Wednesday, December 10, 2003

Edgewood football coach finds community's support essential

Five questions with ... Steve Channell

By Sue Kiesewetter
Enquirer contributor

This regular feature spotlights an educator in the news. This week, contributor Sue Kiesewetter sat down with Steve Channell, head football coach and athletic director at Edgewood High School, which was defeated Nov. 28 by Avon Lake High School, 10-7, in the Division II state championship game.

QUESTION: Looking forward, what comes next for the team?

ANSWER: We will set our goal to (win the state championship) next year. When you have success, to continue to have success, you have to continue to keep expectations high.

Q: What has the run for the state title done for the community and how has that affected the team?

A: The magnet for the entire community is the school district. An athletic program or team can be a very strong unifying factor in a community, such as ours.

The kids are aware of the support and what it means to the community. That's not to put pressure on the kids in any way. That's meant in a positive way. When our kids pull up on a bus for a game and see our stands filled up, that's a huge factor for our kids. If our kids pulled up to the game or went out on the field and the bleachers (were) half empty, well that doesn't get the kid excited.

Q. Now that you've gotten this far, are you expecting more kids to try out for the team? If so, what are you looking for in a player?

A. Yes. It's very easy for a young man to talk about (joining the team) now, but when it comes August, that's when the truth comes through. There's an amount of work and commitment that's required in the off-season and if it's not there, it makes it very difficult to compete.

Q: How do you keep the focus with the players on academics?

A: We have grade checks throughout the season on an ongoing basis for our players. We have study sessions after practice for players who need that. We talk to our kids about the importance of the academic end of school and that's got to be taken care of first before any other activity can be pursued.

I tell them, "If you're not making it in the classroom, you're probably not going to make it on the field. You're not doing the job in the classroom, you've got a behavior getting in the way of success.''

Q: There's been a lot of talk about superstitions - both yours and the team's. What are they?

A: There's a group of them (players) that every Friday morning they have to go to Reds (for hamburgers) in New Miami. There's another group that every Thursday night meets at one of the player's homes and the parents would cook them supper as a group. When we have our team meetings, they would all sit in the same location.

When things are going well it's a mental comfort zone. You want to do everything that you can to maintain that. I wouldn't get a haircut until after the state game. My wife told me time and time again it looked terrible.


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