If the NFL ever calls, Ty Storey will be there to answer.
But the now-former Western Kentucky quarterback will take the training received during preparation for the next level and use it to help coach a younger generation.
He always wanted to be a coach, if the NFL didn’t pan out. His one season at WKU was good enough to offer a glimpse of hope at a late-round draft selection or a free agent pickup. But Storey is like many who are in a holding pattern amidst the coronavirus pandemic.
Storey is back in Arkansas preparing to start a career teaching and coaching junior high football and basketball. But if an opportunity opens up, he’ll be ready.
“Most football players’ dream is to play in the NFL and that’s been a dream for a long time now,” Storey told the Daily News in a phone interview. “It’s still maybe an option if I get that call, but I’m not holding on to it. At the end of the day, I’ve had a good career if I do have to hang it up.”
The quarterback who transferred from Arkansas and led WKU’s turnaround from a three-win team to a 9-4 record and a bowl win spent the winter and early spring training in Dallas with hopes of an NFL call. Storey took a realistic approach and assumed he would have to take advantage of a rookie minicamp shot in order to make a roster.
But the pandemic came and put all those plans on pause. Storey is in a waiting period like his former teammate Lucky Jackson. The wide receiver told the Daily News on Thursday he’s still working out to stay ready for any tryout that may become available when professional sports resumes normal business.
Storey is back home in Arkansas now and was recently named the head coach for the seventh-grade football and basketball teams at Grimsley Junior High School in Centerton, just outside Bentonville.
“Teaching is a good opportunity to reach out to kids and mold them,” Storey said. “I obviously want to be a football coach and that comes with it. It’s something I feel like I can definitely do. … It’s a great place to start and I know in times like this, I’m pretty fortunate to keep coaching there, especially with people losing jobs and there’s a lot of question marks about football season in general.”
Storey went through a number of offensive coordinators during his four years at Arkansas and his graduate transfer season with the Hilltoppers. The Charleston, Ark., native was named the starter in the fourth game of 2019 after Steven Duncan suffered a season-ending injury. Storey led WKU four straight wins and highlighted his season with a sensational performance in a 45-19 win in his return to Arkansas.
He finished the season with a 69.9 percent completion rate, which ranked fifth in the country and first among Group of Five quarterbacks. He finished with 2,567 passing yards, 276 rushing and 21 total touchdowns against seven interceptions.
Storey said he has about four playbooks between Arkansas and WKU. The offense he ran under head coach Tyson Helton and offensive coordinator Bryan Ellis is one he would mimic if he was creating a playbook for himself.
“It’s been great to see different leadership styles,” Storey said. “There’s a lot of good stuff we did with his offense. If I was able to call plays right now and do what I wanted, it would be very similar to what we did at WKU.”
Storey is focused on getting his coaching career going in his home state, but recognizes the shot at a lifelong dream isn’t worth passing up if the league calls.
“It’s a hard time on everyone and it’s a weird situation that no one understands really because it’s never been done before,” Storey said. “We’re still waiting, but at the same time I did take a job and I’m excited about this chapter of my life, for sure.”