The Emerald Ridge (Wash.) High School football team went 0-10 last year, so it wasn't a huge surprise when almost 500 people showed up for a meet-and-greet with the team's new head coach. The surprise was that the new coach is actually five coaches.
Brian Anderson, Torey Donovan, Darren Erath, Troy Halfaday, and Adam Schakel turned in one application for the vacant head coaching position saying they wanted to be considered for the job as co-head coaches. Athletic Director Dell Dittus, along with Emerald Ridge's principal and assistant principal, decided five could be better than one.
"My first question was, 'Why are you doing it this way?'" Dittus says. "They replied they are stronger as a unit than they are as individuals. They said, 'By ourselves we are pretty much weaklings, but if you get us all on the same field with the same purpose in mind and let us do the things we do best individually, we will be a strong staff.'"
During its interview the group presented a portfolio outlining the areas each coach would specialize in. Erath and Schakel will be co-offensive coordinators, Anderson will be defensive coordinator, Donovan will be the line and strength and conditioning coach, and Halfaday will be the program coordinator and special teams coach.
"My second question was, 'Who will be the face of the program in terms of media contact, community relations, and speaking about the stuff outside the chalk lines?'" Dittus says. "Troy Halfaday stepped up and said he would be that face."
Dittus liked that all five are teachers and have coached in the district either at the high school or junior high school level. "A big positive is they are all educators so they understand the education process," Dittus says. "Hiring five coaches hasn't been done before. I have every confidence they will make it work."