GOSHEN — Football coaching legend Vince Lombardi said, “Winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing.”
There’s a certain amount of pressure to win at every level of sports, even in high school. Just what does it take to build a successful program at the prep level?
The football program at Concord High School has enjoyed a stretch of 10 straight winning seasons since the Minutemen went 4-6 in 2003. Each of the past two seasons has ended with semistate losses or just one victory away from the ultimate goal of playing for a state championship.
Tim Dawson has been the coach of the Concord Minutemen for the past 25 years.
“You need a total buy in from the kids to the school to the superintendent to the athletic personnel,” the coach said. “I have always felt supported by the people above me at Concord.”
Keeping a coaching staff together is another important factor according to Dawson.
“Area football programs like NorthWood (one state title), Goshen (two), Penn (five) and Jimtown (four) that have been successful had coaching staffs that stayed together,” the coach said. “One of the best things about my staff is 80 percent of them are in the building at Concord. So when players see us in the hallways they are not only seeing a football coach, but a math teacher, a physical education teacher, a business teacher or a Dean of Students. They are seeing us as more than a coach. Great coaches are great teachers.
“Some coaches are getting out of the business but staying on as teachers so schools are going with more lay coaches. That has hurt a lot of programs around the state.”
Dawson wants his players to know his coaches are concerned about the players both on and off the field.
“We are teaching football, but we are also teaching life lessons,” he said. “The parents need to be involved as well. We have a ‘One Heartbeat’ philosophy at Concord and we always tell the parents they are a part of that heartbeat just like the players.