Maybe I should just keep my mouth shut. Of all the coaches I have tried to convince to go to The System, none actually have. There sometimes is some interest, and I'm holding out hope for one of them actually to follow through with it, but I'm 0-for-life in making this happen.
That doesn't mean other coaches don't see the benefit of this style.
Take Greg Turcott, for instance. The men's coach at Shoreline (Wash.) Community College, he is all in for making the switch in the 2011-12 season. I've exchanged a couple of e-mails with him and his excitement is completely genuine, I bet he has a lot of success with taking the plunge. His father, Gary, coached at Carroll College from 1990-2009, so he obviously grew up in the business.
The Dolphins (nice mascot!) were 13-13 last season, including 6-10 in the Northern Region. Coach Turcott was kind enough to take the time for a quick e-mail interview while on vacation last week. See, I told you he's enthusiastic! Here is what he had to say, or write:
(Tell me about your decision to go with The System.)
Coach Turcott: "I started to become interested in the sytem after watching a special on ESPN about the Loyola-Marymount team of 1989. I had watched that team play as a youngster and really loved the style. We started playing much more aggressive and uptempo as the year went on and I was amazed at how the game really opened up for our players!"
(How would you describe your offense and defense previously?)
Coach Turcott: "I have been a real fundamentals-first, ball-control, defense-first coach and have had success but also have had lots of conflict with players and never felt real good about the spirit of our teams."
(How did you come across The System?)
Coach Turcott: "After seeing the special I started looking into more on Loyola Marymount and Paul Westhead, and it led me to the Grinnell system and a coach I knew from years ago, Gary Smith who coached at Redlands. Coach Smith was really helpful to me as I got into the whole concept."
(As you learn more, what are some surprises?)
Coach Turcott: "That The System is really pretty simple if you are willing to keep it simple as a coach and do not try to micromanage your players and The System. I am surprised at how successful some players are in the new System that really could not contribute in a more conservative and ball-control style."
(What type of things have you done to education yourself on The System?)
Coach Turcott: "I have watched several tapes done by Paul Westhead on the system and then read the book done by Gary Smith and (Olivet Nazrene women's coach) Doug Porter, which is really good. I have also talked with coach Smith, and contribute to the run and gun (message board) as much as I can. Really good info on the (message board) from coaches who have done this for a while!"
(With whom have you shared the plan, and what was the reaction?)
Coach Turcott: "Shared it with administration, players, and coaches as much as I can and everyone has been supportive."
(What challenges do you foresee?)
Coach Turcott: "Players who really like the ball control, high percentage style of play are going to have a hard time with it at first but that is expected."
(What do you hope to get out of it?)
Coach Turcott: "A high scoring fun style of play that kids will really enjoy!!! Return the game to the players and the fans and let kids be aggressive and free to play and make mistakes in the name of uptempo play."
(Finally, from what you've gathered, what's the best thing about The System?)
Coach Turcott: "It creates a system for the kids to use their athleticism and skills in an uptempo fast pace that is really good for our level."
A huge thanks to Coach Turcott for his team, and I look forward to hearing more about his progress with The System.