By DAVE HANNEMAN
PANDORA — Chris Myers has walked the sidelines many times when McComb traveled to Pandora-Gilboa for a football game.
But things will be much different when the Rockets host the Panthers in Week 2 of the 2014 season. This time, he’ll be the guy on the P-G side of the field.
“It will be weird. It will be different. And it will be exciting,” Myers said Monday night after the former McComb assistant was named Pandora-Gilboa’s new head football coach by a unanimous vote of the board of education.
“Obviously, I think they might be disappointed I’m not coming back,” he said of his former McComb coaching cohorts. “But we’re all buddies. They understand how this coaching thing works. You want to take the next step and if I know anything about those guys and if they know anything about me, they’re going to be ready to beat me and I’m going to try my best to beat them.”
Myers replaces Carey Arthur as P-G’s head football coach. Arthur’s 45-38 record in eight seasons included a playoff appearance in 2008. The Rockets were 6-4 last season and have had just one sub-.500 record in the past six seasons.
A McComb native, Myers was a two-way starting lineman on the Panthers’ playoff teams of 1999 (8-3), 2000 (12-1) and 2001 (12-1). He returned to McComb as a high school science teacher and assistant coach, focusing mostly on defense, after graduating from the University of Findlay.
“I played in coach (Kris) Alge’s spread offense when I was in high school, so I know how to pass block,” Myers said with a chuckle.
“I was always a McComb guy, so there’s always that thing about leaving your home town, leaving your home school. I hadn’t really been looking a lot (at head coaching positions). But I guess I wanted to take that next step. I wanted to challenge myself, see if I could go somewhere, you know, and build something.”
Myers has no etched-in-stone schemes for what offense and defense he will use at P-G.
“If I don’t have a guy who can wing the ball around, I’m not running the spread. I’ll find something else,” Myers said. “Being a defensive guy, I might play a four-man front one week and a three-man front the next. I might even play a five-man front at times.
“At this level of football, you have to adapt your offense as well as your defense to the kids you have. I always want to put my guys in the best position to win. I think that’s my job as coach.”
Myers also believes in a “sweat-equity” approach to coaching.
“I always say I don’t want to get outworked, I don’t want to get outcoached, and I don’t want to get outplayed. Those are my goals every year,” he said. “I’m real big about being hands-on as a coach. I lift with the kids, I run with them, I sweat with them. I think if they see you’re doing that for them, they will do anything for you.”
And, Myers says, that goes for the guys from the starting lineup to the backups.
“As an assistant, I’ve worked a lot with developing players,” Myers said. “Athletes are athletes. They can get better, they can get stronger, but they’re pretty much born that way. They are always going to be athletes. The guys you have to bring along are those guys who maybe aren’t going to be the superstars.
“I’ve worked with a lot of players like that. You probably don’t know their names. People probably don’t know what they did. But they worked their butt off for three or four years and they got to point where they weren’t great, but they were good and they played on Friday night.
“They weren’t the guys getting their picture in the paper or the guy everyone has a fancy-dancy nickname for. But you have to develop those guys and bring them along and make them better because there are a lot of guys like that, and how we develop those guys and how we do in the weight room and how we prepare make a big difference on Friday nights.”
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