In this episode of the show, I'm interviewing Heywood Hunt from All American Athlete in Wentzville, MO.
Coach Heywood Hunt co-founded All American Athlete in 1994. He makes it a point to incorporate life skills and education into the sports aspect of the program. Coach Heywood initially pursued coaching knowledge by contacting many different coaches for information – such as off-season workouts, nutrition, motivation, and skill development. Additionally, he attended coaching clinics and camps to further advance his expertise.
Coach Heywood has previously coached at Francis Howell Central, YMCA, St Angela Merci, Mehlville High School, Rim Rockers, First Baptist Church Arnold, and St. Louis Eagles. He was also a teacher’s aide and para-professional in the Francis Howell school district and has held individual training sessions since 1980.
Coach Heywood attended Ritenour High School, graduating two years early. While in high school, he was fully involved with school activities such as football, basketball, and track. He then attended Northwest Missouri State and played basketball for his college team. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in industrial technology and now works at Indelco Plastics.
Hello, and welcome to STL active St. Louis is premier health and wellness podcast. STL active aims to give listeners in the St. Louis area the information they need to succeed and progress with their health and fitness. This podcast is brought to buy St. Louis C t.com. And hosted by Doctor of Physical Therapy, Greg, Judy. Hey everyone, its Dr. Greg Judy's owner and physical therapist with Judy sports in rehab. On this episode of the show, I'm interviewing Haywood hunt. Coach hunt is the founder of all American athlete, where their mission is to develop and assist young people to become better citizens and student athletes through guidance, encouragement and instruction. It's not just about basketball and winning, as they focus on life skills and education. In addition to sports. This is a bit of a special episode because I love their mission and really respect with Coach hunt. And the staff at all American athlete are doing. They're having a golf fundraiser coming up and in a few weeks and I'd love to have the STL active community of listeners support this cause the dates mentioned in the recording are not accurate due to the covid 19 pandemic, but the new date will be August the 17th of 2020. I urge you to give them their your support, whether you can or cannot attend the golf tournament. Without further ado, let's get into the interview with Haywood. Welcome to SEO active today I have Mr. Haywood hunt from all American athlete. Welcome Haywood. Thank you so much for being here. Thank you for this opportunity. Absolutely. So hey, what's going to introduce himself to you guys and he wants to start off with a few thank yous to some supporters that he's had recently. Okay. First of all like to congratulate all area athletes on their winter seasons, and most of them are in a couple seasons. We want you to work hard and keep going Go on and finish strong. And when you're finished with your season, you need to get back to work. There's a shout out to Lombardo Holmes. They're the guys that built our gym. And what Mike Van paml we'd love you guys and thanks for all your work. Special thanks to our coaches, staff and parents who helped build and believe in our mission, and dare to help our kids. Special thanks to Dr. Greg and staff for their exposure. Having a trusted physical therapist is especially important when you're injured or you near injury or to prevent injuries and experiences going to be mind easing for you to get into your seasons, and stay strong and keep going that way. My name say would hunt president of all American athlete, my wife, Sue hut and I got formed all American athlete in 1994. And we did it because we want to help the middle athletes and people that didn't have exposure to different areas of life, to get them to be better. And we did this because and reality of life. The people that are highly skilled or rich get what they want the middle people and the lower people, they get kind of what's left over. So we want to help the middle people become better. Basically, we help basketball players and we want them to be students also. But we also want to be round well rounded. The building organization was, while we chose all American athlete was at the time we formed it. We wanted to have a name that stood out and was very unique, but also that stood for quality. And at the time, we farmed, all American athlete, the only two organizations that were that we thought was available to us was being an Olympian, and being an all American athlete. At that time being all American athlete, it was more an honor. And it was picked the best players are the best team because they now have all all academic all Americans as well. And as a sidebar. washu has a lot of all Americans and when you go to their gym, it's kind of impressive to see that going on. organization started because Basically when I was in high school, I graduated two years early. And because of this, I was behind. And it was hard for me to catch up. So what I did learn by observing and figuring out a strategy that helps you to become better and part of strategy is why all American athlete is at the level what it is. And again, the type of players that we try to help, or the bench players are role players, people that never played different types of players that need certain things like if you're in a specific area, or even a bench players, maybe these guys sit on a bench or they don't play so they don't get better. So we've figured out a way to get them on the floor. We have classroom with life skills, and the combination helps them to become more complete and competent player. teams. They normally take the best part of the player and that's what they do, and