In the summer of 2003, myself and Coach David Reinders came up with the idea of LinemenInc Camps. Flying across the country we literally drew up on a cocktail napkin, the outline for what would become a nationally recognized summer football camp for high school linemen and the best hands-on coaches clinic available.
What our camp would be was a representation of the two of us. It would embody our knowledge, our experience, our desire to impact and improve the play of high school linemen. The camp had to reach players in their mindset and address off field activities. It would have to reach players on a whole new level, in a way no one else had done or was doing. As it turned out, in a way no one has replicated.
Branded "The most intense three days of your life." LinemenInc has taken players through a metamorphosis in just a three day period. Players were instructed by some of colleges elite coaches and former NFL linemen. Gentlemen like Jim House, Gary Bernardi, Darryl Funk, Jim Michalczik, Bill Bedenbaugh, Ken Wilmesherr, Lenny Rodriguez, Dave Tipton, DeChon Burns, Derrick Frazier and Matt Diskin. Former NFL standouts Rob Gatrell, Mike Edwards, Irv Pankey, Bryant Young, Kerry Locklin and Jim Jeffcoat.
LinemenInc established an atmosphere where players had to dig deeper than ever before. An atmosphere where the reps and competition was second to none. We created an environment that guaranteed if you were willing to do the work, make the sacrifice and never say quit, you would be successful. We pushed players. We didn't back off. Some earned conditioning opportunities. All were shown respect, our admiration and yes, our love. We spent eleven Fathers Days with these players. At the end of each camp I have told parents, "These are your sons but now they are our boys." No truer words have been spoken.
Our first camp had 58 attendees. Our second had 175 and our third camp in 2006 had over 240 linemen. In 2007 and for the next six years we had a Long Beach camp to complement our NorCal camp in Stockton. In 2012 we created LinebackerInc and began to address another need.
LinemenInc and LinebackerInc have been a labor of love for us. When the country was struggling financially and our cost of doing business continually rising, we held the line on the cost to come to camp without a tuition increase. For us, it was more important that a player be able to come to camp than we line our pockets.
LinemenInc was a family affair. Both of Coach Reinders sons, Nathan and Jake Reinders have worked the camps. My father, Larry Tabke made our watering system, our old fashion wooden boards, our Gatorade carts and he surprised us with the Garrison flags that flew for all those years, directing players where to line up. My sons, Jeff Tabke and William Tabke, my sons-in-law, Mack Lennon and David Maza all worked the camps. My brother Tim Tabke and cousin Mike Wiley were our camp photographers with Ray Reinders filling in at Long Beach. Without the support of our wives, Karin Tabke and Kathy Reinders none of this would have happened.
Over these years we have coached over 3200 of your sons. We have cliniced with over 800 coaches. They came from all across the United States, Canada and even South Korea to attend LinemenInc. So far 36 of our boys have gone on to play college football. Some have played on nation championship teams. Most of the 36 earned scholarships to NCAA Division I schools. One went on to play for the San Jose Saber Cats. Several have had tryouts with NFL teams and two, Mitchell Schwartz and Joel Bitonio are both currently playing for the Cleveland Browns. I wonder if they both know they attended LinemenInc?
Now it all comes to a close. A nationwide knee-jerk reaction to head injuries blown out of proportion by the media and near doer-good politicians has put an end to an entire industry here in California. Team camps are now a thing of the past. Gone are the days of the great Fresno State team camps and scrimmages. High school coaches are being told by their leagues, sections and districts not to hand out equipment until August. We can't afford to handle the equipment issues. We are not in the equipment business. Head injuries are no more prevalent today than in my day when we had less protection. The difference is the attention. The difference is the sheltering and coddling of our youth, the everyone gets a trophy mentality. My prediction, if they track it, is there will be more injuries now.
LinemenInc has always been about the player, on and off the field. We have been an encouragement. We have been a conscience. We have been a motivator. We have always promoted the positive message to players. And when sought out, we have given counsel and advice.
"The harder you work, the harder it is to surrender." — Vince Lombardi
LinemenInc is not surrendering. We have fought the good fight and we are defeated by overwhelming odds. We stand proud of our accomplishment. Our legacy is in our players and the lives they choose to lead. It is in the way they remember their camp experience and share it with others. In this life you can choose to stand on the sideline or jump into the game with both feet at full speed. The choice is always yours. It always has been. No one is responsible for you and what choices you make but you. When things fail it is no ones fault but your own. Own it, own it all!
"LinemenInc, the last of the Gladiators."
With love, respect and admiration,
Coach Gary Tabke
Coach Dave Reinders
Dave ReindersJoin us for three days of intense skills-based training and development. Guest speakers from both the NFL and the NCAA will attend camps.
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