Plant City, FL- The Mentors of Tomorrow (MOT) Cowboys of Jacksonville, FL, once a up start program blazing trails in Duval County for providing the first unlimited opportunity in North Florida, have now made history. MOT is the only program in the country to ever win a National Championship by a nationally recognized and structured nationally organized league–six consecutive times in the history of Youth Football.
There have been other programs who have won consecutive championships and programs that have won six national championships, but no one has every won six straight. And no one has ever won a national championship in every year of their program’s existence, until MOT arrived on the scene in 2008.
In youth football, there are some historic programs that come to mind when you think of major national success. The Naperville Patriots (IL) have won seven national championships, several were consecutive, but they span over nearly 10 years. The White Oak Warrior (MD) organization has won 11 national championships (10 in Pop Warner) and most recently their first this year in AYF in 2014 but have never won six consecutive.
MOT’s run is truly remarkable because they blazed trials and the program has found a way to remain competitive while overcoming huge obstacles. They have no major sponsors like the aforementioned programs but just a will to compete and be great as a family.
President Ivory Durham lead this organization out of the Grand Park Youth Football Pop Warner program in Jacksonville and did something highly criticized, he formed a conference for kids playing age-based football, not according to weights. Out of the gate, he had tremendous success blazing trails in the American Youth Football league and then transitioning to the United Youth Football League.
But for some, it wasn’t enough and didn’t garner the respect and admiration from peers that it should of. The brand of football was seen by many locally as ‘slow’ and ‘boof’ as if to suggest it was not competitive football. In 2012, Durham founded the MOT/Hotbed Classic, a pre-season tournament at the end of July, to showcase unlimited (age-based) football in his area and gain more appreciation for the brand of youth football he began to promote.
Overtime, opinions changed.
Now the Hotbed Classic annually garners some of the best teams in Youth Football (it’s 8U and 14U champions won National Championships in UYFL this year).
As far as MOT, the winning continues. Joined by his wife and Vice President Sarmita Durham, Ivory Durham has put together one of the best programs in youth football history in Jacksonville. He’s done it by setting a culture of winning the right way, cocompetitivenesst all costs and by accepting every weight of kid. His organized program structure, immaculate year-end banquets and winning ways only continue to attract the best kids to his program.
In July, a field will be opened, newly renovated by the city that will be used by the MOT program for games and practices and its construction is based off of the successes of Durham and the MOT program. It’s been a long road, and it’s not over. There has been lots of change, but winning is the constant.
With an 8U team lead by Jake Jones, Ephram Wright and Jordan Martin this year’s national team won the tournament this year knocking off the College Ready Academy (MD) GC Cowboys (NY) and Bradford Tornadoes (FL).
MOT is a true national power and Durham is a visionary that never let adversity beset his dreams of being the best.
Here’s a look at MOT’s six championships over the last six years.
- 2009: 5th Grade AYF (All-American) National Champions
- 2010: 5th Grade AYF (All-American) National Champions
- 2011: 6th Grade AYF (All-American) National Champions
- 2012: 14U All-Star UYFL (All-American) National Champions
- 2013: 10U UYFL Unlimited Weight Division National Champions
- 2014: 8U UYFL Unlimited Weight Division National Champions