‘BRICK’ WORKS - Football commissioner making connections that last at Legendary Marine


Cornell "Brick" Tinner (third from left) has headed the Panhandle Youth Football Association for 18 years. He poses here with former PYFA players (from left) Bruce Bates, Tim Andrus, Travis Lampert, Zach Putnam and Chas Matthews, who all now work at Legendary Marine with Tinner.

Published: Tuesday, September 10, 2013 at 05:04 PM.

When former University of Florida linebacker Cornell "Brick" Tinner began coaching his sons in youth football, the Florida panhandle was sprinkled with small, unrelated leagues in each town.

Thanks to the efforts of Tinner, though, the Panhandle Youth Football League has unified the youth football programs from six different areas Destin, South Walton, DeFuniak, Niceville, Panama City Beach and Shalimar into one league.

"When I came into the picture, we made it a competition. Before that, everyone said, 'It's all about fun.' But those kids know what the score is," Tinner told The Log.

After uniting the separate cities into one league, which boasts between six and 11 teams per age group, Tinner introduced a playoff and championship system to help promote the competitive spirit in the PYFL. The main focus is still fun, though.

"When you play youth football, you're not striving for a scholarship or to go to the NFL. You're striving to have fun," Tinner said.

While serving as president, Tinner also heads the Niceville division of the league. More than 400 kids play for Niceville's 13 teams on a yearly basis, making it the league's largest group. The teams are divided into age groups: Mighty Mites/Boomers (5-6 years old), Pee Wee (7-8), Juniors (9-10) and Seniors (11-12).

Tinner works full-time as the sales and operations team leader at Legendary Marine in Destin. During football season, he said PYFL becomes a second full-time job, as he and the other board members spend nearly 40 hours per week on football business. After 18 years, Tinner said he keeps returning year-after-year partially because he doesn't fully trust anyone else to run the league to his standards. There is more to it than that, though.

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