Former NFL players set to coach Menlo School’s new girls’ flag football team

by Contributed Content on July 19, 2023

Menlo School will field a girls’ flag football team this fall — with two former NFL players filling its coaching ranks. Nearly 40 student-athletes have expressed interest in playing for the inaugural team.

John Paye, former quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers and a 1983 Menlo alumnus, is head coach. Steve Young, an NFL Hall of Famer who played most of his 15-year career (1985-1999) as a 49ers quarterback, will serve as an assistant coach. They will join forces with assistant coaches Buffie Ward Williams ’89, Menlo Assistant Athletic Director, a standout volleyball, soccer, softball athlete and former varsity soccer assistant coach, and David Trujillo, varsity baseball coach and former professional baseball player.

“We are excited to add girls’ flag football to our sport offerings and provide an opportunity for our female students to play a popular, fast-growing sport. There is so much support among the girls and their classmates, the Menlo community, our fellow schools, and at the state and national levels for this exciting athletic endeavor,” said Menlo Director of Athletics Earl Koberlein.

The season begins August 21 and lasts through November 4. However, the number of games depends largely on how many other schools will have teams — and if there are officials. Menlo School is ironing out dates of games and has plans to play teams such as The King’s Academy, Notre Dame-Belmont, Notre Dame-San Jose, and a season-finale Valpo game against Sacred Heart Prep.

What is known is that the interest level is high at Menlo.. Several girls have been practicing on their own, getting together for reps of passing, catching and running. Some of those players picked up the game in middle school.

“There’s certainly a good amount of excitement in the Menlo community,” Paye said. “I’ve been getting photos and videos of some of the basketball players out with their friends practicing and training on their own for the season.“

Starting from the ground up, girls’ flag football will be an equalizer. Unlike in nearly every high school sport, nearly all the players will be starting new to the game. Interest has spanned from students who don’t play a sport to those looking for a fall sport.

Photos of Menlo 8th graders playing Sacred Heart this past spring courtesy of Menlo School

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