Officially announcing his position as Head Coach of Gilmer High School, Principal Carla Foley held a small conference Thursday, December 15, to honor Casey Wingard for the position.
Speaking in front of the his students, the media, and other coaches, Coach Wingard touched on his plan to take Gilmer from just “the high school team” to “the program.”
FYN sat down with Wingard to discuss just what he meant with that. Highlighting his idea of a complete program, Wingard spoke about his desire to include and connect kids to football all the way from youth and recreation leagues to our middle school team and then the high school team.
When asked how he’d accomplish that, Wingard replied only two words, “Be Seen.” It’s not enough to just collaborate with coaches, he explained, you have to support the kids and be seen at these events, practices, and games.
Preparation is central in Wingard’s plans as he phrased it as “coaching the kids into learning how to play the game of football” because in the youth leagues and middle schools is “where championships are won.” In that same thought, Wingard stated he wanted to not only help the students transition, but his whole “program” to transition by getting with coaches of the other leagues to see how he can support those teams with coaches or equipment that he is capable of supplying.
Of course, fans of Gilmer Football will know the number of coaches we’ve gone through in the recent years. Principal Foley addressed the issue saying she was happy to have Wingard as he was dedicated to the program that needed consistency. GHS as a whole, Foley stated, was dedicated to that concept this year. She introduced Coach Wingard as the consistency the program needs. With that introduction, the players and students present at the announcement erupted into cheers for the Coach.
However, as our students have transitioned, so has our staff needed to adapt to each new coach and style. Wingard lauded the staff saying they have been very understanding that “it’s about the kids, and not about their individual needs and wants and goals, because it’s a program and it’s a higher need.”
As he was announced as Head Coach, Wingard took a moment to speak to the players present, asking them to help him with football and one of his biggest needs involved recruitment and getting more students into the football program.
The Coach also took a moment to address a question he said many were asking him, “What is your first order of business?”
Wingard answered to his players saying, “My first order of business is for y’all to pass your classes… I have to have you eligible for the spring.”
FYN went further to ask the Coach how his job teaching Social Studies affected his coaching? Wingard replied saying,
“If you’re a good coach, you’re a good teacher. If you’re a good teacher, you’re going to be a good coach. You’re still dealing with kids. I’ve got to teach a kid about Geography, Maps of the United States, or Southwest Asia. I’ve also had to teach kids about a 4-4 Defense and what to do on Offense, and individual techniques. So, if you can reach those kids and coach them up, it’s the same in a classroom. There is no transition. Good Coaches are good Teachers.”
Wingard will finish out his year on his current contract with the school according to Superintendent Dr. Shanna Wilkes, any transitions on that will happen for next year.