the coaches don't necessarily put winning and losing players perspective because most coaches just want to win. So what we do is, is, as we build from where we are to as they get better as a team and become more cohesive, we put our wins or loss in perspective, and we go back and work. Our main job is to teach them the fundamentals in a basis to get them better. But the other part is also for them to have fun. And for us, we have a family and learning atmosphere. And because of that, it makes it easier for our kids to thrive when they get out on their own or in real life. So we kind of compared the life part of life with the basketball part of it, and kind of go back and forth. Because most people can play sports or life but they have a little life. So with the life skills that helps him to get better as far as dealing with stresses and things because what are kids nowadays, a lot of our kids have problems, and they don't always go for help or ask for help, but we make it open so that way they They can come to us and talk to if they have problems or anything like that. Because anything we do with our kids are confidential. We, okay what we did because we now have a gym because of laboral homes, and because they built the gym we can have a more complete program. Part of what we used to do was as we trained, the different teams and a different student athletes, we gave those those teams, what they needed at that time, but because of gym, we can give them a more complete program. And we have different things that we can teach them like we had financial, we had skill life skills on bullying, we had it on being a leader. So we have different topics that we can do according to level of, or the age level of our students. And that's what we want to do too is to let people know that our organization is not just for our kids. Well, you if you Have a team that you want to play on, you can come to us for training. And we have different types of programs that we can use to help them to get better, according to what they need. We even have special camps where we can do just for the big people, we call it bigs. We have one for two smalls, we can do shooting camps and for coaches, that have your own teams, we can do team camps. And again, that's according to the schedule that we have in the gym time we have. So again, we were not here for just our kids. We're here for the community. And that's the way we want it to be. Because as our kids get better, our community get better to love it. That is awesome. You guys have a great mission. And you know, I can really appreciate what you're going after, which is trying to help kids become better people. Yeah, of course, they're gonna become better athletes working with you guys. Learning how to be coached learning how to be a better athlete, but the life skills thing I think is such an awesome part of your mission. really is. I'm thinking back on my, my childhood and which coaches that I connected the best with. And yeah, they were good coaches, that was kind of a given. I've always had good coaches, I would say for the most part, but the ones that I still remember the ones that I still reach out to on Father's Day, are the ones that really made a difference. And I think that's a huge deal. So, you know, for me, shout out to coach Leo, he was my coach when I was 14. And my parents were going through divorce, and it was, you know, that was not an easy time of my life. And having a coach like that, that really made a difference was a big deal. And so I I'm sure that you have touched a lot of a lot of kids lives and made a huge difference for them. So I applaud you for that. That's awesome. So let's talk a little bit more about all American athlete. I know you told us a lot about it, but when you guys started, what did you have in mind? Like, what was the vision? What did you did? Is this what you expected? Yeah, 25 years later? Well, it's funny because when we first started, we were in lawyer's office because we were making a nonprofit organization. And at the time, there was a lot of nonprofit organizations that were starting to get money. And they were, they were just disbanding. So we, when my wife and I sat down and talked about this, what we wanted was we want, again, a family learning atmosphere. We wanted a place where it was a relationship. It wasn't just a coach that, you know, when you came to practice, you can practice laughter You didn't hear from him anymore. So we keep in contact with our athletes, even our alumni, which is great. Facebook helped us out a lot with that. Any other part is like you were saying before with the coaches that you bond with, the biggest thing was many of our athletes because of the gym, especially we had to get stories. So we knew what was going on. There was things going on in their labs. We never knew what was going on. So it gave us Way to bind with them even more, because we found out that things that they were going through at that time, and we were helping them through it and didn't even realize it. So again, we want it like a family atmosphere. And what we did was I, okay, I've probably coached at every level you could, except for college and Pro. And I'm only saying that because I've had, you know, people that have gone to that level that I've helped. And again, I'm not taking credit for because they did the work. But again, it's important to know that if you got somebody that can help you to get there, and I see a lot of players are doing it now, you have to thank the people that get you there and help you to get there. But back to what we're talking about. If you get to that level, what you want to do is you want to keep in contact with people because they're still people and they're not just a player or stat. And when you have relationships like that, it means more to you, especially with our kids because our kids like we call them bubble players or