As a first-time head coach, Valley View’s Curtis King has had quite a lot on his plate this summer.
Not only is King taking over a program that had a disappointing previous year by its standards, but he has been tasked with implementing a new offense and defense along with getting to know and evaluate a fresh herd of players.
“It’s been a continuous evaluation of the kids and what helped this year was because we could do football activities,” King said. “The UIL rule really benefited every coach out there and every school but for me personally, I didn’t know these kids because when I was here before, all these kids were in elementary school. So I’ve never seen them before. I got to watch them here and in 7-on-7 and then we practice for 30 minutes a day for two hours a week, so it’s huge.”
The Eagles just wrapped up their seven-week summer conditioning program and King said the level of commitment he saw from the athletes was inspiring.
“The kids who showed up work extremely hard and that’s what impressed me the most,” King said. “We had a kid, Ethan Moore, who rode his bike almost every day about five miles. He had a long way to go and he rode his bike five miles a day, stayed for the whole workout and a rode his bike home. And at one point, the summer just got too hot to ride his bike and his parents dropped him off. He rode his bike home, but it’s things like that which impress me.”
King is always stressing the importance of working hard during the summer and he is glad they are embracing his messages.
“I want kids here who are blue-collar type workers who will get their hands dirty,” King said. “It’s about going to work hard regardless of other factors. I thought he was a great example of that.”
The Eagles have a youth football clinic coming up next Monday through Thursday.
The clinic will be for incoming sixth graders to incoming ninth graders and while Valley View would normally open the camp up to a large age range, King said it was important for he and his new coaching staff to get to know this group of players.
“That is by design for this year and next year it will open up to younger kids,” King said. “For this year, we’re still getting the coaching staff established and I haven’t seen some of these guys coach before. It’s kind of a chance for me to evaluate coaches on a smaller group as well. I’m still teaching the coaches my offense and we will put in a new defense this year and so it’s kind of a chance to work with them as well.”
With two-a-day practices less than two weeks away, King knows there’s an urgency in the air, but he also isn’t getting too far ahead of things.
His goal is to be ready by the first game of district play against Collinsville.
“I think we’re bringing all offense and new defense, but you can only do what the kids can handle,” King said. “My expectations are [high], but it’s gonna be an ongoing process. I’m onto the day that I want to be ready and that is Oct. 11. We won’t be totally ready for our first game, but we will have the entire offense installed and we will have the entire defense installed. And we want to make adjustments every week.”
Patrick Hayslip can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter at @PatrickHayslip