Manuel Diaz – Fountain Valley High School, class of ’01
What a success this guy has become!
After meeting Manny the 1st time I thought to myself, “this guy already has 5 strikes against him: he’s not tall, not big, very skinny, slow, and…he’s Mexican.?…
For those of you that know football real well, you’ve noticed there aren’t many, if any, Mexicans on television playing football. Hence, the stereotype college recruiters have when recruiting.
What I did notice about Manny was he had a lot of potential. He was very gifted, as far as lateral quickness goes, and he was tough as nails. He had a decent high school career but didn’t accomplish what I thought he was capable of.
Manny approached me about playing football in college- I told him I’d do everything I could to help him out and what it would take if he was really serious about doing this. Deep down I knew if he made a complete commitment, became more discipline, accountable, and was willing to do whatever it takes to get ready to compete at the college level, we could make it happen.
I made a few calls and Northern Michigan University decided to give Manny a partial scholarship with the ability to earn a full-scholarship if he performed well. That summer Manuel became a new man. I don’t remember him ever missing a day of training. Instead of me staying on him to work hard, I had to tell him to back off from over-working. He pushed himself as hard as he could. He changed his lifestyle, acquired a beautiful work ethic, and became the player we knew was possible.
To make a long story short, not only did Manny go off to Michigan in hopes of earning a lil’ respect, he went there and started, as a freshman. He started at wide receiver, kick returner, and was named Freshman of the Year. More important, he did an excellent job in the classroom.
Manny flew back this summer to train with us at Speed Kills and is a big leader/role model for the athletes that train there. He has been an inspiration to the Mexican community and I am constantly telling Manny’s story to the high school team where I am the head coach (100% Mexican). This summer he helped coach my team and it was great for my athletes to see someone, like themselves, who made it playing at the college level. Because of athletes like Manny, my athletes now believe that they can accomplish anything.
It is an honor to train this guy and I am so proud and excited. He used to lack straight-ahead speed ~ he’s running passed guys now. I have played with receivers such as Kevin Dyson (NFL) and other great ones…Manny runs as good of routes as anyone I’ve seen…he may not have Dyson speed; but his routes, toughness, and hands are second to none. Manny has overcome every obstacle thrown at him and become another big SPEED KILLS SUCCESS.
“Regarding Jimmy Nolan:
Jimmy Nolan is a a fabulous trainer, and coach. For 3 years now he has help me prepare for upcoming seasons and made sure I was in the best physical and mental shape I could possibly be in.
Under his training I have excelled in numerous ways on and off the field. Jimmy is a class act and teaches his trainees to be the same. He preaches that the only way to succeed in anything is through hard work, dedication, and never giving up.
Since I’ve been attending Speed Kills, I have had nothing but success.
I received a football scholarship to Northern Michigan University were I was awarded Freshmen of the Year and racked up 645 all purpose yards. I have trained with Jimmy all summer and now I’m going back for another season of football with confidence and high expectations.
Vincent “Dat” Nguyen – Fountain Valley High School, class of ’01
When I think about all the athletes I’ve trained thus far, no one sticks out more in my mind than Vincent “Dat” Nguyen.
Vincent Nguyen (FVHS) is flying during this interception return against the talented Carson Colts.
“There’s no way he’ll ever play!”
“He’s too small, he’ll get hurt!”
“We can’t play that guy, how’s he going to cover anyone?”
“How’s he going to tackle anyone?”
These are the common phrases I used to hear amongst players and coaches while I was coaching/training Vince at Fountain Valley High School. No one was willing to give this guy a chance.
I noticed something different about Vince: he would do ANYTHING & EVERYTHING I told him to do…and he’d do it exactly how I told him to. This is the greatest thing when trying to teach someone. He was one of those kids that looks you straight in the face when you are teaching him and then says, “yes sir.”
I remember we had a big, fast 250 lb running back, Steven Fifita, who could not be tackled. Everyone was too scared to even try. I told Vince (140 lbs) to run as fast as he could and hit Fifita with his head…BOOM! Fifita went down…and Vince knocked himself out. But after he awoke, he wouldn’t leave the field. We ran 8 more plays that series and Vince made 8 more tackles (against Fifita).