people in the middle. Most of those guys are not the guys that have all that skills like they call division one. But the thing is, is they become great people, great parents and responsible. And it gives you a great feeling know that you helped them to get there. And when they call you back or they get in contact with you, it means even a lot more because as you go through it, it's you know, you give a part of yourself to them, but you get even more back because you get their kids and you get them. That's awesome. Very good. So all American athlete is not just for the athlete side, as we've talked about, it's it's it's life skills, its sports skills. But one thing that you were we were talking about beforehand was that it doesn't necessarily have to be someone joining the all American athlete team that they could use part of your your programs are part of your coaching and life skills programs as like a supplement to what they're already getting with their sports team. Maybe go into some examples of how people have used that effectively. Okay. We've had people that okay, well, first of all, just about every high school that we've just bought every high school in the area, we've had somebody over two years, that there that we've trained at some point. And as we did that, again, we start developing different things that we needed to help them as far as them reaching their goals. For Okay, part of what I do is I give them a notebook binder. And within a notebook binder, if they have a sports things or life goals and things, they put them in there, and we try to help them achieve it by looking at what they got and ways to do it. And as we do this, like I says, some of the other guys like the teams are on they like their friends, they stay with their friends, but what we do is we supplement that by doing our own training and life skills. And they we give them a schedule and they just kind of come in when they do and again, it's a supplement what they're doing. And again, some coaches You know, they're just like regular people. They they mean well, they do stuff but like, I've been coaching since about high school and I'm in my 60s now. So I've been doing this for a while. And it was always fun to do it then. But I didn't realize I wanted to do it till after I got I college. And because I had the experience it helped. And with the AAU teams and other people that I've coached with, they gave me a networking system and networking system helped me because most of the coaches that I had when I was coming up were Hall of Fame coaches now, and I mean, just to name a few be like, Coach Pete Newell, which is a big man camp. I learned a lot from him. And a lot of times it wasn't even so much technical part, but it's like technology and the details on what you're doing things. We had norm Stewart that was kind of locally in the area. We had, I had contact with Coach Wooten which is a Maryland coach mark and wouldn't he just recently passed, even had some contact with Pat Summitt and coach john wooden and UCLA. So all these coaches are great Because when you wrote them or call them, they will give you information. So getting information from higher levels to help lower levels helps you because you have more information need. And when kids ask you questions, you're more available to them because you can answer questions as they ask them or when they ask them, you're not totally shocked by what happens. And again, like I said, we do this for our program, because it helps our kids to be more complete and get ready for life. Because we all go through things. We all have our ups and downs, but we want them to know that, first of all, they have us they can come to and talk to me around. But the other part too is once it happens, they need to pick themselves up and have a positive attitude and keep going. There's too many kids now that you know they get stuck in drugs or they get in trouble. And it's not totally you know, because of the things that are happening to them. It's just the way they react to it. And even our group has we have one young lady Savannah Pierce, he was in a car accident and there was some drink involved she was in but I think the driver was We had another person, her name was Jessica madly, she had drug problems. And again, we had a couple of our athletes that succumb to what's going on in our society. And again, if we can help kids to understand what's going on and ask for help when they need it, it helps what's going on. That's kind of what we want them to do with us. Once they get in our gym, we'd like to consider it like a safe a safe haven. So that way, they're doing the things that they're supposed to do and they're not in a street causing trouble or being in trouble. That's in that's definitely important. Being able to provide kind of an outlet from what negatives might be going on in their home life. And that's, that's definitely important. So we've talked about the facility. I've come by the facility a couple times, and it's amazing. It's beautiful. But it's not just a basketball facility, right. It's used for other sports, it's set up to be used for other sports and in certain situations, but I think the The thing that you made most apparent to me was the classroom. Right? And I, you know, from, from my perspective, that's probably one of your favorite places in the whole in the whole facility, because that's where the real magic of all American athlete is, is that that life skills portion, of course, they're becoming better athletes, but the life skills are so important. And I know you'd mentioned that you had a class on bullying on or anti bullying, obviously, but leadership so kind of talk a little bit more about some of the life skills that your athletes will go through? Well, the the biggest thing I'm always telling our kids is your mind controls your body. So the big part of the classroom is your mind is getting ready