I wanted to reach out to everyone to introduce myself and give you a little insight into my philosophy for the Titans' football program.
2020 was a difficult time for many and I know it has affected us all in some capacity. However, I am a firm believer that when there is a dark time, light is right around the corner. I say this because I understand the struggle the Northview program has had at times. As a head coach, I have taken over programs that had low morale, low participation, and apathy towards football and even the school. I accepted the position at Northview to lead and build our program from the ground up. I live in the Johns Creek community so the Northview community is important to my family. This is a responsibility that I accept with eyes wide open.
I saw first hand how strong this community is during the 2020 Jr. Titan season. My son played for the Jr. Titans and know where we can take this program. Everything we need is here to be successful and I am going to do everything I can to see this happen. This is your program and I am honored to be your head football coach.
To give you some context, a little more than 2-years ago, I took over Chamblee Charter HS. It was a program that had lost consistently for almost a decade. Morale was at rock bottom and we had 18 players show up to my first meeting. The attitude surrounding the football program was one of doom and gloom. This included everyone involved from players to parents to our school community.
When we started spring practice, we were only in the high 20s but our young men saw that it was different. We continued to get more players out because it was such a positive experience for everyone.
Players talked about transferring, and some did. However, those that stayed saw the rewards as during the first season we improved every single week and ended a long losing streak that started long before I arrived.
We practiced different, coached different, and played different. We introduced an up-tempo offense that gets everyone involved. Our defense was an aggressive defense that allowed players to play. It was fun. By the end of the first season, we increased our numbers from 18 to the high 40s/low 50s. And, by the end of the 2020 season, we ended with almost 60 players, this despite COVID.
And, during the 2020 season (filled with adversity and ups and downs), the changes our players and coaches made the year before showed up on the field. We finished 2020 with a 6-1 record, the first winning season in almost a decade.
During my two seasons at Chamblee, we have 5 kids continue their playing careers at the collegiate level. And, there are another 10 or more that will have the chance to do the same in the coming years.
I tell you all this to say: This is your program and it is my responsibility to lead it in a way that you all will be proud of as members of the Northview family.
I understand the frustration and hesitancy to go "all in" with our program. However, I want to assure you of several things:
1. We are going to do things the right way. This means from the way we communicate with our players and parents to creating an environment that is fun and teaches valuable life lessons to how we build relationships on and off the field. Academics are a priority in doing things the right way, and our young men will understand
2. This is going to be a player's first program. I believe in building positive relationships. Everyone in our program is important. Everyone. Football should and will be a positive part of our players and parents lives. It provides so many opportunities to develop life skills and provide teachable moments that will help us all become better people.
3. Whatever, good, bad, or otherwise, that has been your experience is in the past. We are moving forward and starting from scratch.
4. Everyone will get plenty of reps in practice. I am a firm believer in active practice in which young men are getting tons of reps and practice time. This is the only way to develop and everyone in our program deserves an opportunity to get on the field. The only way to do so is to give every young man attention in practice. Players come to practice everyday and they have earned the opportunity to play. Some will play more than others, but especially at the JV level, every kid will get playing time. It is the only way to develop them as players.
5. Northview football is not a separate part of Northview High School. We are a small part of the bigger picture. Our football program is going to integrate into the school and seek to build positive relationships with the student body, faculty/staff, other programs, and our community.
6. Helping our student-athletes seek opportunities to play football at the college level is a priority. While I cannot promise a scholarship, I can promise you that our staff and I will do everything possible to get your son's film to colleges and get them to prospect camps so they can be evaluated. It is my responsibility to help in this area, and I will sit down with every player and parent who has a desire to play college football and see what opportunities are out there. I played college football, coached college briefly, and have developed strong relationships with many college coaches over the years. No high school coach can promise you a scholarship. But I can promise to make phone calls, emails, text messages, trips to colleges, and send film.
7. We will encourage everyone to play multiple sports. I know that some will encourage students to specialize. I think this is the wrong approach, and can tell you that college coaches agree and believe high school athletes should play multiple sports. You will never hear me say to a kid that he or she needs to focus on one sport. This is not what is best for the student or our school.
8. I am going to be visible. You will see me at baseball games, basketball games, soccer matches, wrestling, band concerts, volleyball, tennis, etc. I am going to be in the hallways working to build relationships with all of our students, faculty, and staff. And, I am going to ask everyone I come in contact with to play football. There are young people in the building that want to play but need to be asked or need encouragement.
I am asking all of you to give me a chance to coach your young men, and those who have left the program with a bad taste in their mouths, I am asking you to give me a chance. I really believe you will see things are going to be different and an environment where everyone is important.
Please feel free to email me with any questions or concerns. I know this is a lengthy email, but with the current state of the world, I believe it is the best way to reach out to you initially.
We are going to have interest meetings next week on Tuesday morning, March 30 at 7 am in the weight room. And, our booster club is in the process of setting up some Zoom meetings for our players.
This really is about you and I know it is going to take time, but I am in this for the long haul. I am asking for a chance to show you how it is going to be better.