All high school football coaches are not created equal. Having worked with some of the best football coaches in the NFL, there are six essential criteria that I believe make for a highly qualified high school coach; organized, maintains discipline, even handed and fair, collegiate football experience, inspires others to become team leaders, and typifies qualities of a passionate teacher /mentor—all rolled up into one person.
Highly qualified coaches are few and far between—especially at the high school level.
For the last three months I have observed Coach Armstrong on and off the field, in the gym, and at social/political events as well. Here is what I witnessed first- hand;
- Organized: During the first week of practice I watched Tyrone working with players in the Rancho ROTC Gym. I was struck by his preparation and the way in which he led the inexperienced group. He knew exactly what drills to run and kept the participants interested and active.
- Maintains discipline: I also noticed that any latecomers to practice were told to run around the basketball court for about 20 minutes before they could join the rest of the group.
- Even Handed and Fair: The next few times I watched practice I could see that Coach Armstrong was gaining acceptance by the players. They did not hesitate to approach him and ask specific questions and no one was singled out for either criticism or praise.
- Collegiate Football Experience: As an Offensive Guard for the University of Oklahoma, Tyrone was part of a winning team that not only won the Big 8 Conference Title but beat Michigan in the Orange Bowl as well. As Rancho’s head coach he is able to draw on his memorable football experiences while playing for the Oklahoma Sooners and impart to his players what it feels like to be part of a winning team.
- Builds Team Leaders: It takes a leader to develop other leaders. I could single out at least three player/ team leaders within the first month that the young team had already selected as leaders. Solid coaching skills combined with the ability to encourage those who can lead come naturally to coaches that also are leaders.
- Teacher /Mentor: A successful coach needs to teach his players life lessons every time they are together with the ability to be a mentor as well when a player reaches out for help. Coach Armstrong has been a coach and U.S. government teacher for many years. That experience pays dividends both on and off the football field.
This is just the beginning of a long and difficult journey to reestablish Rancho’s football team as a competitive force in their division. But, with a coach as multi-talented as Tyrone Armstrong, they certainly have a fighting chance.
By Susan T Spencer former GM of the Philadelphia Eagles