Julius Beauvais wanted to coach football . . . so he created a team.
“I moved out to Palmdale to start my own recording studio business and there was nowhere for me to coach,” said Beauvais, a former Cal State Northridge offensive tackle. “I tried to get on at the local high schools out there, but was unsuccessful.”
So Beauvais, 32, contacted a friend, Bo Brooks, whom he had met while playing semipro football in Burbank in 1990 and ’91.
Brooks has owned a semipro team in Ventura since 1989 and he gave Beauvais the rundown on how to join the Pacific Football League, one of 120 conferences in the American Football Assn.
Beauvais, 6-foot-4, 320 pounds, paid the modest league dues and held tryouts at Poly High in April and May. Seventy players came out and 50 made the roster.
“We had players from all over try out,” Beauvais. “We got players from other leagues and some guys still call and send us film. There’s plenty of talent out there.”
The expansion team is called the Dolphins, after Beauvais’ favorite National Football League team in Miami. And like Miami, the California Dolphins’ colors are orange and aqua.
The team practices three nights a week at Poly and uses Birmingham High in Van Nuys as its home field.
The Dolphins’ opener is July 29 at Birmingham against the Inland Empire Rams. Games are played Saturday nights and the season runs through the middle of November.
Other teams in the eight-member PFL are the Fresno Bandits, Los Angeles Air Rangers, San Diego Jaguars, Anaheim Quakes, Las Vegas Knights and Ventura Cardinals.
Beauvais provides transportation, food and lodging for road games. Each player must pay a $200 registration fee, which Beauvais says helps cover equipment costs.
“This gives so many players a second chance,” Beauvais said. “Those players that fall through the cracks, that don’t get drafted out of college, now have another chance to showcase their talent.”
PFL Commissioner James Baze says 65 players from the PFL were invited to pro tryouts in the NFL, Canadian Football League, Arena Football League and World Football League at the end of last season.
Thirty of them are playing professionally, most of them in Arena football, Baze said.
“The purpose of the league is to develop players that were not drafted,” Baze said.
Beauvais was grateful to have that chance when he played in the league after completing his eligibility at Northridge. Although he wasn’t good enough to play in the NFL, he wasn’t ready to give up football.
So he joined the now defunct Burbank Bandits for two seasons before injuring his back and retiring. The Bandits won back-to-back High Desert Championships, the AFA’s version of the Super Bowl, while Beauvais was on the team in 1990 and ’91.
Sports were always a big part of Beauvais’ life growing up in South-Central Los Angeles. He played football, basketball and ran track at Huntington Park High. He was on the football team at East L.A. College for two years and played at Southern University in Baton Rouge, La., for one season.
Beauvais became homesick and transferred to Northridge, where he completed a degree in sociology, and played his senior season.
When his football career ended, Beauvais coached the junior varsity team at Cleveland High and later was a co-coach at Verdugo High with Buzz Johnson for one season.
Johnson, his longtime friend, is the Dolphins’ general manager and defensive backs coach. Beauvais is owner, head coach and at times counselor to players.
He’s a trouble-shooter who is available 24 hours a day, whether he’s at his digitalized, state-of-the-art recording studio or in his car. Everyone associated with the team knows how to reach him.
“I love this,” he said before answering the cellular phone in his utility vehicle prior to a recent practice. “I love coaching so much, the year I was out of coaching, I was depressed. I didn’t watch a football game on TV because it was too hard.”
The Dolphins have a former NFL and CFL player coaching linebackers and defense.
Mark Korff, a 32-year old Kennedy High graduate, was a linebacker for the San Diego Chargers in 1985 after a solid career at the University of Florida.
He broke a leg after one season with the Chargers and didn’t play until he was signed by the San Francisco 49ers in 1987. After one season in the NFL, he played for the Ottawa Rough Riders in the CFL for 1 1/2 seasons before blowing out a knee.
“That was it for me,” said Korff, who runs a commercial contracting business in Van Nuys. “I’m doing this now because I love the game and I like to see these guys do good. These players are serious and very disciplined.”
Take George Murdoch, for instance. He’s a 6-7, 375-pound lineman whose goal is to play in the NFL. Murdoch, 22, played at Quartz Hill High and Antelope Valley College. He completed his collegiate career at the University of Nebraska, Kearney.
“This is a great steppingstone,” Murdoch said. “Otherwise I would have nowhere to play and I want a shot at the big show. This keeps me going hard.”
Others, such as quarterback Ed Blunt, have no aspirations of competing at another level. Blunt, a former Washington State quarterback, also coaches the receivers and backup quarterbacks.
Another player who is content in the AFA is tailback Carvel Avery. The 30-year-old exotic dancer didn’t play at a big college and sees the league as a way to stay involved with football.
Avery played only one year of junior college football before dropping the game. For the past five years he has competed on and off in the AFA.
“Football is my No. 1 love,” Avery said. “It’s in my blood. This is what I really like to do so here I am doing it.”
The Dolphins are supposed to begin practice at 6:30 p.m., but players start trickling in at about 6:45. A little after 7 they’re on the field in practice gear, ready to go until about 9.
“I understand when they’re late because most of them have jobs and they come from all over,” Beauvais said. “It’s not easy getting here sometimes.”
Beauvais is always early. An hour before practice, he is sitting in his car in the parking lot adjacent to the field. He just wants to hit the field and coach.
“It’s what I’m happiest doing,” he said, smiling. “It’s why the Dolphins are here.”