Tyler Gold knows more than he likely cares to know about rebuilding high school football programs. Gold has had to build back a program that was 0-10 and now tackles the challenge of doing it again.
The Fort Myers, Florida native returned his high school alma mater, Evangelical Christian School, back to the Florida Class 2A playoffs this past fall, where the Sentinels finished 7-5. It was his sixth season as head coach and athletic director for the faith-based private school in his hometown.
But Gold also knew the 2018 year was going to be his last one there, having resigned from the job in November without any permanent new home determined. Then, Northpoint Christian School came calling.
Gold said he had felt a calling to leave Fort Myers with his wife and family and take on a new challenge, somewhere.
Northpoint had started the advertising process of its head football coaching position, made vacant with the resignation of former coach Chris Cascio after an 0-10 season last fall.
When the connection was made between Northpoint and Gold, Head of School Jim Ferguson said he was very intrigued by the application.
“We had about a 45-minute phone conversation and I knew he was going to be high on my list,” Ferguson told parents and players at Gold’s introduction at Northpoint Tuesday evening. “He coached this last season and took his team to the playoffs and said, ‘I’m really trusting God for this next decision.’ That’s the kind of answer I liked right there.”
Gold was selected from four finalists and about 60 applicants to lead a Trojans program that made the TSSAA Division II-A state championship game in 2015 but has struggled since then.
The new coach looks forward to the rebuild.
“I know about going 0-10 before and when you do that, you’ve got to get back to the roots and get down to the foundation and be doing things the right way, which is leadership, take care of the kids and making sure they walk with God in the right way,” said Gold. “From a football standpoint, you’ve got to back to the basics and work your way back up. We’re going to focus on that, practice hard and lift hard. We’re going to be hard, smart, and tough.”
Offensively, Tyler Gold-coached teams should look like a pro-style spread formation that balances passing and running the football.
“We (ECS) have been the number one offense in terms of yards in 2A in Florida last year and we were ‘50-50,’ so we rushed for 2,000 something yards and we passed for 2,000 yards,” said Gold. “That’s a perfect world if we’ve got all of the pieces, but that’s a perfect world, so we’ll see what fits around them and adapt.”
Defensively, Gold wants to get physical.
“We’re going to fly to the football and tackle well no matter what the scheme, whether it’s 3-4 or 4-3 or whatever it may be. We’re going to be physical,” Gold said.
The new coach has been on campus the past few days acquainting himself with the school, players and coaches. He said he is working on putting together his staff, with Ferguson adding there are plans to add a fourth full time assistant coach, where there are now currently just three.
Gold knows there will be some challenges ahead with talented teams in the West Region to play against.
“You look at the league that Northpoint is in and these schools are talented and well-coached,” he said. “I know Northpoint’s had some success in the past and and I’m excited to get going and get going forward.”
It was pointed out Gold will be in Southaven later in the spring to get spring practice underway, then finalize his family’s move to Mississippi during the summer. Plans are for Gold to teach government classes in addition to his coaching duties.
But when he is back on campus, Gold will know he scored high on the list with his new athletic director Barry Gray, as Ferguson related.
“I sent him to talk to coach Gray,” Ferguson said. “They pulled up their Hudl accounts, talked football and looked at plays and talked about what to call when and did a lot of talking football. I knew I liked him but then coach Gray came back and said, ‘On football, he’s nine out of 10.’ I don’t know what question you missed, Tyler, but when coach Gray said somebody’s a nine out of 10 that a high mark for coach Gray.”
Bob Bakken is Sports Editor for the DeSoto Times-Tribune.