Every day he got better. He wanted so badly to learn. I knew this kid was special and needed to play. Everyone was against my idea of starting him at cornerback, but I knew if he kept making every tackle against bigger guys like Fifita, and making interception after interception during practice, the head coach would have to let me throw him into a game. Vince finally got his chance after making big plays on special teams…All of a sudden Vince was one of our stars…very rarely do you see a 5’6″, 140 lb. Vietnamese guy dominating a division 1 football game.
Not only was Vince fast, he was one of our best hitters. He went on to get voted as an ALL LEAGUE performer and was well respected throughout Orange County. I’ve never been so proud to coach/train a kid as I was with Vince. He beat all the odds and became one of the best. I haven’t met a tougher individual with such a burning desire to succeed. Through Vince’s passion for excellence, I was able to help him become one of the most dominating sprinters in all of California. Many small schools were interested in Vince for football, but he chose to take a scholarship in TRACK at Cal Poly Pomona University, where last year he dominated as a freshman. It has truly been an honor to work with big “Dat” Nguyen.
I’ve trained with Jimmy Nolan for 2 1/2 years in football and track. Without all his efforts in training and coaching me for football, I probably wouldn’t have played a single game in high school at any position. Why? Because I am 5′ 6″ playing Division 1 Football and no one saw any talent in me, but Coach Nolan.
When everyone else wanted size on his or her team, he knew speed was more important and that’s what we worked on. Since I didn’t have the size, he knew my speed and heart for the game would totally make up for it. Before I only played Special Teams, which was not a problem, but I wanted more- I wanted to actually play football.
Through “Speed Kills” I did not only get to play now, but I received numerous team awards like: Player of the Week/Game, Defensive Player of the Week/Game, Who’s Nut’s award, and was voted ALL “SUNSET” LEAGUE. This was my first year playing and unfortunately it was my last considering that I was a senior in high school! He brought my 40 yd. time from a 4.6 to a 4.27.
Throughout My Track and Field career, working with Jimmy helped bring my 100m time from 11.20 down to 10.86 and the 200m from 22.35 to 22.01. In track, these marks are a big leap and I owe it to Jimmy’s “Speed Kills” workouts. These marks also put me in the Top 5 in Orange County and top 25 in California. A few awards I’ve received are Track MVP, Top Points Scorer, Athlete of the week…etc. etc.
In 2002, I began my first year of Track and Field at Cal Poly Pomona University. Starting off my first indoor track season, I qualified for the NCAA DII Indoor National Championships in the 60m with a time of 6.87 (in running my first and only meet that season). In outdoor track I made the biggest leap of my career by dropping my time down once again: In the 100m from 10.86 to 10.60 and in the 200m from 22.01 to 21.56. Both were new Personal Records (PR), which qualified me to the NCAA DII Outdoor Track Championships…Some awards from 2002: 2nd place CAL/NEV Championship, CCAA Conference Freshmen of the Year, numerous Athlete of the Week, team Top Points Scorer, Team Outstanding Freshmen of the Year, 900 Club Honors…
I am currently training for the upcoming collegiate track season and for the next Olympics in 2004 at Athens, Greece; where I hope to represent Vietnam or the U.S.
I cannot explain how much gratitude I have for attending the Speed Kills Training Camp. If it wasn’t for the training techniques that Jimmy’s taught me, I know that my track career would not be where it is today. I took Coach Nolan’s awesome training techniques and applied them to my everyday intense workouts. He has taught me that it is not always about being the most physically strong person, but to turn it into a mental game and beat an opponent by using my mind. Whether it is playing “bump and run” in football or running the turn in the 200m dash, being mentally fit and prepared will win you games and races. Please strongly take my word for it… Jimmy Nolan and his Speed Kills Camp can do a lot for you, but it will take your personal effort to see that you better yourself in whatever sport you do! I have never met a coach that has supported me, had faith in me, and encouraged me that way Coach Nolan did. He is by far the Best I have trained with and if he did it for me then he can do it for anyone. I am a 5’6″ 140lb. Speed Demon all because of “Speed Kills” with Jimmy Nolan.
- Vincent “Dat” Nguyen
The Knights – Foothill High School Football