The final domino has fallen.
The York-Adams League is again fully stocked with head football coaches.
The last opening was filled Monday night when the York Suburban School Board hired former West York offensive coordinator Jeremy Jones to become the new leader of the school’s gridiron program.
That capped a very busy offseason of sideline changes.
Jones became the fifth new head coach hired over the past several months in the 22-team league. The others are Eric Lam at Dover, Jon Scepanski at Northeastern, Jesse Shay at Red Lion and Matt Glennon at York Tech.
The men they replaced left for various reasons. Some were forced out. Others left of their own accord. But no matter the circumstances, the five new head coaches face a daunting task ahead of them.
That’s because high school football has changed drastically over the past few decades.
In the “olden” days, back before the district and state playoffs, high school football basically started with double sessions in the middle of August and ended by the middle of November. Just about every team played 10 regular-season games, and that was it. The only championships were for local league titles.
To be sure, there has always been pressure on high school football coaches. After all, it’s long been the single-most, high-profile coaching job at most high schools. But the pressure to succeed seems to have ratcheted up significantly since the postseason playoff era started back in the early 1980s.
Now, if a coach doesn’t consistently make the district playoffs, his job can often be in jeopardy. And at the more successful programs, the coach better win some championships, too, whether it be league, district or state crowns. Fans, administrators and school board members love to see that hardware in the trophy case and the banners on the gym wall.
In an effort to achieve those goals, coaches have been forced to develop programs that run all year long. There are weightlifting and workout sessions. There are seven-on-seven competitions. There are week-long summer camps. Some coaches even want to see spring practice, like the big-time college programs have had for years.
Back in the 1970s, before the playoffs became so important, offseason football conditioning wasn’t nearly so regimented. Coaches would open up the weight room about three days per week and hope players would show up. And at the beginning of summer, players would be given a running and conditioning program that they were encouraged to follow so that they could endure the rigors of double sessions without passing out, cramping up or losing their lunch.
That’s not the case anymore. It’s all in an effort to keep up with the Jones’s.
If you’re not doing all of the offseason work, you can be sure that your competitors are. In short order, you’ll fall behind those same competitors, you’ll start to lose more games and you’ll soon be an ex-head football coach.
Besides working hard all year long in an effort to produce a winning program, high school football coaches are also charged with making sure their players stay academically eligible, while also keeping their noses clean on and off the field. Many coaches are also strongly encouraged to get their players involved in the community, through charitable works.
Finally, coaches are also expected to be men of high character and integrity. They must be teachers and mentors and leaders of young men.
For all that, most local head football coaches earn a whopping salary between $4,000 and $10,000. When you consider the hundreds — or even thousands — of hours required to run a successful program, that works out to be well below minimum wage on an hourly basis.
That’s what the five new York-Adams League head coaches have signed up for. You don’t need to feel sorry for them. They know exactly what they’re getting into. They’re doing what they love to do. Football is in their blood.
But it’s still a daunting task.
So, if you run into any of the five in the community, you may want to wish him good luck.
He’s sure to need it.
Steve Heiser is sports editor of The York Dispatch. He can be reached at email@example.com.