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Episode 104: We Take to the Field with Talented Mountain Ridge High Football Players and their First Female Coach

They are amazing athletes off to an incredibly successful season on the playing field. On this episode of the Supercast, we catch up with the Mountain Ridge High School football team for an action-packed practice. And, we find out what it’s like to be the first female coach and defensive coordinator for the Sentinels.


Audio Transcription

Anthony Godfrey:
Hello and welcome to the Supercast. I'm your host, Superintendent Anthony Godfrey. The football players at Mountain Ridge High School are amazing athletes off to an incredibly successful season on the playing field. On this episode of the Supercast, we catch up with the team for an action packed practice, and we find out what it's like to be the first female coach and defensive coordinator for the Sentinels.

Coach Davis:
Down here guys, let’s go, let’s go!

Anthony Godfrey:
We're here at Mountain Ridge High School to talk with Coach Davis and a few players. We’re right here on the football field. Guys, introduce yourselves.

Football Players:
Introduce themselves

Anthony Godfrey:
Tell me a little bit about Coach Davis.

Player #1:
She's really nice to know. We love having her on the field. She's very positive to the whole team. She knows what she's doing football wise and she's just great to have around. Always positive.

Player #2:
She likes to kick our butts man, back in the summer conditioning. She knows how to work us, but she stays positive. Motivates us, helps us along the way. It's nice.

Player # 3:
For big guys like me, she's a, made me faster, taught me better technique with running. And I really appreciate that.

Player #4:
Likewise, she knows how to work us during the summer, during the conditioning. And I think that's helped all of us and she's always so enthusiastic. I think that really helps out our team.

Anthony Godfrey:
It's obvious that you have a lot of respect for her. Have any of you had a female Coach before in football?

Football Players:
No, sir.

Anthony Godfrey:
And so when you first came on what did you think?

Player #1:
You know, at first I was kind of confused, because football is mainly a male sport and so usually you don't see many females around. So first when I joined the team, I kinda was confused. But then once I got to know her, I knew that she knew what she was doing and that she was going to help us be the best that we can be.

 

Player #4:
I wasn't exactly sure what to think at first. When I saw her, I was like, oh wait, we got the girl coach. I didn't know what to think. And then I got to know her, came to practice and it doesn't matter that she's a girl. Girl, guy, it doesn't matter. She's a great coach.

Anthony Godfrey:
Well, I love that she's worked you hard. It sounds like she's taught you a lot too. Tell me something that she's taught you that you didn't know before.

Player #2:
Oh, definitely mentality like between reps, like telling yourself you can do it and like just not getting tired. She showed us in a workout. One workout, we had a bad mentality. We did the same workout and had a better one that felt so much easier.

Player #3:
I think she's definitely helped. Like I said earlier with speed and technique with our running it's helped a lot.

Player #4:
She's taught me a lot about being loud and how much just being loud and vocal at practice and our games, it just makes such a big difference.

Player #1:
She teaches us the mental part of the game. So being able to stay focused and stay positive and be able to have self-confidence really helps us elevate all of our game.

Anthony Godfrey:
You guys are 5 and 0 at the varsity level, that's really impressive. And it's impressive for a relatively new school. I mean, nobody builds a program this fast. Why do you think things are going so well?

Player #3:
I say good players and good coaches. We've had players that stuck it out since day one, going from 0 and 11 to last year having barely 4 and 5, I think. And then this year being able to have a good start. It's just all the coaches and all the players, just being able to keep going and have that grit.

Player #2:
Yeah, just the development. We've had a lot of players that started varsity, sophomore, freshmen, and juniors. So they've just had a lot of varsity reps. A lot of the schools you don't play when you're a sophomore, unless you're like really good. So just all that experience and all the good coaching just helps us, I guess.

Player #1:
I think when you start from the bottom, you can only go one way and that's up. And I think we're on the incline and we're looking really good this year. We're excited.

Player #4:
Kind of going off of why it said we've got a lot of experience on the team and stuff. And I think a big part of it is just work. I mean, we're out here putting in work every day. I think putting in that extra work has really made a difference this season.

Anthony Godfrey:
Well, I really admire you guys because I know it does take a lot of work and it takes a lot of grit and it takes a lot of time and dedication. I'm really excited for you guys that it's paying off. #1 so far and it's going to be a fun season to watch. So thanks for spending time. I'll let you get out there and do some of that work you just described. Coach Davis, that's pretty awesome to hear that from your players.

Coach Davis:
Yeah, it's pretty awesome.

Anthony Godfrey:
Thanks for spending time with us. I know it's a busy, busy time and a great season so far. Tell us about your background in athletics and what drew you to Mountain Ridge?

