Scottsdale, AZ-– The talented 20-year coaching veteran and QB guru Mike Giovando of the Quarterback Academy, will be coaching at this year’s Football Hotbed Arizona Select All-American Combine on Sunday April 26th in Scottsdale at Chaparral High School. Giovando has 15 years of tutoring quarterbacks to his credit and specializes in mechanics, footwork and teaching quarterbacks to be consistent.
He’s going to be working with the group of 4th-8th grade quarterbacks registered for the Arizona Select Combine beginning at 1:30 PM on the 26th as Football Hotbed searches for the best talent to name youth football All-Americans.
“These things are good for kids, so you can kind of see where you’re at and see where you stand. The fact that they’re going to run and jump and do a few other things is good. When they go to high school, these are all thigns they’re going to do, so they kind of need to see what this is all about. So I think it gives a kid a good opportunity to see what they’re going to be doing over the next couple of years,” said Giovando of Football Hotbed’s upcoming Combine and Mini-Camp.
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Giovando is well known as a coach on the West coast, specifically in Arizona, where he trains 50-60 quarterbacks each week. He’s perhaps best known for working with Collin Kaepernick and Tim Tebow on the pro level. But perhaps most impressive is his current roster of college level quarterbacks, many have NFL resumes and college quarterbacks who have amazing potential. Here’s Coach Giovando’s current roster of trainees:
- Tyrod Taylor– Buffalo Bills (Virginia Tech)
- Sean Renfree – Atlanta Falcons (via Duke University) trained by Giovando since sixth grade
- Brett Hundley-UCLA (pro draft prospect) who Giovando has trained since he was young
- Taylor Kelly– Arizona State (pro draft prospect)
- Kyle Allen- Current starter at Texas A&M from Scottsdale, AZ trained by Giovando since in middle school
- Brandon Harris– QB at LSU
- Blake Barnett – Enrolled at Alabama, Freshman in the fall of 2015 (Elite 11 QB winner in 2014)
- Deondre Francios – Heading to Florida State in the fall of 2015
- Brian Lewerke– Heading to Michigan State in fall of 2015
- Kare’ Lyles– 2016 Saguaro High School, Scottsdale, AZ committed to Wisconsin
“I get calls all the time, everyday [about training new kids] but you can’t do every single kid. There’s no way. But I have a fair amount of kids and it keeps me busy. The weather’s great out here, so you can do it year round. It doesn’t rain and if it does, it’s not for long.”
“He’s ridiculous,” says Giovando without hesistation.
“I’ve had him since 5th grade.”
Rattler, who’s expected to be heading to Pinnacle High School is one of the many talented QBs that will be in Scottsdale at Chaparral aiming to compete and get great measurements from the combine and show what he can do among a host of talented youth QBs who are expected to attend.
Giovando’s excitement about the event and his participation is high. It’s because of his background in coaching and his desire to work to develop quarterbacks and really develop them over the course of their careers that make this a unique oppertunity for him and such a blessing to Football Hotbed and the combine attendees.
“I’ll know a few of the kids, probably quite a few of them but you never know which other youngsters are going to show up and I like to get my hands on the kids early. This is an oppertunity for them to get some exposure and to compete and it’s fun for them to get an oppertunity to do something like this and not charging them a lot to do it.”
And finding a hidden gem is very attractive for the QB vet also.
“There could be more kids out there that I’ve never seen. That gives me the opportunity to eyeball more talent,” he said.
The combine is a great value Giovando says, mostly because of the exposure and the return on investment.
“You pay $40 to go do something like this and if there’s a guy like me out there, now you can find someone who can mentor you and take you further. If you’re playing quarterback and you don’t have a quarterback coach you work with, a lot of times you can get left behind. That’s why I run these big group sessions, so I make them affordable so you don’t have to come pay $400 a session. I do some one- on-ones, but in the group sessions, I try to get as many guys out there as I can and coach ’em up.”
Giovando trains quarterbacks every Sunday from dawn till dusk in three different areas in Arizona, ending his tour in Scottsdale usually around 7 PM on Sunday night. All totaled at the conclusion of each week, he reaches about 60 quarterbacks.
Most of his college kids come back on their breaks to do tune ups and stay sharp on fundamentals.
It’s a life that’s a grind but a pure joy for a former musician turned Junior College quarterback.
Mike Giovando grew up playing football and played quarterback as a three-year varsity starter in High School. From there he went to a Junior College (after getting hurt his senior year) where he was a two year starter at Pheonix College. After his second year in JUCO, he tore his rotator cuff and then suffered another major injury during training and after that he had to retire. He was headed to Arizona State, but he never got an oppertunity to play there.
Despite being highly recruited as a quarterback out of high school, Giovando began a career as a musician from ages 18-23 years old. This was after his comeback during his senior year from a gruesome injury and seemingly being headed for stardom. He would star, just not on the football field.
Giovando scored a record deal and had plans to perform all over the world. But after several years of music, his fire for football reignited. He went back to football, playing Junior College ball at 25 for his father, then the head coach and beat out all of the younger guys after not having picked up a football for several years.
At 26 years old, and another tough injury, he just decided to go and coach.
He’s currently still on staff at Ventura College in California as the offensive coordinator, driving 7 hours home to Scottsdale after home games to get back to Arizona to train quarterbakcs.
His dad was a head coach at a Junior college in Arizona for many years. They worked together as head coach and offensive coordiator for until the elder Giovando retired in 2006 and that’s when Mike ramped up his training of qauarterbacks.
“My goal is to make guys more consistent, more accurate that’s what makes guys a good quarterback. Ninety percent of playing quarterback is that you have to understand protections and schemes and combinations. When these kdis are young, my main priority is to get them in the proper stance, proper footwork and teach them how to throw a football.”
Over the course of his career, Giovando has rubbed elbows with a few of the sports’ greats. Kurt Warner and Steve Young are the guys he partners with and they help him as he tutors guys like Kapernick, who spent three months in the off season working with Giovando on mechanics.
“I never really thought that this was what I was going to be doing. I probably have 50-60 kids, maybe more, a week from 5th grade up through Junior College or College guys,” he says thinking back over his career.
“Anytime the college guys have a break, they are normally here.We have a gym where our high shcool QBs come in where we run 2-3 days a week in the gym. A few days throwing and then the other days are training. It’s a full time operation,” he says.
A UNIQUE EXPERIENCE
Perhaps one of the coolest things about Mike Giovando isn’t his wealth of experience playing or coaching quarterbacks, but it’s a project that he’s been working on for many years. Bringing American football to India.
“I went over there four years ago. They’re trying to have their own pro league, they’re just learning the game. But there’s a billion people over there, so they were thinking if it blows up, it will really be big over there.”
He’ll head over to India again in May to train the quarterbacks for the 20 pro teams the country is starting.
THE QUARTERBACK ACADEMY
At the Quarterback Company where he trains along with a partner, Giovando has a lot of exposure. He does a lot with the Elite 11 and Trent Dilfer. He works with Kurt Warner who he says has taught him a lot from a mental aspect, being able to get quarterbacks on the board, in the classroom with quarterbacks he trains.
He’s also beginning to expand his reach in other ways.
“I had the opportunity to do a couple pro days this year,” he said. Things have really taken off for him and his reputation has truly soared. And it’s been all good, he says.
“The first kid that asked me to work with them, I never knew it would go this way at all.”
But it has and he’s now one of the great QB mentors in the nation. We’ll see him in a week in Scottsdale. It’s a Hotbed World.