For the last six years, East Bay High School’s varsity flag football team has been under the direction of head coach Benjamin Addis, with the program reaching new heights this year as they won a district playoff game against rival Riverview High School. Addis started with East Bay a year before he took over as head coach, and the program has not looked back since.
Addis always foresaw himself becoming a high school coach, with that dream becoming actualized after over two decades as a PGA golf professional. Addis is certainly familiar with the game, as he grew up playing football and served as the captain of his college’s flag football team, so he jumped at the opportunity to lead the program.
A self-described ‘old-school’ coach, Addis and his staff run a disciplined team where player leadership is encouraged greatly, as they stress being a player-led team rather than a coach-led team. Creating a bond amongst the players is something that Addis considers essential.
“I’m not so sure we do anything differently. There are a lot of great programs in our area. Our coaching staff truly cares about the success of our players on and off the field. I think that shows in our program. … Bringing the girls together to create a sense of family and purpose. High School can be very distracting and confusing. I believe we bring a sense of focus to our girls which helps keep them from getting ‘lost,’” Addis said.
Coaching at the high school level often presents itself with unique challenges that are not seen at other levels of sports. Players often deal with numerous struggles and stresses coming from off the field, and it falls on the coach to make sure the team is focused and motivated when they are on the field.
“I want them to motivate each other, to hold each other accountable. Playing is a privilege, not a right. I want them to take advantage of this opportunity. As I mentioned earlier, high school years can be distracting and confusing. Sometimes, keeping teenagers focused on ‘the mission’ can be challenging. Watching them mature and grow from being a confused Freshman to a confident young adult ready to start their journey,” Addis said.
Coach Addis runs a great program at East Bay, where players can feel truly supported and their growth on and off the field is fostered by a staff that truly cares about their well-being.