The 2016 football season is upon us. The Spartans play has been overall great. The 1-1 team is highlighted by a feared passing game and a new and improved defensive look. Much of the changes to the Spartan football team can be attributed to the new face of the coaching staff, head coach Dan Devine.
Coach Devine was hired this spring after serving as the defensive coordinator of Alpharetta for the past 5 years. He received both a Bachelor’s degree and Master’s degree from Gardner-Webb University where he also played football. By 2003, Devine had received his first coaching job as an assistant at Hopewell High School in Charlotte, North Carolina. In 2008, he got his first head coaching job at Hickory Grove Christian School, also in Charlotte. That same year he received his first CPFC Coach of the Year award. In 2010, Devine moved on to the Hickory Grove’s rival, Westminster Catawba Christian, to become Athletic Director and Head Coach, and was awarded another
Coach of the Year Award that same year.
Last year, the Spartans only won one game, which usually does not attract high level head coaches. Devine thinks the opposite because many coaches like a challenge. “I think it is interesting that when I got the job people thought I was crazy going from where I was to North Springs,” said Devine. “I think it is the opposite because I have always enjoyed challenges. The two programs that I was the head of prior, had been challenges. I took a 2-8 team to a state championship, a 3-7 to a state semifinal. You know it took building, it took the process, and a lot of hard work and I personally love those situations. To me that is coaching, not going to an elite program to keep it going, but building something.”
Devine’s previous success turning losing programs into state championship contenders uses a rather simple philosophy: Hard work, dedication, preparation, and using patience while trusting the process. “I think those values beat athleticism any day,” states Devine. “We won a lot of games where I came from because of those things, so that’s what we are going to try to do here.”
When talking about his coaching accomplishments, Coach Devine talked about his Coach of the Year awards and state championship runs, but said that he does not really pride himself on those accomplishments. He was more proud of his back-to-back state championships while playing football in high school in New York. His biggest concern was not talking about his past, but rather talking about making the Spartans a better team. While coaching at Alpharetta, Devine worked with a team that included University of Tennessee starting quarterback Josh Dobbs. “I didn’t coach Josh personally because I’m a defensive guy, but I had the privilege of coaching against Josh Dobbs all year long. He humbles me a lot because he used to roast me all the time,” said Devine. Devine continued not only about how great of a football player Josh is, but also how he is an even better individual. “If I had a son to grow up to be it would be Josh Dobbs. His faith, his family, the football aspect, and his academics are all unbelievable,” stated Devine.
Coach Devine has made changes to the defensive scheme and gameplan as well as the way the program runs. He hopes to turn the Spartans into a winning team in the next couple of years and has already improved their record. We will continue watching how the new scheme and new coaching staff changes the team in the future.