Anacortes High School’s new head football coach hit the ground running last week.
Andy Haynie, sporting a purple polo, drove 64 miles from Monroe High School, where he teaches physical education, to meet with more than a dozen football team members and Athletic Director Rick Mergenthaler in the AHS PE classroom May 1.
Haynie wanted to meet the squad and send a clear message that he expects hard work and year-round commitment from his team.
In return, he promised more wins and more fun playing the game.
The School Board is expected to make Haynie’s hiring official later this month.
Haynie will follow Bill Evans, who stepped down last fall after leading the Seahawks for three years.
He took over a team that was 1-9 in 2008. His 2009 team was 3-7, then his 2010 squad made a run to the quarterfinals of the state playoffs and finished 8-4. Last year’s team was 4-6.
Haynie set two goals early in the meeting: defeat Burlington-Edison and win the Northwest Conference title.
“Success will come with a lot of hard work — from all of us,” he said.
That hard work will come in the form of four-day-a-week summer practices, a progressive eight-week pre-season weight lifting program, summer camp at Evergreen State College and the commitment to perfect a half-dozen offensive running plays.
“That’s our core,” Haynie said. “The key is that we’re good at what we do, not that we do everything.”
On offense, Haynie said the team will stick to a traditional pro-set formation, with a tight end on every play. The setup lends itself well to running plays, but leaves a pass option open.
“Sometimes, if we’ve got ‘em, we’ll run two tight ends,” he said.
When the players asked Haynie about defense, he said their bread and butter will be a flexible 4-2-5 defense that can easily be adjusted against passing and running plays.
“We can slant, we can angle, we can twist,” he said. “We’re not a team that says, ‘I’m gonna blitz every time.’ You lose that way.”
Haynie acknowledged he’s asking a lot from the boys, but he also recognized there’s more to life than football.
He encouraged them to go on family vacations in the summer and try out for other sports during the year, making the most of their high school years.
“What’s important,” he said, “is that when you’re here, we’ve got you.”
To drive home the importance of off-season preparation, Haynie made the announcement — met with muffled gasps and groans from the players — that on the second regular season practice, the team will run 16 timed 100-yard sprints.
Haynie knows he has a lot of details to learn from the players as well. He started at the meeting by asking who was our big rival (the boys told him Burlington-Edison), and he asked the boys to lead a cheer to end the meeting.
A full team meeting and kickoff night is penciled in on May 24, with spring practice set to begin a week later.
Mergenthaler encouraged the players to get on board with Haynie’s plan and invite other students to try out for the team. He was Sumner High School’s basketball coach when Haynie headed the football program there and said Haynie can deliver.
“He wants to take this football team places it hasn’t been in a long time,” he said.
Haynie said when he took over at Tyee High School in 1992, the football team hadn’t won a game in four years. His last year as head coach, they went 7-2.
He was head coach in Sumner for a number of years, but left to spend more time with his daughters as they played sports of their own.
He served as an assistant coach for several schools since then, most recently at Bothell High School. He said those experiences made him a better leader.
“It was a great experience to take a step back and see how some other coaches run things,” he said.
Now that his girls are grown, he said he’s ready to bring his full attention to making Anacortes a successful program.
Haynie will commute from Monroe. He said a flexible afternoon class schedule will allow him to leave early and make it to Anacortes by the time school lets out.
Haynie lives in Snohomish, but he said he’s been looking for an excuse to relocate to the Skagit Valley. This summer he plans to move somewhere between Mount Vernon and Anacortes.
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