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Chris Vaszily ’90
A Falcon with the Heart of a Lion

Chris Vaszily ’90 coaches a player at Louisiana Tech. Vaszily coached there prior to landing a job as a scout for the Atlanta Falcons.

Photo courtesy of Chris Vaszily

When Chris Vaszily ’90 was in his teens his mother told him he would someday be a football coach. His response, “I’ll never be one of those lunatics.” As fate would have it, the old proverb was true, always listen to your mother. Today Vaszily is ready to complete his second NFL Draft as a scout for the Atlanta Falcons.

The road to the NFL has had many stops for Vaszily, who came to Albright in 1986 after being recruited by then-Albright head coach Dr. Jeffrey Sparagana to play safety and to return punts.“Chris brought character, academic integrity and tenacity to the game. He was always willing to work hard and he’s intelligent about how the game is played,” says a very proud Sparagana. “Chris will continue to rise in the ranks of the NFL.”

Following graduation, Vaszily, a business finance major, worked as a credit evaluator and assisted with coaching at his alma mater North Penn High School.

Soon after, Vaszily was asked to play for the USA All-Stars, a promotional league made up of players from small colleges who spent two weeks playing games in Germany. Shortly after that he was asked to join the German development leagues. Vaszily quit his job in February 1992 to spend six months in Germany as a player and coach.

The next few years found Vaszily back on the field with North Penn High School as well as attending graduate classes at the U.S. Sports Academy where, in 1994, he earned a master’s degree in sports science.

In 1997 he accepted a position as secondary coach with Itawamba Community College in Fulton, Miss., a team whose former members include Joe Horn (Atlanta Falcons) and Duce Staley (Pittsburgh
Steelers). After Itawamba it was Liberty University for a year before taking a job as a position coach for the Barcelona Dragons of NFL Europe during the 2000 season.

After a stint at Charleston Southern University, he spent four seasons coaching tight ends, special teams and wide receivers at Louisiana Tech where he met several Atlanta Falcons’ coaches. In 2005 his networking paid off and he was hired by the Atlanta Falcons as a scout covering the mid-western section of the country.

Being a scout in the NFL is not an easy job, says Vaszily. He spends all season evaluating 3,000 players in order to make seven picks in May at the NFL Draft. Recruiting for the NFL is much different from recruiting high school players for college ball, he says. “You have to take out the emotion when you look at a player,” says Vaszily. “If you focus on what he can’t do, you’ll never get to see what he can do.”

Vaszily is involved in every aspect of the team’s selections from the player’s skills on the field to their character off the field. Scouts not only speak to coaches of prospective selections but they interview everyone involved in a player’s life from family to teachers to girlfriends. They look for consistencies in their stories and then go back and watch tapes and put character to the player, giving a complete picture of what he has to offer.

It’s not only important that a player be a valuable asset to the team on the field, but the player must also be an asset to the Falcons off the field as well. Preparing a young adult for the success of the NFL is a complicated job and one that each prospect must be able to accept. “You have to sure they will be successful,” says Vaszily.

After months on the road watching college players, Vaszily spent 16 days in Atlanta in February evaluating every single player available for selection in the Draft. Later that month he participated in the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis where 300 of the very best college football players worked out on the field in front of executives, coaches and medical personnel from all 32 NFL teams. This intense, four-day job interview is a vital step for athletes in achieving their dreams of playing in the NFL. Vaszily had a frontrow seat.

In May, Vaszily will be in the Atlanta Falcons’“war room,” assisting coaches and owners with the selection process. And in just 48 hours the whole process begins all over again. “The hard part is working all year for two days with limited interaction with the team,” he says.

Vaszily says he appreciated his time at Albright.“Coach Sparagana was one of the most influential people in my life. He gave a great education in football as well as in life…his dedication to his players serves as a role model for me today.”

In all fairness to his mother, Vaszily credits the support of his family for his success as well. “Without their allowing me the opportunity to travel around the world to play and coach I would never be where I am today,” he says.

Vaszily currently lives in Winston-Salem, N.C., and will marry his fiancé Laurie LeBleu in June.

– David S. Johnson

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