KINGMAN - One win out of 21 games the past two seasons told new Kingman High School football coach Cam Wierson he had a lot of work to do. Wierson soon realized he had to build the program from ground zero.
"As far as the kids are concerned, football season has started," Wierson said. "The days of summer being a time of playing video games, sleeping until noon and having lunch at 3 are over."
The coach has a roster of 45 players and he wants them for three hours a day, five days a week this summer in order to start turning the ship. The Bulldogs haven't had a winning season since 1999, and Wierson knows he has his hands full. That doesn't mean the coach hasn't revealed the big prize to the Bulldogs.
Wierson won a national championship on the football field with Northwest Missouri State in 2009, and the Bulldogs have seen his ring.
"I didn't come here to be a 5-5 outfit. We're building toward state championships," he said. "But we're starting at the ground level. I'm used to winning, and I've let them know what it takes if they want to win."
What Wierson has begun to instill in his boys is that hard work creates success. He's willing to put in the hard work, and what he needs is for the Bulldogs to equal his effort.
"I'm in there going to war every day, fighting every day," Wierson said. "They're going to have to jump in the boat and grab the oars. I'll be in back with the rudder and steering this thing where it needs to go. If they pull their oars, then we're going to be all right."
Along with last year's staff that Wierson has retained, he's brought some help with him. Troy Emrey is expected to be the offensive coordinator. Emrey comes to KHS from Lamar University. Greg Chastain from Kansas City, Mo., Smithville High School is the defensive coordinator. Chastain and Wierson previously worked together at Angelo State. Wierson has also brought in a strength and conditioning coach from Mississippi State, Lucas White.
Quality coaching will go a long way in bringing Kingman back toward a winning season, but Wierson believes it takes roots to keep the program steady.
"To get the stability, we have to get into middle schools," the coach said. "And we have to have the freshman and JV teams do the same things as the varsity."
Wierson is not promising a winning season, let alone a state championship in 2016. But he is promising more than what the Bulldogs have shown recently.
"We're going to be so much better than last year," he said. "Are we going to win football games? I don't know yet."