Nine years in the NFL and another 20 in the NCAA doesn’t happen by accident. A career like this happens when a coach knows how to develop talent—and knows how to win. In 1983, with no coaching experience, Waynesboro, Virginia native Charlie Coiner had big dreams and made a bold move by approaching a new (now national) coaching figure. His timing was perfect.
In 1983, Charlie Coiner served as a graduate assistant at Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina. Mack Brown, now Head Coach at the University of Texas, had just begun his first head-coaching job. Coiner recalls, “I wanted to get into coaching, but I had little to no experience. So, I walked into Coach Brown’s office and asked if I could coach. He told me he couldn’t pay me, and I kind of thought that was a fair deal since I didn’t know very much.” Coiner stayed for five years—and proved his worth.
Thereafter, Coiner rode the coaching carousel. “I’ve been a couple of places in my coaching career,” he says wryly. After Appalachian, Coiner worked on offense, defense, recruiting, and special teams for Minnesota, Austin Peay, Vanderbilt, Texas Southern, Louisville, UT Chattanooga, LSU, and again at Texas Southern.
Coiner coached for the NFL’s Chicago Bears (Special Teams, 2001-05) and Buffalo Bills (Tight Ends, 2006-09). During this tenure with the Bills, he helped lead a young group of tight ends to career numbers while they also contributed as blockers for a rushing attack that ranked fifth in the AFC. It was also during this time that he coached Derek Schouman, who is the Play Architect and Production Consultant for the FirstDown PlayBook™ product.
As the 2010 New Year rolled in, the Bills dismissed their entire coaching staff. After only a short time without a gig, and given an unexpected vacancy, North Carolina coach Butch Davis grabbed Coiner as an assistant coach for defense.
“Coiner’s smart. He’s got good communication skills. He’s a good teacher,”
Coach Davis says.
In 2011, Coiner moved to Austin, Texas and took a break from coaching. He then began using the unusual time he had away from the game, as Coiner says, “to become a better coach”. Coiner began digitally converting dozens of playbooks in order to find plays more quickly once he returned to coaching.
“When friends looked at all these pass plays I had drawn up from the NFL and colleges they said, “You’ve got an app there”! Once Coiner understood the concept of an app (digital software application), he realized that Austin, a hotbed for technology startups, was just the place to find a mobile apps company to match his drive and determination. Today, FirstDown PlayBook™ focuses on helping coaches find plays with speed and efficiency.
Coiner spent the 2012 season coaching first team SEC Tight End Mychal Rivera, who is now with the Oakland Raiders. He is now back in Austin promoting the promise of this cutting edge technology. “I’m excited about this app! We’re giving a coach a chance to do something that’s never been done before—save time. Time is not a coach’s friend. With this app, coaches can quickly search for and browse plays that give them a competitive edge in the next game while still fitting the plays within their offensive philosophy. Coaches will appreciate how quickly they can find information and how much they can find.”
Coach Coiner is a “ball coach” at heart. He has always felt this is where he wants to be; where he belongs—in the thick of things developing young talent and preparing players to compete at the highest level. This year he will devote to helping other coaches, however it is obvious that he will have decisions to make in 2014.