An assistant's creed: Long hours, low pay, big rewards
Oct. 25, 2010 at 5:25 a.m.
BAY CITY -- A colleague of John Launius once figured out they were making about 15 cents an hour.
The salaries of head coaches in Texas often make headlines. Assistant coaches don't face the pressure or the demands of head coaches, but they work just as hard and for much less money.
Launius is in his first season as the offensive coordinator at Bay City, after spending the previous three years as the offensive coordinator at Trinity Valley Community College in Athens.
Launius teaches three classes at Bay City, which is less than coaches who aren't coordinators, and receives a teaching salary along with a coaching stipend.
Launius usually arrives at school at 7 a.m. and doesn't get home until 7 p.m. or later. He also works on weekends and sees his wife, Keri, daughter, Morgan, and sons Myles and Ayden in passing.
"Once the season starts, which is basically the end of July and hopefully you go to the playoffs, you don't even think about it, but you really don't have a day off until the season's over," Launius said. "You're going to come in on Saturdays and you're going to come in on Sundays and if you have an open date you slip off and go scout. That's why most coaches are bad golfers because you've got to put the clubs down during football season."
Launius isn't complaining and appreciates Bay City athletic director and head football coach Robert Blackmon making allowances so his assistants can spend as much time as possible with their families.
"We work for a man who believes in getting your work done and then go see your family," Launius said. "It's a good thing for us and as long as you've got your work done, get out of there and take care of your family because it is very busy. I've only seen two of my son's ball games this year, he plays on Saturdays and we're usually working then. So it can be tough but at the same time it's very rewarding. We know we're in the kid business and that's what we do."
Although there are no typical work weeks, Launius breaks down what he does on a daily basis.
"All the assistants come in at 8 o'clock and we go ahead and start breaking our film down. We'll watch and grade our film. As an offensive staff we go in one room and the defense goes in the other. We're usually anywhere from 2 1/2 to 3 hours by the time we get through grading, making the adjustments, mistakes, personnel and things like that. We try to take that morning to finishing up on Friday night. Our kids come in at 10 o'clock and they'll lift weights and then we'll go out conditioning and get the soreness out and they'll come back in and we watch the film as a whole. We usually have the kids out of here by noon. We cut them loose and we go back in the film room and make sure we've tied up everything and talk about personnel from the night before, injuries, what changes we need to make and then we go ahead and start breaking down the opponents film. We're usually done by 3 or 3:30 and go home and spend some time with the family."
"We come back at 2 o'clock and finish up our film and finish up our game. The amazing thing now is there is so much that can be done on computers. We've got the DSV and most people have it. So you can watch it at home, you can steal some time when you put the kids to bed and you can grab some extra hours there and watch some more film and that's what most of them do and try to stay ahead of the game. We usually stay to 5 or 6 or however long it takes to get your scouting report, get your game plan for the week, get your practice schedule and things like that."
"Monday's a big teaching day because we're trying to put the game plan in. During athletic period we bring the kids in and we don't dress them out and we'll watch the scout tape. We go over our scouting report and we go over our opponent's personnel. We teach from paper and we teach from film. That way when we hit the practice field Monday afternoon and we're doing this teaching new plays or new concepts and now they've got a pretty good idea. They were able to watch them on film and they know this left tackle's going to be a huge kid and this kid's this and this kid's that so when they take the field they've got a pretty good idea of why they're doing this and why we're doing that. The freshmen go at 3 and the varsity we usually get on the field at 4. We'll still go 10 periods on offense and 10 periods on defense and a good bit of special teams. It's a lot of teaching, fundamentals and basics. We're going to go to about 5:30 and then we'll come in and probably get another weight work out if we can."
"Tuesday's pretty much the same thing except there's a little more popping and a little more pad work. We use the same schedule."
"We start cutting back on Wednesday. We go out and go about half that time. It's more of a team setting. Any special plays and anything we have to go over again. They start getting their legs back on a Wednesday."
"When we hit the field, it's the shortest day obviously. We basically go over all the special teams phases. We go over anything that can happen in a game -- a quick turnover and have to come out from your own 1, a goal-line situation. We do those things on Thursday and a lot of your coaches have to leave for JV games or freshman games. Coordinators usually stay back with coach Blackmon and make sure we get everything taken care of."
"We just get them mentally focused and ready for the game."
Mike Forman is a sports writer for the Victoria Advocate. Comment on this column at 361-580-6588, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.