Vail Summer Football Camp doubles the coaching roster |

Vail Summer Football Camp doubles the coaching roster

The Vail Summer Football Camp returns in July with twice the number of coaches on its 2016 staff.
Rex Keep| |

If You Go

What: Vail Summer Football Camp

When: July 11-14

Where: Battle Mountain High School

Price: $100 for 2nd-5th graders, $125 for 6th-12th graders, with discounts for multiple teammates registering together

To register: Go to, call Tom Backhus at 970-471-0440, or email

Information: Camp is held in two sessions, a morning session for kids 6th-12th grade, and an afternoon session for 2nd through 5th graders.

Video of individual 6-12th grade players will be reviewed daily with the players and coaches after practice.

A certified athletic trainer will be on the field throughout the camp

It is a non-pad, non-hitting camp based on technique work, agility drills and a better understanding of the game

Vail Summer Football Camp staff


QB: Timm Rosenbach, head coach, Adams State

QB: Steve Fairchild, former head coach at CSU and NFL Assistant Coach

RB: Darian Hagan, running back coach, CU

RB: Donnell Leomiti, running back coach at CSU Pueblo

WR: Russ Martin, head coach, Colorado Mesa

WR: Tim Brandon, offensive graduate assistant, Northwestern University

TE: John Wristen, head coach, CSU Pueblo

OL: Will Friend, offensive line coach, CSU

OL: Trevor Wikre, offensive line coach at University of Northern Colorado


DB: Earnest Collins, head coach, University of Northern Colorado

DB: Andre Strode, former CSU/Valor Christian Assistant

DL: Joe Morris, assistant head coach and defensive line coach, Ft. Lewis College

DL: Randy Hart, recently retired defensive line coach at Stanford

LB: Jas Bains, head coach, Western State

LB: Brian Cabral, assistant head coach and defensive coordinator, Indiana State University

LB: Gregg Brandon, head coach, Colorado School of Mines

EDWARDS — The Vail Summer Football Camp returns with twice the number of coaches — including six head coaches and a few former NFL players and coaches.

“We are doubling the number of coaches due to the number of kids who have been attending,” said Tom Backhus, who has run the camp for two decades.

Top coaches

The staff features six head coaches from throughout Colorado, a former head coach from Colorado State University, a recently retired defensive line coach from Stanford, Darian Hagan from the University of Colorado and Brian Cabral, formerly of University of Colorado. Local football legend and NFL player Jeff Campbell will participate as a guest coach.

John Wristen restarted the program at Colorado State University Pueblo a few years ago, and has them playing for the national championship each of the past three years.

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Randy Hart and Backhus played together at Ohio State and coached together for six years. Hart recently retired after his 46th year of coaching. ESPN recently produced a piece documenting his career and the respect he earned in the coaching profession.

Hart has the second most appearances as a coach in the Rose Bowl.

Brian Cabral is the Indiana State head coach and the University of Colorado’s former linebackers coach.

Backhus earned a national championship playing for Ohio State and Woody Hayes. He started his coaching career on Hayes’ Ohio State staff.

He coached with Earle Bruce at the University of Tampa, and Iowa State. Bruce was his coach at Ohio State.

He left Bruce to coach at the University of Wisconsin, then went to the Air Force Academy to work with Bill Parcells. From there, he coached at Notre Dame, before leaving coaching and moving to the Vail Valley to operate 4-Eagle Ranch.

“There’s not another camp out there that even comes close to this kind of camp instruction and exposure to coaches,” Backhus said.

Price has not changed

The price has not changed much since Backhus started the camp in the 1980s. The purpose has not changed much either.

“We provide excellent college coaching to kids in Eagle County and the Central Rockies at an affordable cost,” Backhus said.

The camp is possible because of the support and generosity of the local business community, Backhus said.

By the way, Backhus said he still needs housing for camp coaches and their families.

It’s all about instruction

The four-day camp features non-pad technique instruction. Youth coaches are invited to come to the camp and spend time on the field picking the brains of the college coaches who will be offering their knowledge, Backhus said.

“That’s open to coaches at any level, youth leagues, middle school, high school — any coach at any level,” Backhus said. “Coaches can ask questions about technique and training, drills and anything else, while players are getting excellent instruction from top-flight coaches.”

Grades six through 12 will play in the morning, and grades two through five play in the afternoon. Every player tries every position in the session for the younger kids.

“Even the short kids get to play quarterback, and that’s something I completely understand,” said Backhus, who won a national championship at Ohio State and played under Woody Hayes. Backhus also coached at the Air Force Academy and Notre Dame.

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 and

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