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Getting started as a high school football coach

By Knox Hargis

MTN Sports Reporter April 20, 2020

High school football coaches are some of the best mentors that a young man can have at that time in his life.


While it can be rewarding, it can be difficult to get a foot in the door to gain experience.


Former Shelbyville High School coach Justin Palmer knows exactly what he is looking for in an assistant coach to join his staff.


“The first thing I look for is to make sure you are a good person and someone I can be around for long periods of time in the film room, practice field and other things within the program,” said Palmer. “The second thing is that I need you to have some sort of knowledge about what you are doing which usually comes with prior coaching jobs.”


Palmer does understand that at some point individuals must actually get his or her first job to gain that experience.


“There are a lot of other options like mentoring programs,” said Palmer. “Start putting out feelers to schools you would be interested in and see if the coach can help you out in any way.”


Joseph Holzmer is a recent college graduate who just received his first high school coaching job as a wide receiver’s coach at Father Ryan.


“I did have some experience before this from when I lived in Mississippi,” said Holzmer. “I coached a youth team there while I was still in school and this past fall I coached the Nashville Catholic football team which helped a lot.”


Nashville Catholic is a junior high football program that is a direct feeder to Father Ryan.


“I am also in a scouting program that is run by Louis Riddick, a former pro scout himself,” said Holzmer. “This really expanded my knowledge of the game and allowed me to prove to the Father Ryan staff that I know what I am doing.”


While experience is helpful, being a former college player also has its benefits. Daniel Childs is the current Nolensville High School wide receivers coach and played college football at Maryville College.


“Being a former player is beneficial for a few reasons,” said Childs. “Number one you can understand what is going through player’s minds a lot of the time and be able to help them a lot.”


Childs also says that he can better help kids get recruited because of his experience and connections.

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