by Larry Ham
The Reedley College Football team begins the 2010 season on Saturday, September 11. After taking over for Michael White last season, second year Head Coach Randy Whited will try to maintain the momentum of a 2009 season that saw the Tigers come within an eyelash of playing for the State Championship. I had an opportunity to ask coach Whited a few questions as he prepares his team for the season opener on the road at Foothill College in Los Altos.
Larry: Coach Whited this is your second year as Head Coach. Does it feel any different having the “interim” label no longer attached?
Randy Whited: Yes. This team is my team now; these are all players that I have recruited. Removal of “interim” is a sign of confidence that the leadership at Reedley College has confidence in my ability to do the job well.
Larry: You’ve been a coach at Reedley College for twenty years. Why do you enjoy coaching football?
Randy Whited: I enjoy mentoring young men. They come to us as boys and leave as men. Besides, where else can you wear t-shirts, shorts, and tennis shoes to work every day!
Larry: Many people don’t appreciate the special challenge of coaching JC football. You have a complete roster turnover every two years. How do you approach this challenge?
Randy Whited: Very simple. You have to continue to try and recruit better players than you currently have in your program, both athletically and character wise.
Larry: Many people think Defensive Coaches make the best Head Coaches. You came over from the defensive side of the ball. Do you agree with that notion?
Randy Whited: I don’t believe that makes any difference. We do believe that offense wins games; defense wins championships. So in that regard I do believe defensive Head Coaches have the right mentality.
Larry: One major change in your assistant staff this year is a new offensive coordinator and QB coach. Tell us a little about Coach Stark and what changes we may see on offense.
Randy Whited: Coach Stark is an outstanding coach with a great offensive mind. I have complete confidence in his abilities and will not micro manage the offense. Remember, I have had to defend him for 11 years; I’m glad he is on our side now!
Larry: With the high personnel turnover rate in Junior College football, I know you rely heavily on sophomore leadership. Can you identify a couple of players you’ll be looking toward for that leadership role?
Randy Whited: We are a very young team this year; I believe we will have some emerging leadership from our freshman. Currently our sophomore group is an outstanding group of good character guys, they make goods choices. Sophomore Linebacker Ben Jensen and Sophomore Center Tyler Healy are providing outstanding leadership for us.
Larry: I know from watching from the press box over the years that your family has been very involved in Tiger Football. Tell us a little about your family and your history at Reedley College. I know your number one supporter is your wife, Becky. Does she have a calming influence on you?
Randy Whited: This will be my 21st year at Reedley College; both my children graduated from Reedley College. Zachary punted for the Tigers and the University of Nevada-Reno, and Alyssa was the 2007-08 Female Athlete of the Year at Reedley College. My wife is a rabid Tiger fan, not sure she is calmer than I am!
Larry: What goals have you set for this team?
Randy Whited: Our Team mantras are twofold: PLAY “TUFF” and “Keep Grinding”. “TUFF “ has two meanings for us – Play tough and Team Unity Fuels our Future. If we are successful as a team, everyone will reap the benefits. If this team can internalize these things, the wins and losses will take care of themselves.
Larry: Your schedule this year includes some very tough road games. With so many inexperienced players, are you a little concerned about the road schedule?
Randy Whited: I am not concerned about our opponents, I can’t control that. We are only concerned about our daily commitment to getting better. We will be exciting to watch.
Larry: Finally, give our readers a quick idea of what they will see when they attend games this season.
Randy Whited: You will see a “team” that will play physical and fast from snap to whistle. We will be very athletic with very good team speed. It should be an exciting year! We hope to see the stands filled with “Orange & Black” fans!
I’d like to add that the Reedley College Football program has been built from nonexistent status in 1989 into a nationally renowned powerhouse, and much of the credit goes to Randy Whited and his innovative defense schemes. This team deserves Reedley’s support, and the support of the rest of the area as well! You can get a full 2010 schedule and hear a live webcast of every game on the Reedley College Website Go Tigers!
You can hear Larry in action this coming season as a commentator once again for Reedley College’s Tiger Football webcasts.
Kings River Life Magazine will be featuring exclusive interviews with Reedley College football coaches every month until the end of the season, as well as recaps of each game on the following Monday nights beginning September 13.