PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — You might recognize the last name Lillard, thanks to Portland Trail Blazers superstar and All-NBA guard Damien Lillard, but his older brother is making an impact of his own in Portland.
Houston Lillard is the head coach of a local 7on7 football team. A non-contact way to play football, 7on7 football is all passing and is played on a 40-yard field with an end zone, allowing scoring both on the offense and defense.
Lillard says the goal is to not only help kids take their athletics to the next level — it’s to also do everything he can to be a positive light in these young athletes’ lives.
The 7on7 league “gives kids a different way to be coached, taught, and to be looked out for without so many outside distractions,” Lillard said.
As the head coach of a 7on7 team, Lillard wants to make sure every time the kids arrive or leave the practice facility, they are doing it with confidence and reassurance.
“The biggest thing I want them to have is confidence,” Lillard said, adding, “I want them to be reassured that no matter what mistakes they have made in the past, or whatever troubles they are having, that we can work through them and they are going to be better days sooner than later.”
Another aspect of Lillard’s football team is it tries to provide the kids with the vision of college and giving them the experience of what it is like to be a part of a college program.
In fact, Lillard said many of the kids on his team have never left the state.
“I want to give them the chance to see what it’s like getting on a plane, staying in a hotel, and being away from their family. That’s why I try to schedule tournaments across the country,” he said.
The most important thing for Lillard is just knowing that the kids know who he is and how he is going to be around them and understanding they can put down their barrier and be real with him. “I just be myself,” Lillard said. “I come in here and I kid with them, I dance with them, I laugh and joke with them. I just break down my barriers and my comfort zone and that’s why I think they do the same with me.”