Extra Points: Brian Spano 9/21

Brian Spano

By Brian Spano PrepsKC Senior Writer
Posted: September 21, 2011 - 9:57 AM

It’s hard to leave the game you love. When it’s given so much to you, you want to find some small way to give something back to it. That’s what former professional offensive lineman Damion McIntosh is doing for the Lee’s Summit West football team as a volunteer defensive and offensive line coach.
There are no ulterior motives here. Oh, he may one day want to coach at some level of the game, but right now, he finds enjoyment in molding young football players into good football players.
“My role on the sideline is to watch the kids,” McIntosh said. “They have great position coaches on this squad. If I see something, I just give them a two cents here or try to reinforce what they’ve been taught, what I’ve seen them do on the practice field and remind them, hey, you need to remember how you did it in practice.
“I’m that second pair of eyes for those position coaches because they have so many players they’re watching, and not all the time they catch it, and it’s good to try to catch it in real time that way you can correct it rather than the day after the game. If I think of something to help these kids out, I tell them, and it’s all within the structure of what they have going on here.”
McIntosh has local ties. He attended Kansas State before spending 10 years in the NFL. He was drafted by the San Diego Chargers and had a brief stint with the Kansas City Chiefs during the 2007 and 2008 seasons.
He came to the Titans by way of a mutual friend of head coach Royce Boehm. Upon retirement from the Seattle Seahawks after the 2009 season and then a year away from the game, McIntosh felt he had something to offer, something to teach, so on the advice of former Kansas Jayhawks head coach Mark Mangino, McIntosh began looking at local high schools, and West was the perfect fit.
“He told me that he wanted to touch the lives of some high school kids, and that’s exactly what he’s done with his knowledge, but not just these kids, he’s also affected this coaching staff,” Boehm said. “He doesn’t talk above the kids’ heads. He talks at their level, and that’s what’s awesome about him. If they’re not doing the drill right, he’s young enough and energetic enough, he’ll get down and do the drill and show them this is what I mean by a kick step.”
Former professional football players that have a love for the game have found working the high school path as a way to keep close to the game. All one has to do is look west across the state line at Bishop Miege High School and the successful program that former Chiefs offensive lineman Tim Grunhard has built as head coach there. And with these pro athletes entering the high school realm, the kids don’t seem to be affected by a star-struck mentality.
“These boys have been very focused,” McIntosh said. “They ask questions, and I like that. I try to make them feel comfortable to approach me and say whatever they need to. At the same time, I try to develop relationships. I let them know that everyone is on a different path. Everybody’s not going to make it to whatever level of this sport, but what they learn out here, everyone can use as tools outside of football. Things I’ve learned through past coaches at the high school level or at the collegiate level were huge life tools that are very necessary, and they’re learning that here from a great coaching staff."