Team Spotlight: Liberty Prep

Head football coach Paul Funchess

Liberty Prep Sports Academy is a post graduate school that is a part of the NPGAA, otherwise known as the National Post Grad Athletic Association, and the Freedmen are based out of Marion, Indiana.

We were fortunate to chat with their head football coach, Paul Funchess, and get some insights about him, his staff, his players, and about his top-5 ranking!

RD: What made you want to take your coaching talents to the post grad world?
PF: I’ve watched several young men from both high school and college struggle to get things figured out academically and athletically. I wanted to help guys get a chance to learn how to be successful at a four year university before they actually stepped foot on one. I knew a post grad program would be the best way to do that.

RD: How long do you feel that you will remain at this level?
PF: I think this level of football is the future of college athletics. With Covid, the transfer
portal, and so many kids having another year of eligibility, there is a need for post grad
athletics. We provide athletes with another chance to develop and retain their eligibility in
the process. I plan on being around for a long time.

RD: What is it like coaching on this level, in relation to other levels you have been on?
PF: It’s definitely been different. At this level, especially with us being a first year program, it is totally up to us to fund the program. When you coach at a four year university or even
at a high school, you have the school who feeds money into the program. But here you
don’t have that, also my staff and I end up wearing several different hats. One day we
might be athletic trainers taping ankles, next we’re equipment managers.

RD: How important is it to have quality assistant coaches?
PF: My assistant coaches are the lifeline of our program. I have some great coaches that
love young people and love football. They make sure I remember to have fun with things,
and they make sure our guys are ready every week for whatever might come their way.
My young coaches make sure we have swag (laughs) and keep things fun.

RD: Who would you say is a leader on the team and why?
PF: We have several guys who are starting to emerge as leaders, but one who stands out in
particular is FS Devonte Jones, we call him “Red”. He has become a vocal leader and a
guy who comes to work everyday ready to get better.

RD: Obviously you play the game to win, but did you expect to win this much, this early?
PF: We knew we had an opportunity to be good, just based on the talent of the kids we
recruited, but you never know until they show up. Our guys have worked very hard from
the moment they arrived and have started to learn how to stream good practices
together. Hopefully we can continue to develop and keep winning.

RD: Your team is currently ranked in the top-5, what does that mean to you and your staff?
PF: It’s extremely humbling. Our players and coaches have worked so hard to make this
happen, but we know there is still work to do. We won’t be satisfied until we win the
national championship.

RD: What does that say to potential recruits that may need to go the post grad route?
PF: It tells potential recruits that we are a serious, well organized, well coached football
program where you can come develop and get exposure

RD: Does being in the top-5 give an edge in the recruiting game?
PF: Being ranked this high does help in recruiting. Players want to play for top teams and right now we near the top.

Coach Funchess and the Freedmen look to continue their winning ways, and hope to find themselves in the driver’s seat to compete for the national championship. Question is, will they be able to knock off the tough #1 MTI Prep-Gainesville Bison??

Published by Zane Rowland

I love sports and I love helping kids reach their goals and dreams!

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