Q&A: York Tech coach Charlie Troxell
Each year, it seems a number of York-Adams football head coaching jobs become available after the final whistle of the season has blown.
Unfortunately, it also seems as if York Tech is an annual participant on the coaching carousel.
This year is no exception. The Spartans hired a familiar name to lead the program in an effort to bring some much-needed stability to the position.
On Jan. 28, the school’s Joint Operating Committee hired Charlie Troxell to fill the vacancy.
Troxell takes over for Brian Hanson, who did not have his contract renewed after his only season at Tech.
Hanson went 2-8 last season and the decision not to rehire him was a controversial one, with a number of parents, players and assistant coaches voicing their displeasure about the decision at a JOC meeting in November.
Troxell coached the Spartans from 2002 until 2004, making him the last coach to have a tenure beyond two seasons at the school. During his last stint, Troxell’s teams posted a 2-28 record.
Multiple-win seasons aren’t the norm for Tech. The school has won more than three games just once since 1994 — a 6-4 mark in 2009. It’s only division title came in 1976 when it shared the York-Adams Division II crown with Spring Grove.
York Tech is the third York-Adams school to find a new head coach this offseason. Kennard-Dale recently hired Christopher Grube, and New Oxford approved Greg Bowman in January.
Three schools — Eastern York, York High and Central York — are still searching for their next coach.
We caught up with coach Troxell to get his take on returning to lead the Spartans:
What were some of the biggest factors in your decision to return to the Spartans?
“I felt I had an obligation to the school because I’ve been there 14 years now. (Troxell teaches history and economics at the school). And I love the school,” Troxell said “ I love our kids and I’d just like to make a contribution hopefully to our football program. They deserve that.
“It really came down to our administration and the progress we made scholastically. It’s not Vo-Tech anymore, its York Tech. We have a lot of great kids, and I guess maybe I have a duty in a way to show that to the county and our own kids. I’d like to build their confidence a little more.”
How will you draw on your previous time with the program, and coaching in general, going into this stint?
“Experience is one thing. Experience of working at the school. The first three years I was there, I didn’t know what to expect honestly.
“The big thing lately has been the change in our administrations, in our goals and what we want to do in the school and what we’ve accomplished so far. That kind of support helps me to look at things in a little different way. To be honest, I think I’m a lot more mature than I was the first time around. And a little bit more wisdom really helps in this situation.”
What is the biggest change you’re looking to make with the program?
“The culture. It seemed like every time something goes wrong it was like ‘Oh, here we go again.’ And I want to kill that attitude.
“Trying to take something that hasn’t had a lot of success and make it successful. The best way to do that is to get out there and do it. It starts with efficiency in practice.”
What are some positives surrounding the program that you’re looking to build off of?
“I’m looking forward to our staff. Being around the school is important, I think it’s important we have teachers on the staff, because that has not been the case for a long time there.
“They are outstanding with the young kids and what we need to do at that level is get people ready to hit the ground running when they’re sophomores. They’ve done that last year. And as much as you would sometimes like to have a person on varsity, you need staff like that on the freshman level.
“It takes special coaches to rig those pieces together, to play as a team and to go from there.
“Stability is another thing I am looking for, I think this is an opportunity for all of us to build some stability. I want to see us come together as a team."
Troxell also was excited at the opportunity to utilize some facility upgrades that have taken place since his last period at the helm.
“We have one of the best weight room facilities of any of the places I have been.”
What is one of the hardest things about trying to make York Tech into a winner?
“The lack of a winning tradition, and we're not expected to win, and I think sometimes our kids get into a mindset that results in playing half a game. One or two things start to go bad and the score starts changing. And I think that’s the confidence and the mental discipline.
“One of the things we want to work on is leadership within the team itself. Not everybody has to be a senior to be a leader. And I think sometimes those kids not being together through midgets and junior high hurts, we don’t have that.
“But if we do a good job coaching we can overcome that. That’s why I’ve been very particular in who I hire.
"Another thing I am looking at is, here I am taking on a job like this when most other people are getting toward retirement. But I am excited about it.”
Any immediate plans for new offensive or defensive systems? Or will you wait to see what personnel you have first?
“From what I’ve seen, the offense will be different. I’m not a gimmick person, I am a person that wants to take good people and get them to the point where they can execute.
“I like the ‘I’ (formation) personally, and I like the option, always did, but not the triple option.”
“I’ve seen the talent here and the ‘I’ would be a good idea. It’s not that I would force a system on somebody, but I think a fullback gives you an extra blocker at the point of attack in a lot of cases. You can play action off of that, and I like to be able to do that.
“As far as the defense goes, I don’t want to change that.”