Q&A Football Coach Andrew Sims:

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VR: Where did you coach last and what is your experience coaching?

AS: “I have coached a lot of different places, most recently was at Leavenworth high school, and prior to that I coached on the Missouri side at Liberty High School and Excelsior Springs High School. I was the defensive coordinator at Leavenworth and turned that program around. I have always had a knack for turning programs around. I was a head coach before that at Excelsior Springs, we were 1-9 and had about 20 kids in the program and I helped turn that program around we had over a 100 kids and had a really good record and made the playoffs. Before that, I was a college coach as well at Central Missouri, 19-6 as a defensive coordinator at that level. I was also a college strength and conditioning coach; I ran the conditioning program for all sports.”

VR: What class(es) will you be teaching at North?

AS: “I’ll be running the weight program. It is going to be a new system, it’ll be more of a high performance comprehensive program for all athletes. We have an athlete development program and it is not sports specific, it is to build up the total athlete. At North, we want to be great at everything, and we want our football program and our weight program to reflect that same vision that we have for the math department, the social studies department, reading department and everything.”

VR: Could you talk a little bit about what your goals are as the new coach?

AS: “Number one thing right now is I want to get a chance to know all the students and work on building those relationships. I want to get to know all the students and see what they can do, then we can formulate all the football stuff around that. I want the students to know that I am in this whole process with everybody to make their high school experience the best possible, whether they are on the football team or not. On the field we have some specific goals, obviously we want to win more, that’s always a given, but we need to build our numbers up; we also need to establish an identity.”

VR: What do you mean by “establish an identity?”

AS: “What we want our offense to look like how we want to play games, how aggressive do we want to plays games. Do we want to be the team that never quits, never gives up? Those are the type of identity things that we are looking to change.”

VR: Last year, the team had very low numbers. What steps are you going to take to increase the recruitment and numbers of the team seeing as there weren’t that many kids that came out and played?

AS: “If we had a bunch kids in the program, we would win more games, [But on the other hand] if we won more games, we would have a bunch of kids in the program, so the best thing to do to get kids into programs is understanding how much fun its going to be and really how I [as a coach] am, how I run practices. Nobody likes to be a part of any sport where practices are so extreme that you don’t have fun. That’s the reason we do anything, because we enjoy it. Yeah we are going to win, yeah we are going to have success, but through that process, let’s have fun doing it.”

VR: Many parents were very vocal about the new coach starting the recruitment process at the younger level. What steps will you take to increase the recruitment starting at the middle school level and really get kids from that age excited and eager to join the team?

AS: “I look at it just like I am a middle school player. If I have always played football and down the road I don’t have a lot of choice – I know I am going to be at that school, if that program is struggling, maybe football is not for me in high hchool. So, I want to go in there and make them feel welcome, it’s number one that I welcome them into the Mustang community and foster those relationships. I’ll be at the youth football games, I’ll be at the middle school football games. The students know the coach that is in it for themselves and the coach that really cares about [the student] as a person and the dreams that they have, and I have always been that coach.”

VR: Earlier this year, the parents and students had meetings about what qualities they wanted in a football coach. They wanted someone with charisma, integrity and passion. What qualities make you a great football coach and will help you foster some confidence about the football program?

AS: “I hope a lot of players see themselves in me. I am not the most talented football coach –  there are a ton more talented football coaches out there – but I think I work extremely, extremely hard. I think that work ethic was something established in my family growing up. I grew up in a rough situation as a kid, and from day one, that was something that my mom always instilled in us is that no matter how hard life is or where you are going or what you are doing, the one common thing that we would always have in our family is that we are going to be known as hard workers, and I have taken that approach into coaching. No matter what the score is or what we are doing, we are going to be hard working, and I want our kids to be the best at everything; I want them to compete every single day.”

“I want to be the best dad out there, the best husband, the best coach, the best teacher, and that’s what makes life fun for me. I want my players to have the same attitude, if it’s in the classroom be the best student, if its on the field be the best, be a good friend, it’s the family atmosphere I want to create, I want all students to know that they can always come to me.”

VR: A major concern parent’s had about the hiring of a new coach was that they were organized and had great communication with the community. What will you do to meet those expectations?

AS: “The biggest thing when it comes to parent communication is that you have to be very organized, and I am. I am very type-A when it comes to that. I have our schedule planned out for the next two years. The best way communicate is through social media; I want to develop a really quality website and all those resources need to be available. I utilize Twitter, Facebook, and the website so all the details are out there. If there are issues, I will always be available to give me a call and sit down and plan things out and be a part of that process with them.”

VR: What will you do in terms of offensive and defensive game plan to fit the personnel we have at North?

AS: “The number one flaw that a lot of coaches make is that they think, here’s my system, plug kids in, and that may not fit that kid’s skill set. What I do is first start to evaluate [the players’] skills sets, then I wrap that defensive game plan and that offensive game plan around them. Now there are certain characteristics [that are consistent]. Defensively it’s all about heart, it’s all about effort. Offensively, I want an offense that’s fast and that’s explosive. We want to have a ton of fun with it.”

VR: Another concern for many parents was that a new coach may tend to focus on the newer kids and forget the seniors who have put years into this program. What will you do to make sure that the seniors are valued and also a focus?

AS: “That is not my approach. The number one thing I am going to do here in the next month is I am going to go and visit all the seniors; I am going to visit with them individually and their parents. This is their senior year, let’s make it the best senior year that we can. If we win a ton of games, that’s awesome. If we don’t, it’s still going to be awesome [for the seniors] in that we are going to use [the seniors] to build the program; they deserve a ton of respect. Hopefully we get more seniors to come out, anyone that is interested in playing that wants to go out one last time, I want to make sure that’s the best possible way.”

VR: Attendance to the games and overall school excitement about football was very low last year. What will you do increase excitement and attendance in our football program?

AS: “I think you lead by example. It’s pretty selfish to think it’s football so everyone should be out there when in turn I am not at everything else, so that’s the number one thing I do, I want students to be able to see me everything else. You’ll see me at basketball games, you’ll see me judging at debate tournaments, I’ll be at a lot of school functions so follow my lead and come support the football program. It’s important to get out to the community that this is our school, this is North, this is community that we are in, and we want you to be a part of that family with us and come out and celebrate with us every Friday Night. That’s the one unique thing about football, it brings everyone together.”

VR: What are your next immediate next steps as the coach of North football?

AS: “Number one thing we are going to do is reimage our program; we are going to start building websites, we are also going to have some new uniforms on their way. [I will be] getting out to all the school events because everyone wants to know who is this guy and what’s he about. It’s about building those relationships, and it’s up to me to build those.”