Chris Dula enlisted in the U.S. Army in 2004 after withdrawing from North Carolina State University his sophomore year. Chris had earned a football scholarship to play strong safety from Conover High School in a small North Carolina town. After a long military career and joining Soldiers To Sidelines, he is using his skills to become professional football coach.
The Past as it Relates to the Present
He admits he was immature and naive at that time as he struggled with a tough home life and poor grades. Realizing that he needed more structure to succeed in life so he could properly raise his newborn son, Dula turned to the U.S. Army. Coach Dula served for 11 years and deployed in 2005 and 2007. In 2007, he was charged to operate a machine gun on a Humvee as part of security team transporting personnel and equipment between bases in Iraq.
"This was the most fun I had during my entire career in the military," says Dula. When asked why it was fun despite the ever-present danger, he replied, "We train day in and day out to achieve a clearly defined, successful operation. In many jobs outside of the military, you rarely get to see immediate results from your training."
Coach Dula says this is precisely why he loves coaching football. "Every day we practice specific techniques and strategies that will determine a successful outcome on game day. In this regard, my military experience perfectly translates to coaching football."
Another aspect of his military training that translates to coaching is managing different personalities. Chris explains that, “In the military just like on the DC Divas, we have many people from all over the country with diverse backgrounds and personalities all trying to achieve a common goal."
Immediate Lessons Learned
Since joining the Divas coaching staff, Dula says he has learned a whole lot. One lesson was that teaching proper tackling, and the mindset of tackling is difficult and important. Chris says, "Some players look like they would be great tacklers but don't actually enjoy hitting. So, I am always looking for ways to teach safe, effective tackling without sacrificing aggression."
Chris Dula's Coaching Aspirations
Dula's immediate focus is to learn every aspect of football. "I want to be more than a LB coach, I want to be a football coach. I want to learn the depths of every position and then grow within the sport." Chris's ultimate goal is to one day become a defensive coordinator at the collegiate level. With consistent hard work and dedication, Soldiers To Sidelines will help him achieve this goal.
Come watch Coach Dula and the DC Divas play at the St. James Athletic Facility in Spring Field, VA this summer. Click the link to view the Divas game schedule.