There is no doubt that this is one of the toughest blogs I’ve ever written. Last night I told my Surge OL that I wouldn’t be back with them this year. Previously, I’d told Coach Suggett. It’s been awhile since I’ve left a team that I had a great relationship with – probably 1993 when I left Westminster La Quinta for Fountain Valley. I loved the kids at La Quinta, it was just that Fountain Valley was such a great opportunity for me that I couldn’t “not” do it. The situation I’m in this year is similar….I can’t announce the new team yet (that will come out tomorrow or Friday), but it is a men’s team here in San Diego that is doing everything the right way. But more so than that, it has a culture already somewhat ingrained of a blue collar work ethic. These guys will put in the work to become great.
The best part of coaching is the relationships you forge, not only with your other coaches, but also with your players. I’m still friends with a couple of players from that 1993 La Quinta team. There are Surge players I’ve had the unique opportunity to coach a couple of for 5-10 years. I’ve watched them go from raw rookies to, in some cases, All American players. I’ve won multiple national championships with a couple. They mostly know what I’m going to say before I say it. Those are the types of relationships that you don’t leave without a lot of regret.
Plus, there are three second-year players that I’m really going to miss in their development. We had a great time last season bringing them along and I feel certain that a couple of them will end up being really good players. I’ll be watching from the stands, at the very least.
The Surge coaches and the good natured ribbing we indulged in will definitely be missed. When you’ve coached with someone as long as I have with Mike Suggett, Mike Vargas and Rashoud McCoy (on and off, mostly on, since 2003 for all of them) then you’re gonna miss them a bunch. Carrie Suggett, Andrea & Bill Grant and Will Harris are others that make the long days of practice bearable with their wit and humor.
This will in no way curtail my support for women’s football in general, or the Surge in particular. Nor do I see it as interfering with the RS Football Camp in November. I’ll be keeping an eye on what is happening around the league, and call it as I see it.
So, what exactly is the attraction of this new gig? Well, I wanted to see what would happen if I was “all in” with a men’s team from the very start. The last time that happened was 2010, and we had a pretty decent season. We were definitely outmanned at a few spots on both sides of the ball, but overall it was a fun season. Once I saw the Surge come into existence (rising out of the old SoCal Scorpions who I was with from 2003-07), I knew that playing for national championships again was something I wanted to do. That opportunity is still there with the Surge, but the desire to better myself as an all-around coach was too much this time.
In this case we’ve got very solid ownership, a good coaching staff and a great group of players to choose from (yes, we will probably be cutting some people that would otherwise like to play). That’s a rare combination. So in order to give us the best chance of success with everything that is in place, I felt I needed to concentrate on only the guys as the OC. I’ve got some new assistant coaches to get up to speed on my offense, and I’m still in a post-mortem analysis of things in last year’s offense that can be changed to make things more streamlined. I alluded to the high I get when creating and nurturing an offense here, so those that know me shouldn’t be too shocked about this move.
We’re going to start coaches’ meetings in January, then start off season weekly OTA’s in March. Twice a week practices start in May, then first games in early July. Last year we only had 8 practices before our first game, this year I want to have 16 in addition to the OTA’s. I took last season’s opening loss very personally, and that kind of thing isn’t going to happen again. Plus, we’re playing in a much more competitive league….we’re going to have to be hitting on all cylinders to win the league, and if we do, it’ll mean something. Whether we’ll play for a national championship or not, I don’t know. Considering that there are over 600 men’s teams across the country, I’ll settle for recognition in the Top Twenty. Then we’ll win it all in 2017.
That’s what is new with me!