Payton Highlights Spring Coaches Clinic

By NU Athletic Communications
The Nebraska coaching staff will hold its annual Spring Coaches Clinic on March 30 and 31.
The Nebraska coaching staff will hold its annual Spring Coaches Clinic on March 30 and 31.
Photo by Scott Bruhn/Nebraska Communications

New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton, the 2006 NFL Coach of the Year, will highlight an impressive list of speakers for the 2007 Nebraska Spring Coaches Clinic. This year’s clinic is scheduled for Friday, March 30 and Saturday, March 31 and will take place in conjunction with the Huskers’ spring practice sessions.


Payton, who guided the Saints to their first-ever appearance in the NFC Championship Game, is one of five coaches with NFL experience who will be featured speakers at the clinic. Payton continues an exciting tradition of hearing from the NFL's best at the Nebraska Spring Coaches Clinic. In 2006, Super Bowl Champion coach Jon Gruden from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers served as the featured speaker at the Spring Coaches Clinic. In 2005, Super Bowl Champion coach Dick Vermeil, then the head coach of the Kansas City Chiefs, came to Lincoln as the featured speaker at the event.


In addition to Payton, Callahan and his entire staff will provide instruction at the clinic, while former Kansas City Chiefs Head Coach Frank Gansz will also be a featured speaker on the second day of the clinic. In addition, the Nebraska Spring Coaches clinic will feature Philadelphia Eagles Offensive Line Coach Juan Castillo and Indianapolis Colts Running Backs Coach Gene Huey, as this year’s “Nebraska Legends” speaker. Nationally recognized Sports Psychologist Dr. P. Kevin Elko will also be a featured speaker in the opening session of the event.


Payton was named the 14th head coach of the New Orleans Saints on Jan. 18, 2006, and has led the Saints to a remarkable run in his first season. Payton journeyed to New Orleans after spending the 2005 season as the assistant head coach/passing game coordinator for the Dallas Cowboys. He was the assistant head coach/quarterbacks for the Cowboys in 2003 and 2004.

Payton was the offensive coordinator for the New York Giants from 2000 to 2002, and was also on the Giants staff in 1999. He helped guide the Giants to an NFC title and Super Bowl appearance in 2000. Payton was the quarterbacks coach for the Philadelphia Eagles in 1997 and 1998, working on the same staff as Callahan in 1997. He entered the NFL coaching ranks after two coaching stints at San Diego State (1988-89, 1992-93) and a stop at Indiana State (1990-91). He was also the quarterbacks coach/co-offensive coordinator at Miami (Ohio) in 1994 and 1995.

A three-time All-American at Eastern Illinois, Payton threw for a school-record 10,665 yards during his college playing career. He had a brief pro playing career with the Chicago Bears in 1987, along with a stint for the Ottawa Rough Riders in the Canadian Football League and Chicago in the Arena Football League.

Huey is in his 15th season as running backs coach with the Colts, one of the longest tenures of any position coach in franchise history.  He has helped guide the Colts to Super Bowl XLI by tutoring running backs Joseph Addai and Dominic Rhodes who combined for better than 1,700 rushing yards during the regular season and 410 rushing yards in the Colts march through the AFC playoffs.


Huey joined the Colts after spending 1988-91 as an assistant at Ohio State.  Huey tutored wide receivers for three seasons before working with the running backs in his final year. Huey began his coaching career at Wyoming, his alma mater, as a graduate assistant in 1970.  He was named head freshman coach in 1972. 

Huey moved to New Mexico in 1974 as receivers coach, then joined Tom Osborne at Nebraska following the 1976 season.  Huey coached receivers at Nebraska until joining John Cooper's staff at Arizona State in 1987.  Huey then moved with Cooper to Ohio State in 1988.

This marks the third year the Nebraska Spring Coaches Clinic has featured a “Legends Speaker” as former offensive line coach Milt Tenopir spoke at the 2005 event and former Husker defensive coordinator Charlie McBride addressed the 2006 coaches.

Gansz will appear at the coaching clinic for the second consecutive year. He was the head coach of the Kansas City Chiefs in 1987 and 1988, and was also a long-time NFL assistant coach. In addition to his time as head coach, Gansz is also widely recognized as one of the best and most influential special teams coaches in NFL history. Gansz capped his career as the special teams coach of the St. Louis Rams, serving on Vermeil’s staff and helping the Rams to a Super Bowl title in 1999.

Castillo is in his 12th season with the Eagles and his ninth as the club's offensive line coach. One of four coaches in the NFL of Hispanic descent, Castillo is fluent in Spanish and has done work for the NFL in promoting the game for its Spanish-speaking audience. Castillo was one of four members of former coach Ray Rhodes' staff to be retained by head coach Andy Reid in 1999.

He originally joined the Eagles on March 1, 1995 as an offensive assistant, a post he held until being promoted to tight ends coach in 1997. One year later, Castillo became the club's offensive line coach, replacing Callahan who served in the same role with the Eagles from 1995 to 1997, before moving on to the Oakland Raiders. Castillo previously served as an offensive line coach at Texas A&M-Kingsville (formerly Texas A&I). As a player, Castillo was a linebacker with Texas A&I and the USFL's San Antonio Gunslingers. He began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at his alma mater before spending 1986-89 on the staff at Kingsville High School.

Registration begins at 9 a.m. on Friday, March 30, at the southwest corner of the Hawks Championship Center. After a welcome from Nebraska Coach Bill Callahan at 10 a.m., Elko will address the coaches at 10:15 a.m. Coach Keith Donnerson from Dominguez High School in Compton, Calif., will then speak to the coaches at 11:15 p.m., before a lunch.

Nebraska coaches will begin Friday's evening session following dinner, before Huey will address the crowd at 7 p.m. Payton will take center stage at 8 p.m.

Saturday's activities will begin with an FCA Breakfast in West Stadium at 7:30 a.m., followed by position drills. Castillo will provide his insights to the coaches on Saturday at 10 a.m., followed by a session with Gansz at 11 a.m.

In addition to top-notch instruction from standout coaches from several levels, coaches in attendance at the clinic will have the opportunity to attend closed Nebraska practices on both Friday (2:30 p.m.) and Saturday (12:30 p.m.) afternoons.

All sessions of this year’s clinic will be held in Nebraska’s Hawks Championship Center or Memorial Stadium. Cost of attending the clinic is $40 before March 19 and $50 after March 19. For more information, please contact the Nebraska Football Office at (402) 472-3116 or visit and

A full schedule of events is available on both web sites and registration for the Nebraska Spring Coaches Clinic is available on-line.


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