Coach Chris Fore‘s Champions’ Locker Room series stops in Redlands, California for a chat with Kurt Bruich, head coach of Redlands East Valley High School, which won California’s Division II State Bowl Championship in 2014.
Bruich points out that when he took over the program 13 years ago, it was five years old and had won only one game in 49 tries.
Bruich was named CalHiSports.com‘s Coach of the Year after defeating Concord Clayton Valley 34-33 in December. It’s the same award that his father Dick won while head coach of Fontana High in 1989.
Below is an except of Bruich’s first-hand account of his program.
Kurt Bruich: When I first landed at Redlands East Valley, some 13 years ago, I realized that I definitely had my work cut out for me. The school was 5 years old and had an overall football record of 1-48. Every aspect of the program had low self-esteem, including the lack of focus on academics. Players were satisfied with maintaining a CIF eligible 2.0 GPA. I knew we needed to change everything about the program and had to establish some kind order to make this a reality.
I started by developing the program’s philosophy, which I have not altered much to this day:
- We are here for the kids. We must strive every day to make them better people- on and off the field. We must teach our boys how to be winners in life; which will make winning games seem easy.
- We must stress the importance of ACADEMICS, ATTITUDE & EFFORT. These are three absolutes in our program. We cannot let kids slide in any of these areas.
I am in belief that if every coach, player, parent, etc. is in full understanding of our philosophy, there isn’t much room for argument or debate.
If you ask any kid in our program what the number one emphasis is for REV Football, they will quickly spout out “academics.” I remind them daily that we are at school to learn and accomplish and there would not be high school football if there were no school.
We talk about a 2.0 GPA being great for getting athletically eligible, but a 3.0 GPA sets them up to be college eligible. This is what we strive for; the ability to further our future by having options after high school. This is also when I decided I needed to implement a reward system to ensure that our philosophy was being matched by our actions.