PALMDALE — As every other High Desert Phoenix event since 2017, Dwayne Simon flew from here to there as business manager, general manager, promotions director and entertainment director.
At the Valley semi-pro football team’s final evaluation session Saturday at Marie Kerr Park, he added one more hat:
The former CIF football and track and field champion at Antelope Valley High School is no stranger to multi-tasking, as anyone who’s seem him operate a multi-band music mixing board can attest.
“Bill Belichick has always been one of my role models,” explained Simon, alluding to the New England Patriots’ future hall of famer who’s won six Super Bowls as general manager and head coach. “I live by his motto: ‘Do your job’.”
Or in Simon’s case, your six jobs.
Following the return to college football of former coach Sam Vaiana, Simon wants to make sure the highest level of professionalism in So-Cal semipro football is maintained.
So Simon and a new hand-picked coaching staff put the 2019 Phoenix through a grueling three-hour session that left some retching on the sideline.
“Sam set a very high standard here, a professional one,” said Simon. “I didn’t want to risk backsliding on that.
“So we had a challenging day, even though we’re still in the evaluation process of our 2019 team.”
The two evaluation days attracted more than 30 players to the Phoenix camp.
More than a third are newcomers, drawn by the success of the franchise since owner Norman Cook hired Simon as her new general manager in 2017.
When he wasn’t talking X’s and O’s with his team, Simon was sitting up the logistics of the Phoenix booth at the Antelope Valley Poppy Festival next weekend.
There’s also a potentially lucrative new fireworks booth to be manned.
Cook personally handed out 450 cards detailing the Phoenix’s schedule at the JetHawks’ first “El Viento de Lancaster” night on April 5.
Her team will play its 2019 season at Ray Monti Field at Jim Bauer Stadium on the campus of Knight High School for a second straight year.
“Semipro football is a unique cat,” Simon declared. “You’ve got guys with jobs and families. You’re dealing with men, and you have to treat them as men.
“But they’ve also still got the dream of playing this game they’ve loved since they were kids. Those dreams are going to become a reality with the High Desert Phoenix.”