CHS looks for new head football coach
After four years as the head football coach at Carbon High School, Jeff Blanc decided to step down from his position last month, according to CHS Athletic Director Ted Bianco.
In a phone interview with the Sun Advocate on Wednesday morning, Blanc said his decision to step down "wasn't easy" but that it was "the right time to do so".
"This was something that I always wanted to do," he said. "I just felt if there was a time to step down, this was the time to do it."
Blanc finished his four-year head coaching career at CHS with an overall record of 6-33.
Blanc took over for former coach Leo Paur in Jan. 2010. Prior to that, Blanc coached along with Jeff Cisneros with the sophomore team for one year where they went 8-3 and also spent two years coaching at Mont Harmon Junior High.
"We really appreciate his hard work and effort as a head football coach for Carbon High," said Bianco. "Jeff and the rest of his staff always put the kids first."
While he also cited spending more time with his family as a reason for stepping down, Blanc said with some big new changes about to happen, a new coach may help provide a fresh start.
With ninth graders from Mont Harmon and Helper JHS set to begin attending schoolat Carbon High, Blanc said the development of the freshmen program would be vital to the success of the program over the next few years.
"Having the freshmen at the high school makes a huge difference," Blanc said. "Almost every team we've played while I was coach were in that situation where they had freshmen teams. Now with ninth graders at the high school, it will be a key to the program going forward."
One of the biggest difficulties the Carbon High football program struggles with is getting enough students to participate. Most often Carbon High would have anywhere between 35 to 45 players compared to some opponents that would have over 80 players in their program. With the plethora of activities and sports available for students to chose from, it becomes hard to attract a squad to compete against other region teams.
"There's so many things that kids can participate in today," Blanc explained. "Football's not an easy sport to play, but the new coach will have to work hard to encourage kids to come out and participate."
Blanc said the fact that he did not teach at the high school while also serving as head coach may have hurt his ability to try and get as many kids involved with the football program. According to the job description for the position, the new head coach would coach football as well as serve as a Social Studies teacher at the school. The job posting closes on Feb. 21.
But for all of the players available to play football, developing talent is a time consuming assignment that requires work year-round. Cisneros, who has coached with and against Blanc dating back years, said a head coach no longer works just during the season. Instead he needs to make sure the players are working all year to get ready for the start of the season.
"Football is a very time consuming job and there's not a whole lot of down time," Cisneros said. "Jeff had a passion for football and he put in a lot of time working hard as a head coach throughout the years."
Add in the paperwork that needed to be done, working through eligibility and grade issues and it creates a lot of work not just on the football field.
"There's a lot of stuff that goes on behind the scenes that a head coach needs to do," said Blanc.
As for a new coach coming in, Blanc said they would need to be very dedicated to improving the program, be available to the team throughout the year and focus on doing the little things including those long days and nights in the summer leading up to the start of a new season.
Despite dealing with plenty of struggles, Blanc said he was proud to be able to work alongside great young men who worked hard to improve over the seasons.
Memorable moments include winning his first game as head coach against Monticello on Aug. 20, 2010. Carbon took a 13-0 lead and held on to defeat Monticello 13-6 on the road, which snapped a 25-game losing streak.
Another memorable moment came the following season when Carbon High started the season 4-0, their best start in over 50 years. There was an excitement in the program that things looked to be turning around. Unfortunately for the Dinos, they would lose their final five games of the season including some that came down to the final quarter.
"The 2011 season showed that it's possible that Carbon High can have a winning program," said Blanc.
Cisneros said Blanc helped to turn around the attitude of the program during his time as coach, but it was a monumental undertaking after suffering through many losing seasons in the program's history.
"It's difficult to change that attitude around the program but Jeff worked hard to fight that," he said.
While his time as coach came and went, Blanc said he pleased with the hard work everyone involved put into playing the game. He is now looking forward to seeing things from another perspective this coming season.
"It was a great run at Carbon High for me," Blanc said. "I look forward to being one of the loudest fans in the stands from now on."