to help your body what it's doing, but it's also controlling what you do outside of the gym. And that's in society or around your family wherever cases. And we're seeing too many kids now there again, you know, they're acting up in public and they're not getting the, you know, the training or the you know, the necessary for them to understand why they're doing things so they won't do an impact. And our classroom is also a another way it's multi purpose, okay. And the classroom was also named after Danny Blackshear, which is my partner. He has parents, and it's called the Blackshear Resource Center. And we can use it as a classroom. We can use it as watching Game film. After we do games. We also watch films because of those life skills, different things that we can do there. If we have athletes that's going to send go to college, we can use it for that. So it's it's in multi, you know, dimensional. We don't want to just to be a classroom, we want to be used, but again, even before practice will bring people in and we'll go over Okay, here's what we need to do. Or, you know, we're going to talk about how was your day at school today and what was it things you went through? So it's a way to add to like, again, like we're seeing the dimension of the person worse, not just you were just sitting alone a gentleman practice We're just gonna leave. And that's, that's definitely important. And like I said, the the coaches that have impacted me the most I interacted with outside of just sports. So whether it was, you know, traveling to a tournament where you're going to interact with the coach in normal life setting, not just in the sports setting. And so that's the kind of thing that impacted me. And I can definitely see how that would be an important thing for the athletes. Well, for us, I mean, there's a few times where we get to travel outside of the gym, and for example, what a high schoolers, we'd like to take them to Notre Dame, and our younger kids we haven't did within a few years, but we do what we call a y bt. And it's a it's a basketball circuit where you basically play at the level that you are, so they're not playing you know, like sometimes when you play team, you get blasted out of order and sometimes you do the same thing back. This is more like your skill level. So that way you get more out of you plan because, you know, some people don't learn when you win big or when you lose big But when it's a close game, they concentrate more and you can get their attention a little bit better. And when you do that, again, you know, in the trips I like to because you see the kids in a different light, you see their bonding, you see their parents, you see how to get along, learn more about them. Usually, you know, like it says, they come into the gym and a leave, you only see him doing a games, you don't learn anything about that person. Part of us in our relationship with our kids, is we get to learn about their parents, their brothers, their sisters, what they do. The gray part is, is especially like our older kids, a lot of them are getting married, we get invited to weddings, I've been to piano recitals I've been to play so you get to be a part of life, you know, and that's, that's a great part because they accept you the way you are And you accept them where they are and you've been through things with them. So it makes it you know, a really enjoyable time. And, you know, we were talking before that we pressed record here that you're you're really relationship with the kiddos is not just the basketball, it's not just the life skills, but it ends up being that lifelong relationship. And they learn lifelong skills. And I think that's that just goes to show if you're getting invited to weddings, probably 10 years after, after they were an athlete with you. That's really special. That's awesome that you guys make that big of an impact on the athletes are really touching athletes was Emily lining when she had cancer and hit taken one her legs. And her one of her wishes was I guess it was a bucket list. Well, one of her wishes what she wanted to play basketball all the time. So she came to practice and we went through the motions and stuff. And we told you that if you come to practice and you work out, we'll figure out a way to do it. And I think it was from I can't remember the name of the there was another organization that kind of sent her out direction because we were helping his kid he's His name is Brian Judy. And his daughter was on our team and he says this will be a good fit. So we had a night at Valley Park where we Had a basketball game and she got to play and she score a few points. But it was just fun watching the stands and watching the action, what's going on for her to have one more time to do what she really loved and for family to be involved with it. And in the great part about it was at halftime, we had colleges and things they were sending stuff to her for her because of what she was doing, because it was it was amazing to her because like I said she had one leg and she was trying to run down the floor. And, you know, we had to kind of pull it back a little bit. But again, it was a great time and even the building up to that point where she was going to practice and she's working on stuff, you know, because we kind of bond it right off the bat because she reminds me a lot of my wife Sue Sue passed about eight years, eight years, eight, nine years ago and she had lupus. But she reminded me a lot of her and first thing she told me was she liked me because I wasn't not easy on her and I didn't. I told her the way it was. So it's great to have people like that that you can bond with because some people you like so People you you know, you get along with then some people just totally fine What right off the bat and she was like one of those kids and she made a major impact in the area, and especially with her cancer