Photo by Beau Bearden.
KINGMAN – The most important thing for a football program is stability.
That doesn’t always happen when a new coach takes over, but luckily the Kingman Academy High School football team has an easy transition with John Morgando taking the reins of the Tigers.
“There is a lot of continuity, which is what you want,” Morgando said. “So the kids aren’t having to learn a lot of new plays and a new system. There aren’t really any new coaches. We’re bringing on a couple of new guys, but other than that it is coaches that the kids are familiar with.”
Morgando was an assistant for Academy last season and former head coach Dan Stroup always told him that he was the man for the job.
“Coach Stroup has been very helpful,” Morgando said. “We’ve been talking about this for a little bit. He’s always had that bug in my ear about it – ‘if I go, you’re the guy that I would expect to get the job.’ He’s been trying to help me realize what the job entails. From all the fundraising and the organization. That more so than anything is the hardest part moving from assistant to head coach.”
While only time will tell how the transition goes, he has full support from the players. They are familiar with him and that was clearly evident Thursday during the Tigers’ final spring practice at Southside Park.
“Coach is sticking with a lot of the same stuff we’ve been doing, which really helps,” Trevor Lowry said. “Of course, we all know him. He’s been our assistant coach for a while. It’s not a big change. We’re not worried about it. We all like him.”
That bond will no doubt pay off and that’s exactly what Morgando wants to create for each and every player who dons an Academy jersey.
“I want it to be a positive experience – I want the kids to have fun and be safe,” Morgando said. “But we’d like to win – winning is part of having fun. That’s what we’re working towards too – getting that buy-in would be great.”
The Tigers are well on their way to reaching that point and Morgando knows he’ll have some extra help from a familiar face.
“We talk pretty regularly and we’ll probably continue to talk pretty regularly,” Morgando said of Stroup. “He’s helping out a lot – giving me ideas of what he thought would happen and I kind of say where I think it is going. We have a really good repertoire. That’s going to continue.”
Morgando also expects Stroup to continue to keep himself updated on how the Tigers fare in the 3A West Region.
“I think he’s going to keep tabs,” Morgando said. “He is still on the Hudl account, so he’s still going to watch and see what we’re doing – make sure we’re doing it all right. But he’s going to be keeping tabs on us. He wants us to do well.”