With support from NFL FLAG and RCX (Reigning Champ Experiences), Warner University welcomes decorated Denise Naples as the inaugural Head Coach for the WU Flag Football program.
Coach Naples was officially named Head Coach of the flag football program on July 9, bringing with her fifteen plus years of experience as a player and a coach.
Naples is described by her loved ones as a joyful person who delights in the little things in life and has a strong relationship with God.
She grew up in Ohio playing basketball and football after school. This helped her develop a passion for sports. Naples went on to graduate from Warren Western Reserve High School and continued her athletic career playing collegiate basketball at Kent State University Turnbell and later at Cleveland State.
After, she went to play for the Louisiana Blues, a team that was previously part of the WNBA.
Regardless of having a successful career as a basketball player, her love for football never ceased. Her athletic experience led her to play Women’s Professional Tackle Football for the Cleveland Fusions in the early 2000s, a passion she handed down to her daughter Dakota Naples, the new quarterback for the Warner flag football team.
“In fact,” says Coach Naples, “Dakota is the reason I have this opportunity.”
The opening presented itself when Dakota came in for a visit this past summer. John Dunlap, WU’s former athletic director, mentioned the vacant position to Naples, without any knowledge of her previous experience. Shortly after, she completed the interview process and joined the WU Royals family.
“Many girls love football. They grew up watching and playing it just like I did. Yet they don’t continue to practice it because the environment never gave them the opportunity to succeed. If I can bring an empowering atmosphere to young ladies, where they can thrive in a male-dominated sport, it’ll be a goal accomplished for me.”
The Royals Flag Football team is one of fifteen universities sponsoring flag football in the NAIA and is looking for athletes to fill their roster. Walk-on positions are still available and tryouts will be held on September 17 and 18 at 3:30 pm in the Turner Athletic Center Lobby.