and with different things that their family is still doing. And that's such a cool story. I mean, obviously a sad story, but the fact that everything went as well as it possibly could have gone, she got her wish you guys were able to help make that happen. I mean, that just as a testament to the good things that you guys are doing, and that's, that's really awesome. Well, and it was a good thing that happened to all of it was, most people were saying that just because we did it because of her condition. But no, we do that for all athletes. I mean, we've even had some special need kids that we've helped. So we don't pick who's there and we don't you know, we don't recruit. We don't have tryouts. Whoever's there is who we work with. That's cool. Very good. So being that you guys work with the the middle athletes The the lower income certain times, there's probably certain people that don't necessarily pay for your guy services. And so that's part of why I wanted to have you on the show today was to help you guys fundraise a little bit. I love what you guys are doing. I love your mission, I want to be able to help as much as I can. And I think having you on the show is a good way to kind of get get the word out for you guys. So well the thing too, is you were talking about that part of it. We do have people that have problems. And what we do is we make it available them that different things that they can do, to either work it off, or you know, because we don't want people to lose, we call it window time. And when you're when you're an athlete, or as you live, you only have a certain amount of time to get things done. And if you wait and don't do it, you lose part of the time. So we want that athlete or that student or whoever we're helping to be able to get that experience. And again, we do it by them self Meaning that whatever they can or can't do by doing things to help us, I mean, volunteering to do things or, you know, helping us network or helping us get businesses or things like that are all going to help us to get better. Because again, we want to be a big part of community and so forth to communities as as welcome with us. And another thing that that's real interesting is our gym is built in an area that was owned by Francis Hall. And many people know that name because there's a school district named after him. And he sold it only into a slave. And where the gym is built is actually where the community center was for the slaves at that time whenever they had it. So they came up and bought it and hit a whole community that area. They had a community center school and they had a church and a church hope wells actually on the corner. And the actual somebody's actual people that founded it, or buried in that cemetery. So some historical facts, you know, that were actually on a slave land that was owned in essence We bought it from some Soma, a family, and that family had it and they didn't want to sell it. And for some reason, they sold it to us, which told us that our mission was supposed to be there. And God blessed us to get that building. That's awesome. That's a really cool story. And, and like I was saying earlier, that facility is outstanding. You know, that the lombarda folks definitely. What was funny was they they built it, and they said, We never built it before they built homes, and they're great at doing that, because I saw some of them, but the way they built it, they built it like a house so that when you walk into the gym, it's kind of like, what are we walking into, you know, and then you turn and you kind of see the things that we have up on the board, you know, we have a little bit of our pelt, you know, things that we've had, you know, like jerseys and different sayings and quotes and motivational type stuff. And then all of a sudden you get to the door and look in the gym you go Whoa, you know, because they did a great job with the floor and, and all the guys are great even the guys at work because when I would go there Talk to him and he says, we know this is for kids. And even if I don't totally get paid, I'm gonna help you guys get this bill. That's awesome. You've had a lot of people rallying around you guys. And so I'm hopeful that some of my folks can help you as well. So I know you guys have a golf tournament coming up. So June, the first, Whitmore if you want to share some more details about it, okay, where this is a fundraiser that we have for the gym or for the different things that we need. Last year, what we use the money to pave our driveway, which was a major contributor to helping us get some more people that want to come in. It's going to be at the Whitmore Country Club, and it's going to be Monday, June 1. And we're looking for teams and sponsorships. We have different levels. under different golf courses. We have little banners of flyers and you can do that we offer have sponsors like for dinners for lunch for driving range, beer sponsors, different things like that. And I can, if you want information about that, I can send it to you. And I'm going to have all that posted in the show notes. So when this is posted, there'll be a section for files and stuff. And so I'll be sure to include everything that you're holding in front of you, with all the details on how to sponsor in there, but if they wanted to reach out to you specifically, sooner than just finding the files, how would they get in touch with you? Okay, you can contact me my email address, which is all small letters, all American athlete, Inc. I firstname.lastname@example.org. Another thing that we're kind of looking forward to for the golf tournament is we haven't signed auctions. So things such as baskets or tickets or things that you know, things like that would be great, because it'll be another way for us to get people in to get to you know, for them to do the auctions to help get money. And this is it. The whole thing is