Football coaches are naturally impatient, especially when it comes to winning. And Eisenhower coach Marc Marinelli is tired of waiting.
Heading into the school’s fourth year, sporting a 5-22 record, Marinelli thinks he has the best squad in the program’s short-lived history. It’s taken some searching for the culture Marinelli wants to promote, and setting the kids on a solid foundation to get them heading the right direction. He thinks all of that should finally pay off this season.
“We finally feel like, through the weight room, and things like that, we finally have a culture built where kids are going to compete, not only on Friday nights, but on the practice field and in the weight room,” said Marinelli, who is entering his third year as coach. “That has taken us two years of hard, hard work on our part to get the kids to understand how hard they have to work.”
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The weight room and the program Marinelli has installed have shown their effects, too. Last year, Marinelli thought he had about 11 or 12 kids who could start at the varsity level. Now, he says, there are 30. To develop the program, he pulled from his former jobs at Andale — where he was an assistant on a state-title team — and Hesston, as well as his assistant coaches.
“The No. 1 thing that has changed is when people look at us from the outside, it looks like our kids have been in the weight room now,” Marinelli said.
Wide receiver/cornerback Drake Damon, is going into his third year under Marinelli.
“It makes us stay on track, and work a lot harder. It really pushes us to get our new maxes, and go train harder,” Damon said. “I can basically read his mind now…. I can do something before he even says it, or the team knows what needs to be done now because he’s had us do it in the past.”
Marinelli thinks it’s is the best offensive unit he’s had.
“I am dangerously optimistic,” Marinelli said. “What we have to get over is that hurdle of not being successful in the past, and that’s the hardest thing for a coach to teach: not accepting that ‘here we go again,’ mentality. We want to get to the point where we’re not just competitive, but we’re winning those tight games, we’re beating teams.”