December 7, 2014

The Morning Sun

Tom Creguer calls football “a way of life.”

“Football has taught me, in many ways, to be the man I am today”, said the life-long player-turned coach. “I grew up in an environment where I was labeled an ‘at-risk kid.”

Creguer saw football, and the community it created, as a way to be more, a way to do more. As a self-described problem-solver he was always working to make the experience better, and at an early age recognized one of the worst experiences in football is fumbling.

Creguer found himself puzzled over a solution to the ball handling issues that plagued players and coaches.

“As I advanced through playing youth, high school and college football, and then coaching at multiple levels, there always seemed a time when I found our teams and coaches saying the same things. They’d say, ‘protect the ball,’ or ‘ball security,” Creguer said. “These saying all eventually led to, ‘hold the ball high and tight with all your life.”

What they were all saying, in essence, was don’t drop the football.

Creguer saw this as an opportunity.

“The vision came in college but didn’t really come to fruition until I was a coach at Shepherd High School for three years. We lost a ton of games to fumbles and turnovers,” said Creguer.

That’s when the concept fully evolved.

He decided to put it all on the line for his vision.

“With my wife and 3 little boys supporting me we have investigated, researched, developed this training tool,” said Creguer. “As a single income family we have sacrificed to accomplish the goals, to create a prototype.”

He got crafty, built a prototype, named it High and Tight.

“I was literally in someone’s garage building this,” said Creuger.“ I needed help moving to the next step.”

That’s when Creuger brought his idea to Central Michigan University Research Corporation, who determined the tools and assistance Creguer needed to make his concept a reality.

“CMURC catapulted my level, my ability; I accomplished more in 16 months than I did in the previous decade,” he said.

CMURC partnered Creguer with many different student groups from CMU who helped create a marketing video and public relations plan. CMURC also gave him the opportunity to raise money for a patent and, most importantly, the path to a working prototype he could take to his community of coaches to test out.

Jason McIntyre, head coach for Mt. Pleasant High School’s varsity football program, has seen the prototype, and knows what it offers.

“Ball security is crucial to the success of any team at any level,” said McIntyre. “Finding ways to emphasize the techniques and skills needed to properly protect the football can be a challenge. High and Tight is a realistic aid that stresses those techniques.”

Zach Reipma, the wide receiver coach for Northwood University’s football team agrees. The team has been practicing with the High and Tight prototype.

“We are close to launch,” said Creguer. “The last set of prototypes found themselves in the hands of some colleges, and one Heisman trophy candidate who has improved drastically in the area of ball security.”

“I can’t wait,” Creguer said about his product hitting stores. “This is for coaches, by a coach, and it’s a game changer.”