After a short discussion about his role as a non-teaching coach, local businessman and former volunteer football coach Nate Weaton was unanimously approved by the FCSD Board of Director’s as the new head football coach for Fairfield High.
“I just brought up the concern because the more interaction a coach has with his student-athletes, the better, and I hadn’t seen that until it was explained to me that he has had a lot of involvement with the school and he plans on continuing that involvement which swayed my mind,” explained board member Kelly Scott who initially raised the question. “My concern, that was just a question, became a moot point once I found out what was going on,” continued Scott.
“I feel great,” said Weaton after the meeting. “I’m blessed, I’m lucky. It’s a great opportunity to continue to do what I’ve been doing for the past couple years and I’m excited to be around the kids and the coaching staff and I think that’s the best word to use is excitement for right now.”
“Nate and I have been friends for a long time and I know how he’s dealt with people before where his positivity is through the roof,” said boys’ basketball/golf coach Mick Flattery. “He knows how to delegate and as long as his coaches can coach, and we know they can, he’s going to let them coach and obviously he’ll have the final say but he’s put in his time. The first thing he asked me was what do I need to do to become a head coach and I told him to roll up his sleeves and do all the dirty work that all of the assistants have had to do and learn things. The good and the bad. Watch other coaches and see what you like. He’s got a lot of work to do, like anyone taking over a program but I wish him well and I know he will give his very best and I know Fairfield will be proud of the effort that he puts in.”
When did you becoming the head coach at Fairfield start to become a thought in your mind?
“A couple of years ago. I was part of the process when a very good candidate, Matt Jones, got the job and I think for my development purposes it was necessary to be part of a staff and I am not a career coach and it was a good way for me to get involved in the program and learn what I’ll be seeing. I’ve always known that it was something I wanted to do and if the opportunity ever presented itself and when Matt decided to step away for great reasons, it was a chance for me to sit down with my family and reflect and see if it was the right thing to do and we think it is. We’re excited.”
Talk about the concerns of you not being a teacher.
“Obviously in a perfect world, you’d love to have a coach/teacher. I don’t shy away from that and for whatever reason, there weren’t applicants that were both. For me, it’s how much time and talent do they have to spend in that particular area and in my circumstance, I’m lucky to have the time and desire and passion to want to do it and it was important for me to bring up during the interview process that a coach should be a part of their lives. You can’t just show up at 3:30 and expect to have an impact. You have to be able to have conversations that you can’t have on the football field. How are classes, what’s going on at home, is there anything I can do for you, these are things that need to be discussed in a non-competitive environment.”
What is your coaching/management style of the program going to be?
“The role of the head coach is to be the guy or gal at the top that surrounds themselves with great people, which quite frankly we’ve done. We have a great staff of assistants with a diversified wealth of knowledge. We have some guys that are strong in X’s and O’s, technology, organization and my job is to make sure that all of those pieces work in the right way and the kids understand where we are driving the direction of the program. It’s a we thing, not an I thing where I say this is how it’s going to go. My management style is certainly not to micromanage, it’s collective in nature, but there is a line. Once you seek the imput and see what needs to happen, it’s my job to say this is the direction we are going to go.”
Since the ideas and attitude start with you, what should we expect?
“I’m not going to give any secrets away, not that we have any, but I will say this, we’ve done a really good job over the past few years laying the ground work offensively and defensively and there are always going to be changes depending on the players. I don’t have an answer, I know what I like and what I want but I’m not going to make a dictatorial decision. I’ll sit around with my staff and watch a bunch of film and see what we did great and what we need to improve and put that on paper and then look at the kids and your style is going to change year to year depending on the kids. The basics won’t change, but the style will be based on personnel. My style is simple, I want to play really intelligent football and play fast. If you can educate a kid on what they are doing, that allows them to play fast and not think to much and that’s the ultimate goal.”
How do we widen the group of student-athletes?
“We have to give kids a purpose as to why they should be a part of what we are doing. We have to say, ‘we have a place for you.’ Not every kid is going to have a desire to play under the lights on Friday night. Some kids just might want to show up to practice and the weight room and be committed to the sport and the community and we need a place for those kids. We need to widen the net from fifth grade up so that by the time they are seniors we’re not weeding them out at a young age by being too physical.
We have to look at new age ways to play the game and when I played we were physical 5-6 days a week and today, some of these programs don’t have guys wearing shoulder pads more than a day or two a week.
We’ll look at all of those things and get the community involved and when you talk about getting more kids active and addressing safety, it’s a great way to get the community active and the kids excited.”
Bittersweet that Jackson won’t play for you?
“It was a great time to be able to spend with my son and I have two more coming up and it’s not why I’m doing it but it’s certainly a wonderful benefit.”
I know you weren’t born a Trojan, but good to be a Trojan?
“It’s great to be a Trojan!”