Updated: Feb 27
On Thursday the QB Velocity team was able to meet with Lackawanna College QB and Special Teams Coach Michael Behr. Lackawanna College is a highly respected Junior College in Scranton, Pennsylvania. They recently made the NJCAA national championship , but fell short.
Coach Behr has nearly 30 years of coaching experience, and has worked with many great college Quarterbacks such as David Pindell, Brian Schor and Andrew Ford. He is highly respected and has tons of valuable knowledge. Here is how our conversation went with Coach Michael Behr.
He gives great advice to young coaches , athletes and also gives a true inside look to what JUCO ball is really about .
What was it like to play in the national championship?
It was a great experience. Everything was awesome except for the outcome. Treated very well, did a community service event at an elementary school, banquet, etc. Awesome for our kids to play on National TV
Talk us about your background.
I played football, basketball and baseball in high school. I went to Slippery Rock University where I walked on the basketball team but unfortunately did not make the last roster cuts, At Slippery Rock I majored in Sport Management.
How did you get your first coaching job?
My internship, at Slippery Rock,was with the Pittsburgh Pirates.Unfortunately,my time with them got cut short due to the MLB strike in 1994. Then,I came back home where I received an opportunity to coach high school football for one of my old coaches, Dave “Whitey” Williams,as the Receivers/D-backs coach. I never would have dreamed of being a football coach before that.The experience I gained through my internship helped me a great deal,as far as being a professional and communicating with people.
What Is a major difference between coaching high school and college?
The parents. At the college ranked you don’t have to deal with parents wondering why their kid isn’t playing, compared to high school where the parents are around much more, and you have to be able to handle that. At the college level you are talking to parents about things like the FASFA and other paperwork.
What was the first year of coaching like? Any advice for young coaches?
I should’ve retired after my first year.My first year we won the state championship in a double OT game.You can never be prepared enough and always research.
As far as advice , always look for that extra drill. It doesn’t matter what kind of offense you are in there is always something you can pick up.
What is the most rewarding part about coaching?
Seeing where our players move on to. We have players in the NFL, FBI , principles in high school, guys who work for Bank of America. We have guys spread out throughout college football at the highest level including the D1 FBS/FCS level as well as the D2 ranks. I make sure to stay in contact with all my QBs I have had for the last 7 years. I look for footwork mechanics, demeanor on the field,and the big question: is he coachable?
What intangibles do you look for in a potential recruit? A QB?
I am a stickler for footwork. If you don’t have good feet, you can’t throw the football. I want to know how the kid is against adversity. I also ask the coach about his upbringing and how he is as a student. I have had 7 QBs who were all academic qualifiers. I look for footwork mechanics, demeanor and the big question: is he coachable?
In a tight QB competition, what are some things that will separate a QB to win the job?
First thing I look at is decision making process. Will he throw the ball away or will he force the ball in there and throw an interception? Also, off the field, is he a pain in the ass in the dorm? Is he breaking curfew? How’s he doing in the classroom?
Do people undervalue special teams? What do you like about coaching the specialists?
I believe they are highly highly under coached. Close games we are in come down to the special team's battle and we win that because we take pride in that and we spend a lot of time on that. Kickers and punters are weird, they are a different breed. I always try to keep my specialists involved by having them come catch for my QBs. When push comes to shove, they are the guys who will win or lose a game.
What is JUCO football really like? Is Last Chance U accurate?
There are programs like that, however we are not a program like that. People like to watch it because of the drama that surrounds it .We actually turned down Last Chance U. Our program is running like a division 1 program, without all the gear. We have a strength coach, nutritionist, study hall.
Everything at Lackawanna is mandatory. We run our program like a boot camp. We have coaches going around the dorms with a horn to wake up our players.
What is the difference between JUCO football compared to D1-D3 and even NIAA?
Talent level. If we graduate 30 kids, at least 25 are going to an FCS/FBS school. Rarely we have kids that will go D3. We will also have 1 or 2 kids who go to an NIAA school, also there may be a few that will go D2.
What can athletes get for scholarships at JUCO schools?
It depends on the school. Some school do not offer housing, so those schools are much cheaper tuition. At Lackawanna we have full room and board, so the tuition is higher. So, we can offer partial scholarships. Most students will have a bill that they have to cover. That’s the reality of scholarships at the JUCO level.
Who are some of your favorite players you’ve coached?
My all-time favorite must be David Pindell. I have about 30 guys who could be it, but David is just above all of them simply for how he was a kid. In his last semester at Lackawanna he had $450 left on his meal plan through the school. So, with that he bought a bunch of food and brought it to a local homeless shelter. That selfless act is uncommon. He also didn’t come from much,so he being the caring and giving person,is why I rank him at the top.
For the talk click here