By Melissa Spellman
New Journal and Guide
After celebrating the (SYFL) South Youth Football Championship win on November 11, 2023, the Berkley Timberwolves 12U Champions received The Proclamation from Norfolk City Mayor Kenny Alexander on December 5, 2023. Not only are the Berkley Timberwolves Champions, they are a team of honor roll students!
If you are from Berkley, then you know Coach Glen. If you know Coach Glen, then you know about the amazing Timberwolves football team and youth sports organization. The Berkley Timberwolves are an organization committed to saving the youth in the city and their community. Their goal is to save as many youth as they can through athletics, mentoring, discipline, and education.
Glen Yearling affectionally known as Coach Glen was born and raised in Norfolk. He has lived in the Berkley community for nearly 35 years. He has been impacting lives through coaching for over 40 years.
Yearling’s foundation of coaching started around age 10. “I was always a big kid. All the leagues had weight limits back then, so I couldn’t play. I wanted to play for the Oak Mount Corrupters, so the coach brought me on,” said Yearling.
The coach kept a young Yearling at his side, allowing him to learn the game, film the games, and even write plays. In the early 1980s he became a part of the coaching staff of the Oak Mount Corrupters under Coach Lenwood Baker.
As he grew to become a head coach his impact began to take off. He attributes his desire to coach to his early years in youth sports. “I wanted to save lives because somebody saved my life,” said Yearling.
In the late 80s to mid-1990s he coached the Park Place Crusaders. After which he would come to Berkley and began coaching the Berkley Cougars in 1996. In 2004, Coach Glen founded the Berkley Timberwolves football and cheering organization.
His coaching philosophy is a simple one. “I don’t want to just save one. I want to save all of them.”
Coach Glen says his motivation to his kids is to watch your coach. His aim is to serve as a living example to the youth he mentors. “Watch me work hard. I can’t ask you to work hard if I don’t,” he said.
The community leader went on to say that “We all have standards for our kids, we want the best for our kids, we want them to see our hard work so that they can have something to build on. It’s the same way I feel about the kids I coach, the kids in the streets, and the kids in the community.”
Coach Glen believes that children must have someone to look up to. He affirms that it is unreasonable to ask a child to do hard work in school, on the football field, or at home, if you as their coach, are not modeling a strong work ethic to your team. “Watch me. Watch everything I do, and you will never see your coach slacking” he said.
Coach Glen, a surrogate father to so many, strives to embody what being a presence in a child’s life really means. Many of his former players, some now in their 30s, can speak to the coach’s passion, dependability, and work ethic. Even as his mentees become adults, they still call on Coach Glen with problems or for advice.
Yearling says when it comes to mentoring kids or anything you do, don’t halfway do it. Love what you do and put your all into it. He expressed that his greatest achievement as a coach thus far is seeing his kids make it from these mean streets into signing college scholarships, going into the military, having good jobs, and being good fathers.
Coach Glen says it warms his heart to see the kids being proud of themselves and achieving heights they didn’t think were possible. “Some kids never thought they could achieve greatness. When they sign their college scholarships they are overwhelmed and break down crying and that does something to my heart,” he stated.
Once a Timberwolf always a Timberwolf. Coach Glen, who raised two children as a single father, says his players who have become fathers themselves tell him ‘I’m doing what I saw you do.’
“Kids need hope” said Coach Glen “and somebody to keep them motivated.” Coach says, “I am that person.”
The community father expressed, when murder and violence happen, the first thing people say is that the kids don’t have anything to do. Coach Glen contends that this is not true. “My organization is saving lives. We need more people willing to help.” He pushes back that it’s not enough to say our kids don’t have anything to do. He suggests to everyone, “Just be willing to help. Be willing to help save them.”
Among those positive influences who are willing to help are the Timberwolves coaching staff Coaches Larry Williams, Aspen Hart, Lenny Zacks, Cheerleading Coach Shalonda Short, and Rachelle Smith, who handles all the paperwork.
The Berkley Timberwolves have a football and basketball team and can use the help of the community. Funds are always a major necessity. The Timberwolves have two vans that need repair. Some parents do not have transportation and prefer their kids not to walk to practice as a matter of safety. Many families cannot afford the registration fees. The team members are often seen out in the community fundraising.
One solution Coach Glen has implemented is through the Timberwolves Landscaping, Hauling, and Trash Removal for Kids, a business that is teaching the youth work ethics and helping them earn money to pay for their registration fees.
If the community would like to support the Berkley Timberwolves contact Coach Glen (757) 337-9798 or visit www.berkleytimberwolves.com.