Brian Hanson is not going to low-ball expectations for the York Tech football team.
Despite the fact that the Spartans have enjoyed just one winning season in the last three decades, Hanson believes the program is a "sleeping giant."
Hanson now has the opportunity to wake that giant.
The 37 year old was named Tech's new head varsity football coach on Thursday. He replaces West York High School graduate Matt Glennon, whose unexpected resignation was announced on Monday. Tech athletic director Rob Caruso said that Glennon resigned for personal reasons. Attempts to reach Glennon were unsuccessful.
Hanson, who works in alternative education, said he was surprised by Glennon's resignation.
"I know how much he loved the kids and I know the time and effort he put into the program," Hanson said.
Glennon's resignation paved the way for Hanson to get his first high school head coaching job, which is something he always wanted. Hanson coached the Tech ninth-grade team to a 6-2 mark in 2013 and was promoted to varsity defensive coordinator a year ago under Glennon. Last year's Spartans finished 1-9 overall and 1-6 in York-Adams Division III. Glennon's overall record was 4-16 in two seasons.
"I'll be honest, I expect us to be a successful team," Hanson said of the 2015 Tech squad. "We were a junior varsity team in terms of experience last year. We couldn't have been a younger team. We were starting five or six sophomores and a freshman, and it showed at times in terms of the scoreboard. But we had a pretty good defense at times and the majority of those kids are back. We're preparing to be champions."
Tech's next championship would be the second in school history. The first and only title came in 1976, when the Spartans tied for the York-Adams Division II crown with Spring Grove at 7-3.
Hanson knows that getting his players to "truly believe" they can be winners might be a hard sell, especially considering the lack of success for the program through the years. But he said this year's team is "working harder than ever" in the offseason and that the "buy-in is there."
A diverse roster: Hanson expects 35-45 players on the varsity roster this season, which he said is about average for Tech. He believes the diversity of that roster will help the Spartans over the long haul.
"We get kids from all walks of life — rural kids, city kids, suburban kids. Typically, teams with that kind of make-up do very well. It's a positive trait of the program," he said.
Hanson knows one of the biggest obstacles he will face at Tech is the lack of a true feeder program.
"When you play Bermudian Springs and Littlestown, they have a good grasp of the expectations of the program and the schemes," he said. "Here, we have to teach them our culture. We do have a ninth-grade program that we take pride in."
Background: Hanson played high school football at Ephrata and graduated from Susquehannock. He later walked on as a linebacker at Pitt, where he played for Walt Harris, before playing and coaching in arena football.
Now he has the chance to mold his own program at Tech — a job he hopes to keep for a while. He will become the Spartans' seventh head coach in the last dozen years.
"The biggest goal is culture change," he said. "Success is sitting at the doorstep if we can become disciplined and accountable."
Tech opens the season on Saturday, Sept. 5, at home vs. Pequea Valley. The heat acclimation period starts Monday, Aug. 10, with the first full day of practice on Monday, Aug. 17.
Lots of turnover in York-Adams League: The hiring of Hanson means all of the openings in the York-Adams League have now been filled. There will be eight new head coaches on the sidelines this fall. Following are the coaching changes:
York Tech (Brian Hanson, replacing Matt Glennon), West York (Jeremy Jones, replacing Ron Miller), New Oxford (Jason Warner, replacing Jason Thurston), Delone Catholic (Corey Zortman, replacing Steve Wiles), Susquehannock (Steve Wiles, replacing J.C. Lewis), York Suburban (Andy Loucks, replacing Jeremy Jones), Dover (Wayne Snelbaker, replacing Eric Lam) and Spring Grove (Kyle Sprenkle, replacing Russ Stoner).
— Reach Steve Heiser at email@example.com.