The Team’s Dream

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adfkhg;. kjfg. SWETHA NAKSHATRI / PHOTO

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Last March, former Head Coach Kevin Wright resigned to take up the same position at IMG Academy in Bradenton, FL, according to Athletics Director Jim Inskeep. Inskeep said Wright had been contacted by IMG a few weeks prior to his official resignation on March 29 and decided to take the new position after thinking about how it would affect his family.

The current Head Coach, social studies teacher John Hebert, also said his family played a role in his decision. Prior to Wright’s resignation, Hebert had been the defensive coordinator and linebacker coach. Hebert said the support of his family allowed him to step up to the role of head coach, which he had been thinking about doing for some time.

“I was born in Carmel, and, you know, I’ve just been coaching for a long time, and it just felt like the right time for me to take this step. Of course, my family supported it. That was probably the most important part of it—my wife, my three kids,” Hebert said. “I’ve been thinking about this for probably four years, and the opportunity came up.”

When Inskeep made the announcement of Wright’s retirement to the team, Mac Stewart, center, long snap and senior, said it was a surprise.

“It was the week before spring break. They all called us down after school, and they basically just, all of a sudden, told us that coach Wright had quit, and then they didn’t have a whole lot of information for us at that point,” Stewart said. “It was a little sad, knowing that he was our coach, and I think the worst part was that he wasn’t there to tell us goodbye, so a lot of us (felt) like he had left (us), but we were also happy that he was able to get such a good position.”

Even with the change, the team still has the same goals, focus and drive that they had before. Inskeep said he is excited about the focus of the athletes because even on the day he announced Wright’s retirement, the team still had the same goal of winning the state championship. Hebert agreed.

“Our goal is always to win the State championship, so we’re (going to) state that one early, and I don’t think there’s anybody in our program that doesn’t feel the same way. That’s not an abstract for us, but I think people are ready to make that a reality,” Hebert said.

To become the new head coach, Hebert went through an application and interview process. Inskeep said the applications, consisting of a letter of interest and a résumé, were due on April 20. From there, Inskeep screened the pool of applicants down to a smaller numunnamed-1ber so a committee could conduct the first round of interviews. After the first
round, a few more candidates were cut, and Principal John Williams and Inskeep held a second round of interviews and chose the Hebert as the new coach, announcing the decision on May 1.

Inskeep said there were a few main qualities they looked for in a new head coach.

“A lot of guys know football and can coach X’s and O’s, but the two things that are most important to us are to be kid-centered, to really have a focus on the experience that a student-athlete has in the program, and the second part is just that leadership quality,” Inskeep said. “You’re talking about a large staff of 23 coaches. There’s a lot that goes into the leader of that program and the peer relationships that they have within the staff, and lots of times the way that goes has a big bearing on what goes on the field as well.”

Since Hebert has been an assistant coach on the team for several years, he has developed the peer relationships and experience with the program that Inskeep was looking for. Hebert also said, however, he does plan to make some changes to the program.

“They’re not the kind of changes that are (going to) be groundbreaking,” Hebert said. “But, you know, little points of emphasis, things that matter to me and the other assistant coaches that maybe we didn’t do before. For instance, we plan on playing so-called ‘c-games’ in our junior varsity schedule so more of our players can play in games.”

Stewart said he doesn’t expect too much change, but he is looking forward to seeing what Hebert will do as the new head coach.

“The coaches (kind ounnamedf) said that we can’t expect it to be the exact same because it’s a new coach, but I feel like especially for the first couple years, they’re not going to just completely change it because we’ve been to the state championship so many times,” Stewart said. “I’m personally looking forward to seeing what (the new head coach is) going to do, and I’m looking forward to seeing if we can get back into the state championship, new coach or not.”

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