Youth Football League Combines Athletic and Academic Success

By Aaron Saunders

NCCU Staff Writer

the Durham VOICE

For the past 16 years, Durham youth have been able to grow athletically and academically through the Durham Eagles Athletic Association.

Rodney Rogers, a former NBA player who started at Durham’s Hillside High School and Wake Forest University, and James Butch Williams, a Durham attorney and sports agent, founded the football league in 1993.

The association is dedicated to “creating an environment of discipline, self-respect and success to aid in the academic, athletic and social success of our student athletes.”

“We have had a good number of guys make it on to college and that makes us successful,” said Head Coach Dave Potter.

Potter stresses excellence not only on the football field, but in the classroom as well.

“We have mostly elementary school kids so we try to teach them accountability, self discipline, how to meet and greet people and how to give a firm handshake,” said Potter.

The Durham Eagles organization is one of four or five football organizations that serve the Durham Community and one of two that participate in Pop Warner.

The children are divided into 11 teams and must maintain a 2.0 GPA to participate.

“Last year my team had nine academic All-Americans, which is one-third of my team,” said Potter. “The Pop Warner average is three percent so we are well ahead of the game.”

Potter added that coaches call players every week and that they have leadership and sportsmanship awards for the kids.

This past summer the little Eagles teamed up with the big Eagles of N.C. Central University for a football camp. NCCU athletes helped coach drills.

The Eagles play their home games at Lowe’s Grove Middle School on Saturdays.

“There are a lot of people who don’t seem to know where to go if they want their kids to play football,” said Potter.