JOE Galat - President/Chairman of Board of Directors
Joe has had a long standing football career. Starting his career at Miami University (Ohio), he played as the team captain and honored as Miami University Outstanding Athlete. Joe returned as a coach at the collegiate and professional level. He has an impressive resume of colleges where he coached including, Miami University, Yale University, University of Kentucky and Youngstown State University. Professionally, he coached with the NFL's New York Giants and the Houston Oilers. When George Allen was General Manager of Montreal, he appointed Joe to be his head coach. Joe then became the head coach and General Manager of the British Columbia Lions of the Canadian Football League. In 1982 Joe was inducted into The Miami University Hall of Fame. He was also inducted into The Painesville Harvey High School Hall of Fame (along with The NFL's winningest Coach Don Shula). After his coaching days, Joe was National Color Commentator for CBC-TV SPORTS. This experience gave him the distinction of having held every position in organized football (player, coach, manager, broadcaster, and Youth Executive).
ELIZABETH Bray - Director of Operations
Starting in 2009, Elizabeth was appointed AYF Communications Director and quickly made great progress in the strategic development of the cheerleading program. As a result, Elizabeth has been named AYC National Director and coordinates all AYC Cheer and Dance Programs. Elizabeth holds a BA in Business Communications from The University of Michigan. She brings much experience, humor and passion from her past positions in public relations, marketing, and management. Among her previous jobs include Ford Motor Company, Marketing Associates, Valassis Communications and Woodland Paper. Her careers have all contributed to her great success at American Youth Football.
DEE Grayer - Football Commissioner
Dee Grayer's incredible knowledge and experience in football has led him to the National Football Commissioners seat at American Youth Football. He played College Football at San Jose State University and then in the professional Arena Football League for 3 years, both in Florida and Oregon. Dee's career then extended into years of experience in youth football. In 1999 Dee became an active organizer, volunteer, administrator, and coach for youth football program. He has been nationally recognized with awards including, the AYF Volunteer of the Year, AYF Giving Back Community Award, and head coach of the Under Armour AYF All Star game. Dee's leadership in the community include: the establishment of the Annual Spotlight Dinner a local community event centered up on giving back which recognizes the top high school football players, youth teams, active community members and sponsors; a local fundraiser, The Turkey Tee Off, in addition to organizing AYF’s participation in the 2008 Snoop Bowl during Super Bowl XLII. Dee actively contributes his time and expertise to youth combines and clinics and sits on the board of several non-profit corporations.
SHANNON Shy - Recruitment & New Member Director
Shannon began his involvement in youth football as both a coach and an administrator in Northern Virginia. His co-founded program won 4 AYF championship titles and was active in the community by Giving Back. Shannon was instrumental in developing youth football programs in the Atlantic region. in 2007, Shannon came on board as AYF's National Membership Director. His incredible job has helped contribute to the incredible growth rate of AYF. Shannon also serves as the stadium announcer during our national championship week in December! Shannon served as a senior civilian attorney with the Department of the Navy and a retired Marine Corps Reserve Lieutenant Colonel. In 2007 he received the Legion of Merit Medal upon his Marine Corps retirement and in 2009 he received the Distinguisehd Civilian Service Award, which is the highest honorary award the Secretary of the Navy can confer upon a civilian employee. Shannon is also a published author having written a book entitled, “It’ll be Okay”: How I Kept Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) from Ruining My Life (Authorhouse 2009), a personal memoir of struggle, perseverance and overcoming adversity.
FAYE Katz - Director of Human Resources
Faye brings twenty years of experience in the publishing and marketing field and has held management positions in working with Price-Waterhouse and Holt Renfrew. Faye now overees AYF Staff and Personnel.
KERRY Lorenca - Cheer Director
Kerry Lorenca brings a tremendous amount of experience from all levels of cheerleading. She has coached all levels of recreational cheerleading, Level 4 in All Star Cheerleading with many national championship titles, and is on the safety committee for NJ State Cheer and Dance Coaches Association for Rec and High School. Kerry has held cheer executive and committee positions in local, league and regional levels in cheer and dance since 1999. Her knowledge in cheer safety has led her to develop and facilitate coaches’ education clinics, certification courses and risk management seminars for cheer and dance organizations. With her strengths in teamwork and leadership, Kerry brings volunteers and leaders together to encourage an inclusive cheer program for AYC. Kerry studied Education and Psychology at Georgian Court University and Thomas Edison State College and was previously employed by the Toms River Regional School District.
RIKKI Kinsfather - Member Relations and Support
Rikki brings with her over 34 years of experience and involvement in youth sports. She has been involved in youth sports ranging from baseball, basketball, to football. From the administrative level to the coaching level, Rikki has experienced every angle of youth football. Rikki's youth football program produced four Heisman winners, one Rose Bowl MVP and One Superbowl MVP, while witnessing over 50 NFL players come through her program. Prior to youth sports volunteerism, Rikki ran her own company for 10 years which has given her tremendous knowledge in customer services and relations. Her years of expertise are an excellent resource for our members.