Coach Davis:
In high school I was a track athlete and that earned me a scholarship to run at Utah Valley. So I did run on the team there. And then after that I got into Coaching. I coached track at my old high school, West Jordan High School. And from there I got a little bit more experience and I was asked to coach swimming and then I was asked to coach cross country. So those are the three sports that I've coached before football. How I got into football is Coach Meifu. I coached him in track. I was a young coach and his coach told him, “You’ve got to get tougher. You need to be faster.” So he came out to the track team and he and I had a great relationship. He was the hardest worker I ever had and remembered him throughout the years.

He came back, and got a head coaching job at West Jordan. One of the Coaches said, why doesn't she come coach with us? And I just thought it was kind of crazy. You know, I've got all these other sports that I coach, but they talked me into it and I have never regretted that decision. It's changed my life. I feel like my personality is meant for football and my grit and determination and my competitiveness. I feel like I fit in right with the coaches. So I feel like I found a home.

So when Coach Meifu got the job here at Mountain Ridge, he asked me to come and I thought that was a great honor because he definitely had a chance to get rid of me and he didn't. So he kept me with him. And so I'm here and it's been an honor to build this program from scratch.

Anthony Godfrey:
It is a great honor for him to choose you when he's got to build a program, like you said, from scratch, from the ground up. And it's tough to do at a new high school. Obviously you're doing a great job as a coaching staff and as an individual, you're having a real impact on these athletes. Do you think football is where you’ll stay?

Coach Davis:
Well, I never want to quit it, that's for sure. We'll see what the years say to me. But I definitely feel at home here. And you know, a lot of these boys, I give them the best of me every day, but they are my family. And these boys are, this is my family and I let them know every day.

Anthony Godfrey:
I love that. Stay with us. When we come back more on the field with the Mountain Ridge High School football team and hear what the Coach is saying about the teamwork that's making the dream work so far this year.

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Coach Davis:
Get your hands on it guys. Get your hands on it. Stay on your feet guys.

Anthony Godfrey:
So tell me how a coaching staff is structured here and what's your role?

Coach Davis:
So my role is the sophomore defensive coordinator and I also work specifically with the defensive backs. So each coach here at Mountain Ridge, we have our position, we coach our position. We focus on that and we work together as a unit to make our whole program work. So we do have sophomore coaches and we, you know, we focus on our sophomore team and our new freshmen team that we brought in this year. So we've got 80 kids that we are in charge of just on the sophomore and freshman end.

Anthony Godfrey:
Just sophomore and freshman, that's a ton. And that's a great group of kids to build a program with. Do some of those kids see JV time as well?

Coach Davis:
Some of them do, our sophomores. You know, of course in football, you have injuries and throughout the season there's wear and tear on the body. So we'll send our sophomores up, you know, as things happen, the depth chart changes a little bit. So people come up and then they may come back. Our program is a progressive program, so we move up or, you know, you can stay in your spot and keep working at it. So we just problem solve along the way.

Anthony Godfrey:
What type of preparation has gone into every time you switched sports, when you switch from track to coaching swimming and to coaching football, what kind of preparation do you do?

Coach Davis:
Okay. So I do coach swim here at Mountain Ridge, and so those seasons slightly overlap and I just have to put things in their place. I learn to be a football coach when I’m at football and I learn to be a swim coach when I‘m at swim. So I really focus on those things and keep them separate. And I keep, you know, each program separate and the disciplines. So I just focus. It's the same techniques that we teach our kids. So you put in the work when you're there,  and then if you’ve got to change gears and do something else, then you change gears and do something else. So these are all skills that we teach our athletes and I apply them to myself. It's a very busy life though.

Anthony Godfrey:
No question about that. What are some of the reactions that you get generally? It is out of the ordinary to have a female football coach at the high school level. What are some of the reactions that you hear?

Coach Davis:
So in the beginning, when I was first coaching, a lot of people just thought I was a trainer on the field. And like from referees, they told me to back up and get out of the coaches box.

Anthony Godfrey:
You’ve had refs move you out of the coaches box?

Coach Davis:
I have had refs move me out, yes. So then, you know, I’m just getting in their face and saying “I'm a coach. I belong here”. So I think through the years, I think the community has gotten used to me being there. But I still do get some people surprised, “Hey, is like, is that a mom out there all juiced up?” “No, that's my coach.” So anyway, their misconceptions are there, but I think they slowly go away, but I don't focus on that. I just focus on our team and if I can get our boys to do what they're doing on the field, that's my focus when we're out there.

Anthony Godfrey:
So what would you say to parents of a student who's considering playing football?

Coach Davis:
I would tell them to highly consider it. For me personally, I had a football coach that changed my life and it didn't happen on the football field. It happened when I did track in high school and that football coach was our late Rick BoJack, and I love him dearly. It was the first adult I had in my life that believed in me. I needed that desperately and he changed my life. So when I'm out here, coaching football, I am thinking about him and what he did for me. I try to offer that for anybody that comes and plays football. This is a great sport. It teaches you to problem solve. You're not gonna win every single rep. You're going to get beat and you’ve got to get back on your feet. You’ve got to try again and you’ve got to fight and dig deep. So these are all lessons that we carry you through life. Football may not always be played in their life, but the problem-solving skills that you learn here are going to be the ones that you will take through your family, your jobs, any type of adversity that you'll face in the future.

