Black takes on double duty as teacher and coach

A season after going 8-4 (4-3 MCAL) and making the NCS Division 3 Playoffs under first year Tam Football varsity head coach Kevin Goyer, the 2010 season resulted in a 5-5 record (2-5 MCAL).  The season ended with no playoff berth, and a new head coach for the varsity football team.  Jon Black, the former freshman football head coach and current Tam science teacher, has accepted the position to become Tam Football’s next varsity head coach after Tam decided not to re-sign Goyer.

The Tam Administration was in charge of making the decision whether or not to keep Goyer for the 2011 football season.  The people involved in this decision included Athletic Director Christina Amoroso, Assistant Principal Chad Stuart, and Principal Tom Drescher.  “It was a site decision and as a site with our administration we decided not to renew Kevin’s contract and open up the position to anyone who’s interested,” said Amoroso.

According to Amoroso, the administration reviewed coach evaluations taken by the players at the end of the season, the tenure with Coach Goyer over viewing what they liked and didn’t like.  The administration thought that it was time for a change.  “We think that Coach Goyer did a great job,” said Amoroso.  “He’s very professional and he maintained our program, but we think that Jon Black can bring us back to where we were a couple years ago.”

“I appreciate you respecting my desire to not comment on the coaching change.  I do wish all the athletes the best of luck in the future,” Goyer said in an e-mail.

Varsity football players from the 2010 season had mixed reactions to the decision not to renew Goyer’s contract.  “I believe [the coaching change] will help the varsity team a great deal,” said sophomore and varsity football player Jonathan Wachtel.  “Coach Black knows what he’s doing, he’s an organized person, [who] has everything in order, and knows it’s going to take a lot of hard work to get there. It’s going to take a lot of commitment but we need the kids for that and he’s willing to do all of the work on his side and get weight room reservations.  All of the kids are going to try their best and hopefully we’re going to turn out better.”  Another Tam varsity football player from the 2010 season, sophomore Haynes Stephens, agreed with Wachtel on the decision to let go of Goyer.

“[Goyer] was more like our team mom than our real coach,” said Stephens.  “He didn’t really push us that much and he always was kind of babying us and asking us things that really weren’t related to football.”

Senior and varsity football player Ilan Green also voiced his opinion, even though he will not be playing on the team next year after he graduates.  “I agree with the school’s decision to not rehire Goyer because he just wasn’t a good fit for Tam.  His ability to keep us motivated wasn’t there, so we had to find it in ourselves to try and win games.”

Sophomore and varsity football player Jonathan Finkelstein had a different view on the subject. “I’m not sure I agree with [releasing Goyer].  He was a really nice guy.  He might have lacked some X and O’s, but he was understanding and a good guy,” said Finkelstein.

On the issue of the players’ responsibility for the firing of Goyer, Stephens thought that the players’ role was minimal, if there was any.  “We didn’t really give the effort that was needed to have a good season like we did last year.  It had to do with him not pushing us.  We went along with what he was doing, which was taking it easy and being laid back.”  Finkelstein and Wachtel thought that no blame could be put on the players.  However, Senior and varsity football player Demetrius Jetton thought that the players weren’t fully out of the clear.

“Yeah, [the players are responsible] a little bit.  We did have to do an evaluation at the end of the season,” said Jetton.  Amoroso said that the evaluation did play a role in the decision not to bring back Goyer, but that it was one of many factors.

In addition to Goyer, some of his former coaching staff will not return next season for personal reasons, and Black will be in charge of finding new coaches.  Black has already promoted Tam freshman line coach Mark “Rip” Ridley to become the special teams coach for the Varsity squad.  Black says that he’s found coaches that are committed to accepting a position; however, as of January 26, the only two varsity coaches listed on Tam Football’s website are Black and Ridley.  No replacement has been announced to who will replace Black as head coach of the freshman football team.

Black, father of current Tam varsity quarterback and Junior Graeme Black, got the job by sending in a letter of interest.  He was called in for an interview and the administration decided to hire him as the varsity football head coach for the 2011 season.

“He has a wealth of football knowledge,” said Amoroso.  “He has a way of getting kids involved, retaining them, and then teaching them the game of football…he’s earned their respect.  He respects his athletes and in return the athletes respect him.”

Players that have already had Coach Black as their freshman football head coach couldn’t agree more with Amoroso’s statements.  “All of our players know Jon Black, so we already have those existing connections with him,” said Stephens.  “It’ll be like going back to freshman year with him, just with more work.”

“Coach Black has been a prior coach of mine and I loved playing for Coach Black and Coach Rip,” said Wachtel.  “I had a lot of fun and learned a lot.”

“Coach Black knows football, period.  He knows every player in the program and he knows what we can do to win games given the personnel we have,” said Green.

“He is an on-campus teacher which is huge,” said Amoroso.  “To see your athletes every day, to make sure they’re going to their classes, they’re there on time.  The things that some coaches can’t do off the field, Coach Black can.”

A meeting was held on January 13 to introduce Coach Black to the football program.  At the meeting, Black addressed parents and players about what they can look forward to for next season in efforts to win more games.  “[There will be] more off-season training including speed and agility training and a comprehensive weight training program,” said Black.  Black cites the fact that there was no off-season conditioning program and that the offense was too complicated for the players, which he believes, led to the team’s poor performance in the 2010 season.

“Our coaches are committed,” said Amoroso.  “If the student-athletes are committed, then you’ll see some changes.”

Coach Black said that he can see Tam varsity football making the playoffs this year.  Black’s returning varsity players agree.

“I’m looking forward to working with Coach Black and getting a more structured program, harder to work towards one goal.  To win an MCAL title,” said Finkelstein.

Written by Rex Chinchilla. This article originally appeared in the February 2011 issue.