For many, summer vacation is about lounging on the beach or touring historic sites. For Williams College head football coach Aaron Kelton, it's about coaching football.
Kelton, who begins his fourth season as Williams' football coach this fall, is spending this summer as a coaching intern with head coach Joe Philbin and the NFL's Miami Dolphins.
"I thought this would be a good thing to do," said Kelton, "to continue to get better as a football coach."
Kelton, the first African-American football coach in NESCAC history, is part of the Bill Walsh NFL Minority Coaching Fellowship program. The program, named for the Hall of Fame coach, is to use training camps, offseason programs and minicamps to give minority coaches opportunities to observe, participate and gain coaching experience.
It's the fourth different NFL team Kelton has worked with as part of the fellowship program. He has spent time with the Arizona Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts and Jacksonville Jaguars.
Kelton went to Davie, Fla., for the start of the Dolphins' camp on July 18. He will stay with the NFL team until Aug. 15, before returning to Williamstown to prepare for the 2013 season with the Ephs.
"You're working with the best and the brightest in this game," Kelton said in a phone interview from Florida. "This has been great because there's a lot of learning going on for me in terms of philosophically and overall in terms of coaching. That's been very helpful for me as well.
The Walsh Fellowship program is used by all 32 NFL clubs, and is designed as a vocational tool to increase the number of fulltime NFL minority coaches.
Kelton was the defensive coordinator at Columbia University before joining the Ephs. Kelton said he's also doing some work with the defensive secondary.
Philbin is in his second season as the head coach in Miami. He led the rebuilding Dolphins to a 7-9 record and second place in the AFC East.
When Kelton returns to New England, he'll prepare for another season leading the Ephs. His squad went 4-4 last year and he has a 17-7 record in three seasons.
While much of what an NFL team does may not transferrable to a NESCAC team with only one month and limited practice time to prepare, the Williams coach said that some of what he's seen and learned can be adapted to the Ephs.
"We'll see what the kids are handling. We have different things we're doing this year that'll be fun for our guys in terms of us getting better," he said. "There are certainly some concepts [in Miami] and the way that they do it that I feel could relate to our guys as well. I'll look at that possibility.
"Nothing is carved in stone, but they have a couple of concepts I like that I think will be great for us to look at."
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