Anthony Godfrey:
He's someone who had an impact on people. There's no doubt about that. What would you say to a women who are considering coaching in high school?

Coach Davis:
I have been asked that a few times by women and my advice is my own experience. So my own experience coming into football was I focused on my strengths. I knew what I could offer. I, you know, I'm a whiz with speed. I look at shin angles. I know what generates power. And as I came into football, I didn't understand a whole lot about the scheme of it, I had to learn along the way. But I did know what created speed, and I did know what created power and I did know change of direction. So I was able to take my strengths and put that into the game. And then I grew from there. So if there's someone out there that wants to coach the sport, female, male, whoever has a desire, look at your strengths, come in with an offering and give all you've got.

Anthony Godfrey:
It's obvious that these players really respect you. But I've also heard that they don't want to let you down and you really stretch them. Tell me about that and how you do that.

Coach Davis:
I coach from my own personal experiences. They may not know everything about my life, but I do know that working through problems and facing adversity can change everything. If there are players that don't want to let a coach down that's a good thing. They're out there doing their best and they want that praise. And I'm definitely able to give them that praise when things go right. If things go wrong, I'm going to be their best support. I'm going to let them know they can do hard things and they can get through anything and get back up on their feet.

Anthony Godfrey:
Having an adult in their lives that expects a lot of them, and when they fall a little short, knows how to get them there is very, very valuable. And that's why they spend the time and energy they do to be coached by you.

Coach Davis:
Well, I'm the lucky one. So like I said, these boys get me through a lot in my life. So I would say that goes both ways.

Anthony Godfrey:
When they look back on their football experience at Mountain Ridge, what do you want them to take with them?

Coach Davis:
I want them to know that they're loved number one. That all of us coaches love them as if they're our own kids. So they need to feel love number one, and always know that they can come back to us. They need to know that this home is their home and they can go on to colleges and, you know, create families. They are always welcome back. The biggest thing that I want them to take with them is confidence in problem solving and to keep fighting through things and to celebrate life.

Anthony Godfrey:
That's awesome. Thank you for all the time that you dedicate. I know it's just a ton of time, but it's obvious it's rewarding for them and rewarding for you and the results are there too. So congratulations on a great season so far, and I know great things are ahead as well.

Coach Davis:
Thank you.

Anthony Godfrey:
Thanks again. Coach Meihu first of all, congratulations on a great season so far here at Mountain Ridge.

Coach Meifu:
Thank you.

Anthony Godfrey:
And that's a quick build of a program.

Coach Meifu:
Oh, it's a work in progress.

Anthony Godfrey:
It always is, I know. I understand you were coached by Coach Davis. Tell me a little bit about that.

Coach Meifu:
Yeah, Coach Davis. She was my track coach. You know, I kinda got put in a situation in high school where I was told I either need to get faster or I needed to switch positions. And so I decided to join track and she helped shape me into a good player,  and definitely fixed that problem.

Anthony Godfrey:
And you obviously did not forget her because then you hired her at West Jordan. Is that right?

Coach Meifu:
That's correct. When you have somebody that improves your career so much, you know, you don't forget those people.

Anthony Godfrey:
Zo you wanted that benefit to be available to your players here at Mountain Ridge as well, and you brought her over here. Like she said, you had your choice, you have your pick when you're starting a program and you chose her. That's a nice compliment.

Coach Meifu:
Yeah, absolutely. One of our core values here in our program is all about trust and I bring on people that I trust and bring great value to our program. She was definitely a no brainer for me.

Anthony Godfrey:
I had the chance to talk with some players, and it's obvious that she's built trust with those players quickly.

Coach Meifu:
Yes, absolutely. I mean, again, that's what our program is built around is trusting one another. And yeah, she does a great job and they see the benefit too. I mean the year round stuff and the speed and agility, like they see it and you know, when they're getting value out of it, it's really easy to build that trust.

Anthony Godfrey:
She brings out the best in everybody.

Coach Meifu:
Absolutely, yeah. And she'll challenge them. You know, and I think they know that she cares too.

Anthony Godfrey:
That's a great combination. She cares. And as a result, she gets a lot of work out of them.

Coach Meifu:
Yeah, absolutely.

Anthony Godfrey;
Thank you, Coach. Congratulations on the season so far and we're excited to see what happens next.

Coach Meifu:
Appreciate it, and thank you.

Anthony Godfrey:
Thanks again. Thanks for joining us for another episode of the Supercast. Remember education is the most important thing you will do today. We'll see you out there.

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