ADAM Laufer - General Counsel
Adam is a laywer who serves as counsel to AYF and supports member organizations with their Legal and IRS Support.
RAY Katz - Advisory Panel
Ray Katz, is a seasoned veteran with over 25 years in the industry, and his diverse experience working for a league (NFL), agencies (Optimum Sports, The Lord Group/Young and Rubicam, Leverage Agency), a network (The Football Network), and a team/arena property (Madison Square Garden), as well as having blue chip client-side experience (American Express and Walt Disney Company). This gives Ray both a broad and global perspective on media and marketing across sports and product categories, and a deep understanding regarding each of the revenue streams inherent in a sports property.
Ray joined Source 1 Sports, part of the 30 year young Source Communications, as Managing Partner after two years as President of The Leverage Agency. Prior to that, he served as Managing Director- Sports Marketing, for Optimum Sports for almost six years. He oversaw consulting for brand and property clients, including VISA, State Farm, and Arena Football League, and was highly instrumental in Optimum’s rapid revenue growth in consulting for both sponsors and properties. He is a proven industry innovator in the realm of pre-investment and Return-On-Investment (ROI) analytics.
Before joining Optimum Sports, Ray worked as CMO and SVP of Sales for The Football Network, where he was one of three top executives on the launch team.
In 1999, Ray founded Smartix International, an affinity commerce company that partnered with MasterCard and MBNA to launch a comprehensive fan management program for sports teams and Leagues. These services included electronic ticketing, secondary ticketing, and loyalty programs.
As Senior Director of Marketing at the NFL, Ray managed a $10 million budget and was responsible for company-wide advertising, direct marketing and research, during a time in which NFL Properties business doubled.
As Director of Sales at Madison Square Garden, Ray formulated integrated season subscription and group sales and marketing plans for sports and entertainment events, and created the first ever Knicks mini-plan and pre-playoff promotion.
Ray started his career in Account Management at Young and Rubicam and subsequently became the head of The Lord Group’s sports marketing unit. His account experience includes, Kraft/General Foods, Procter and Gamble, Adidas, The Sports Authority and Major League Baseball.
Ray graduated with distinction with an MBA from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania after graduating from Penn Summa Cum Laude, and winning the William D. Gordon award for outstanding graduating senior.
Ray was heavily involved in the initial curriculum development for the NYU Masters in Sports Business program in 2001, and has taught E-commerce, Sports Media, Sports Marketing, and Sports Sponsorship courses for both the Masters and Undergraduate Sports programs at NYU, where he continues to teach and is currently up for promotion. Currently Ray is also on adjunct faculty at Columbia University, teaching graduate level courses in Summer and Fall in the Sports Business Program.
He is also a member of the Wharton Sports Business Initiative, and serves on the Board of Advisors for The Business of Sports School a charter school in New York City. Ray is also a mentor for WISE, a “Women in Sports” trade group, and has spoken at numerous conferences including the National Sports Forum, and International Association of Venue Managers, and is regularly quoted and interviewed on radio, television and print media.
Ray is an avid golfer and enjoys travel, spinning and enjoys his season tickets to the Knicks and Yankees, as well as keeping up with the ever-changing digital media landscape.
AYF SUPPORT STAFF
JIM Taft- Chairman Emeritus
Jim Taft is formerly the vice president of American Youth Football. He came to American Youth Football with vast experience in youth work and especially football. Jim retired as National Football Commissioner with Pop Warner Football in 1993. In 1996, Joe Galat and Dr. Jack Hutslar asked Jim to join with them in creating American Youth Football. Joe, as did many other football people, felt that a new dimension for youth football was needed to encompass other types of football programs not affiliated with current national programs. Jim served as an executive director with the Boys Clubs of America in Charlotte, NC, Wallingford, CT and Camden, NJ. He is a graduate of Belmont Abbey College in Belmont, NC.
JULIE Bolton - Giving Back Chairman
DEIRDREA Willis - Step Chairman
Football - Rick Pelletier
Cheer - Julie Mullins
Football - Craig Karahuta
Cheer - Adrienne Marko
Cheer- Diedrea Willis
Football- Travis Scott
Cheer- Kelly Frazier
Football- Mike Bell
Cheer- Yolanda Bel
Football and Cheer- Robert Morris
Football - L.E. Chamberlain
Cheer- Olivia Dominguez
Football- Rikki Kinsfather
Cheer- Don Carbiener/Pam Cronauer
Football- Mark Tyrell
Cheer- Kathy Robinson
Western Regions Ambassador: Tim Kanavel