogs require its players to participate in character-building and leadership development programs. Under the new licensing agreement, Tennessee coaches and mentors will exclusively teach the Coyotes ‘Above the Line™’ leadership program, which will serve as the foundation of personal development for their respective schools and teams. 

“This is an entrepreneurial, turn-key strategy,” said Coyotes Founder & CEO J David Miller. “Our brands and programming are duplicatable and scalable. We’re permitting their use to rapidly grow this youth sports ministry while we study how to multiply the national impact of our own Coyote youth ministries. We’re always excited to share the love of Jesus and empower more youth to live ‘Above the Line.'”

The championship 7V7team formerly known as the Mud Dogs are now the Tennessee SoCal Coyotes, courtesy of America’s #1 Developmental Pro Football Program

The Chattanooga Mud Dogs 7v7 football team operates under the Gateway to Opportunity (GTO) 501(c)3. The roots of Mud Dog football date back for more than a decade, while GTO founder Jay Cotton has been an active part of the community providing access to youth sports, softball, basketball and youth football for nearly 15 years.  

Previously, the Mud Dogs have been a 5v5 football organization, winning four southeastern titles in six years as well as being ranked as high as 6th nationally (under other iterations). Their record is a remarkable 95-20 as a program, with many of their players already ‘on the radar’ of major college teams.

The majority of the team are the Class of 2025, with a few 2024, 2026, and 2027 members. They represent schools from the Chattanooga area and north Georgia, and most of them are academic honor roll, and scholastic honor standouts.

The Mud Dogs-turned-Coyotes align with the values and mission of the GTO organization, and fulfill a unique industry niche. Team members are multi-sport athletes and cannot play on winter/spring travel teams. This group was created to allow participation in the very short window between winter and spring sports. 

Participants gain 7v7 experience, and for those with next-level talent, the opportunity to market their skills.

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

The Mud Dogs will market their players to area college coaches through social media, networking, and provide guidance to them in this area.  GTO has additional resources to assist in this manner as well.  For the 2022-2023 season, the Mud Dogs will travel to Knoxville and Atlanta to compete, with larger national aspirations for the 2023-2024 season.  

The ‘Above the Line’ curriculum was authored by Coyotes’ non-profit founder J David Miller. 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 six-time champion SoCal Coyotes are the 2021 California Non-Profit of the Year, and the national standard of American developmental football. 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. NFL executives have named the SoCal Coyotes organization America’s #1 Developmental Football Program™ for its national, scalable brands, community outreach programs, 10-year operational track record, verifiable data, youth curriculum, sales, public-private sector alliances, and measured results.


On the heels of The SoCal Coyotes success, Coachella Sports and Entertainment Stadium Authority Corp. (CSESA) marks the advent of the Coachella Valley’s first and only centrally-based campus developer for sports, medicine, events, media, sports tourism and retail. CSESA’s unparalleled vision in sports tourism, medical, entertainment, restaurant, hotel and convention offerings will make it the region’s most active live content and event campus developer in Coachella Valley history.

The Shield at 1 Coyote Way will soon be the desert’s premiere destination

CSESA sports and entertainment partners are dedicated to all aspects of festival, exhibition, broadcast, merchandise and special events. CSESA believes the Coachella Valley’s greatest resource is its human potential, and invests heavily in community development and youth leadership initiatives.

CSESA is the master developer of The Shield at 1 Coyote Way, a 588-acre, multi-use campus that will be a 365-day-a-year destination. The Shield will include indoor and outdoor sports centers for soccer, concerts, football, lacrosse, field hockey; more than 100,000 square feet of retail, food and beverage, and other community space; more than 2,000 housing units; three hotels; 200,000 square feet of commercial office space; and over 100,000 square feet of family entertainment.

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