Updated Mon, Sep 19, 2011 1:51 pm
In the ultra-competitive TVC-Ohio race, most of the attention is given to the athletic abilities of the students who put on their pads on Friday nights. The amazing feats of athleticism, strength and speed are well noted and documented, and rightfully so. However, what about the behind-the-scenes action in the week leading up to the showdown under stadium lights? What about the person who is responsible for making sure the team is ready and able to perform at their top capacity to keep up in this always exciting conference? What is it like to be a head coach in the TVC-Ohio?
For starters, there is no single set formula for winning. Instead, a coach must be able to adapt to the strengths and weaknesses of his team, and design his system around those points. In the early weeks of this season, three teams, Nelsonville-York, Alexander, and Athens, have separated themselves from the rest of the conference, and seem to be on a collision course to face off in the final weeks of the season to determine the winner of this conference. At 3-1, Meigs also remains a factor in this race. Because of the close levels of ability on all of these teams, it is critically important that a head coach have his team ready to play by Friday night.
The work load that head coaches undertake to prepare their teams almost stopped this article from ever happening. After attempting to contact five head coaches of the six in the conference, only two returned phone calls, and only one interview was able to conducted with Meigs head coach, Mike Chauncey. He quickly said that the coaching staff has plenty of work to do.
“We use pretty much what every team does to get our team ready. We do a lot of film study to try and discover some tendencies in our opponent, and formulate a game plan around that which fits our kids. We start to implement that game plan on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday with some light contact. Hopefully, it all goes smoothly and we’re ready to go on Friday night,” said Chauncey.
The Marauders found themselves in an important showdown last Friday night when Minford came to town. The importance of every game is not lost on Chauncey, who commented that because of the competitiveness of this league, it is critical that he adapt his strategy to fit the abilities of his players. He said that a coach must stick to what he knows, but also be able to create variations of his style to put his team in the best situation to be successful.
Ever wonder what it’s like in a locker room, just before a team takes the field? Chauncey gave a brief glimpse into what he tells his team prior to kickoff. “I tell them to play with great effort and class. It’s also important that we stress execution.”
But, all in all, the job of a head coach goes far beyond X’s and O’s. It doesn’t stop on the field, in the weight room, or the many late nights spent analyzing film and devising strategies. A coach’s responsibility does not consist solely of what happens on the gridiron. Instead, a coach must not only be a motivator on the field, but off the field as well.
Chauncey summed up his duties like this, “I’m responsible for teaching young men not just football, but values that carry into their lives. Being a high school head coach is a job that is a privilege to have.”
When it’s all said and done, a coach’s legacy is not defined by wins and losses. He is not judged by how many points his teams scored, or how many championships they won. Instead, he is measured by the success of his athletes after they graduate. His glory comes in producing the future of society: Doctors, lawyers, educators, politicians and other world leaders. He is responsible for molding citizens who influence the population around them and become successful for themselves. People who are game changers on and off the field. That is, ultimately, the job of a head coach.