Bill Parcells built a reputation as a no-nonsense NFL head coach during his three-decade career with four different clubs.
But the man once nick-named the Big Tuna showed a more congenial side during his appearance at the Bob Reed Football Clinic Sunday at Saratoga Springs' East Side Recre-ational Field.
Parcells smiled several times during a question-and-answer session with players and parents from the Saratoga Springs Pop Warner program, and he even quipped about one young player's Buffaslo Bills T-shirt.
"We're going to have to get you a different shirt," said Parcells.
Parcells also had a serious message that he passed along to the various Pop Warner coaches in attendance.
"It doesn't need to be professional football [at the youth level]. It needs to be fun football," he said.
Later, Parcells elaborated on his message.
"This is a difficult game, and some of these coaches will treat these kids like they were 22 or 23 years old," said Parcells. "That makes it not fun for them. They should have fun playing this game at their age."
Parcells was invited to speak at the clinic named for former Minnesota Viking Bob Reed, a Saratoga Springs resident and president of the local chapter of the NFL Alumni Association.
"It was good for him to come over and speak the same words I would have spoken," said Reed.
"I thought the questions the kids had were so great, and coach Parcells was very gracious in his answers," said Saratoga Springs Pop Warner president Matthew Riker.
Parcells has nearly be-come a full-time Spa City resident since leaving his job as a consultant with the Miami Dolphins last year. So, it was an easy decision for the two-time Super Bowl championship coach to make the short trek across town to speak with the next generation of football players.