I often see High School football coaches that are taking over teams new to them, saying on these various football forums; “My handprint on the program won’t be felt for 5 years”. Those are the words of a football coach that has very little confidence in his coaching abilities and someone that sounds like they really covet their head coaching job. Turnarounds do not take that long, they can be immediate.
Don Markham, one of the all-time great High School Coaches coached football at 8 different High Schools and compiled a 303-105-1 record. He won early and often every place he coached at and he coached at places no one had won at previously.
Running an offense very similar to mine (we borrowed a lot of ideas and methods from him), Coach Markham runs just a handful of football plays; trap, power off-tackle, sweep, inside counter and a play action sweep-pass. His 1994 Bloomington High team set a national scoring record of 880 points in that 14-0 season. The interesting thing about the 1994 Bloomington squad was, it went 1-9 the previous season with nearly the same kids, but a different coach. After Coach Markham left Bloomington, they immediately fell on hard times again. I don’t think coach Markham or other successful coaches feel it takes 5 years for their “handprint” to be felt in a program, they all believe they can win right away and often do.
At the college level Lou Holtz has coached all over the place, he has never taken over a football team with a winning record. Yet every team Coach Holtz has coached has gone to a Bowl Game in just the second year at the school. So much for the 5 year plan. Just last season bottom of the barrel Rice University, fresh from another hapless 1-10 season, had a winning season and went to a Bowl Game under first year Coach Todd Graham. Bob Stoops took over a losing Oklahoma program that had won 3 and 4 games in the 2 seasons before he got there, including a 73-21 loss to Nebraska. In coach Stoops first season they went 7-5 and in his second they went 13-0 and won a National Championship. Over on the Rice Baseball front, Rice had not won a conference title since 1910 until Wayne Graham took over. With Graham as coach Rice won 12 consecutive conference titles, went to the College World Series 7 times and won a National Championship. He did it all with decrepit facilities, extremely high academic standards and just partial scholarships that require the student to pay a huge portion of their own tuition at this expensive small private University. Coach Graham mind you won 5 National Juco Titles before he landed at Rice. Did he win at Rice and San Jacinto right away? Of course, all the good ones do.
At the Youth Level these turnarounds are even easier to engineer. Unlike the College Teams you don’t have to recruit the right kind of kids to fit