fun. Because all the people are there. They know what we do with the kids and they know it's for the kids, and they see the result of it going to the kids. So it helps us to do even greater, you know, greater thing what we did to help more kids. Cuz eventually what we want to do is we want to make our gym and our basketball facility. Right now we're partnered with a cross cross fire volleyball team. And they've told us when we first met that, in about three years, they want to build their own gym. So we partner with them now. And they're a great group and they're doing great now with their tournaments and different things. But again, what we want is to be able to, to get our kids in at like if they came in like at about second, third, fourth grade wherever they come in, and we want them to be finished products when they leave, whether it's for life or for if they want to go to higher level with their dreams. Again, we're just there to help them get there. We don't drive what they do. Awesome, pretty good. So, guys, golf tournaments, I've worked a couple in the last couple years I've never played because I'm not a great golfer myself, but it is an awesome time. Even if you're not a great golfer, it's gonna be a fun time. So I do encourage you guys to to support all American athlete and go to their golf tournament June 1 at the Whitmore Country Club. So this is a big fundraiser for a special project that they're working on for this year. And it will help them you know, be able to promote their mission and help more kids going forward. So we're getting close to the end here. How else can we help you obviously we've got the golf tournament, but is there anything else that some of my listeners might be able to help you guys with? I've had people that like what we do, and he says, you know, we don't have a lot of money to give you on American athletes started off in our house. So the amount doesn't matter. It's you giving it from your heart and giving it to the kids. One thing we have available is we have a gold fund page and it's go fund.com slash all American athlete. That's one way to do it. Again, we're looking for volunteers to help us with different things. Or we're looking for coaches because we're expecting our program to go because we are in a Winchell area and they're talking about building a new high school and middle school. We have a Facebook page, and we try to put motivational inspirational thing on it too. Again, it's not just for our athletes as for our parents, and people who are going through things because we all do, and we have to help each other through life. That one is all American athlete, big letters and spaces in the middle of slash, and it's North Stars, basketball, North Stars winning mass. And again, that's on Facebook. And again, you know, we have the line Akin and the other things that were there too, so if people hire you out, want to talk to us, we're willing to because we still gonna be expanding and talking to companies and even if your company has a lot a life skill program or something like that, we're willing to do that. And we'll talk to anybody. And if you just want to come and visit our gym, just come and pop in and see what we're doing with our kids. We just start a new session. Matter of fact, this past weekend, we had a free clinic, a fundamental camp for the kids, and they had a blast, and we had some more coming back. And again, because of the middle people, a lot of the organizations that we're trying to get kids from or that like the upper organization, the YMCA and feeder program, and people that never played where we have no problem taking time to teach you guys what you need, and do this thing you did. And again, most of our athletes are basketball players. And as a matter of fact, a good thing that's kind of going on is there's a lot of kids that I coach when they're in high school or now high school coaches, which is kind of not ironic, which is kind of funny that they will do it and they're doing a great job with the kids in the area. So hopefully we'll see an elevation of our talent here especially I would love to see that we used to have shootout, they came here, where they played other teams from other parts of the country, and see how we do against other teams and see if we can get that started back up again. But again, you know, like, the, what I want to do is to make the area better as far as kids. And it's not just basketball, it's life in general, because we have too many killings and too many things going on. And what we're doing is not going to totally change it, but it's a step in that direction of it. And I've got a lot of colleagues that hopefully will be listening to this. And I know for a fact that I will be coming to the gym to volunteer and do some pre injury screens, and maybe do some life skill training and injury prevention kind of training for the basketball athletes, but hopefully we can get some other folks that'll help out with the life skill stuff, as well as some funds as well. So I appreciate you being on the show anything last words. We have a website. It's www dot all American athlete.com We've made it kind of easy because my email address and website are the same. We're still working on that. But there's information there that people can go to. And again, if you have networking or if you know somebody that wants to if you get in contact with them, we'll contact them if you can't, and I appreciate you guys listening to us and listen to our story. And, again, if you have kids that want to play that never played, bring them to us. Awesome. Thanks coach for being on the show. I appreciate it. And guys, go to the golf tournament, June 1 at Whitmore, and this has been STL active. Thank you for listening to the STL podcast from St. Louis PT comm If you enjoyed the show, please spread the word. Thanks again and see you next time. Transcribed by https://otter.ai