The Modesto Metro Conference lost another good coach last week when Beyer’s Bill Flesher announced that he will be stepping down from his post.
He’s the second MMC football coach to resign since the conclusion of the 2013 season – Chris Cloward announced shortly after the season ended that he wouldn’t return in 2014.
Flesher led the Patriots to 11 victories and 10 losses in two seasons as the head coach, including a 6-5 mark this past season that qualified Beyer for the Sac-Joaquin Section Division 1 playoffs. He’s stepping away from a young, talented roster – featuring sophomore QB Nick Trujillo and sophomore RB Jay Green – that should keep the Pats in the mix for an MMC title the next few years.
I talked with Flesher this week and he said that while there’s sadness associated with his decision, he knows this is the right time for a break.
“I’m very aware of how long I’ve been coaching,” said Flesher, who’s been on the sidelines as an assistant or head coach for 24 of the last 25 seasons, including the last 20. “For me, with the extra time that I’ll have, I’ll be able to look at my family, my teaching and my home, and get some better balance in those aspects.
Flesher, who turns 49 this summer, began playing football at the age of 9. Since then, there have been only two seasons when he wasn’t playing or coaching. Basically, he’s been going nonstop for four decades. You can’t blame him for wanting to step away.
The demands placed upon high school coaches have become greater in recent years. There was a time when coaches said hello in August for summer practices and goodbye in December at the team banquet.
Not so anymore.
With offseason weightlifting, passing-league tournaments, football camps, coaching clinics, fund-raising events, parent meetings, grade-checks, scheduling, equipment inspection and refurbishing, film study, dealing with college recruiters – not to mention the actual work that’s done during the season – coaching football has become a full-time job.
And the stipend? Well, let’s just say you won’t find many Rockefellers roaming the sidelines.
In reality, being a high school football coach is like being the CEO of a small business … for about $2 an hour. And it’s not just football. Baseball, basketball, baseball and softball, wrestling, volleyball, etc. ... all require more and more time from coaching staffs.
“Coaches at the high school level do it for the love of the sport and the love of the kids,” said Beyer principal Dan Park, who said he expects to have a replacement named in a few weeks. “It’s a difficult job and it’s very time-consuming, and some don’t want to continue that grind year after year.
“For me, winning seasons come and go; it’s more about the impact that coaches have on kids.”
Flesher insists that he’s not finished, just catching his breath.
“Taking one season off is a minimum, maybe a maximum,” Flesher said. “I love the game. … I think having time off to get some perspective is going to be a good thing.
“And I’ll be Beyer’s biggest fan. I’ll be coming to all the games, and the players will still be in my classes, and I’ll be stopping them in the hallways to talk.
“I think Beyer’s headed in the right direction.”
• The Sac-Joaquin Section will release its boys and girls basketball playoff brackets on Wednesday at about 6 p.m. You can catch the brackets being announced live at CIFSacJoaquin.TV, starting at 5 p.m. Later, be sure to join Brian VanderBeek and me for a live chat at 7 to discuss the matchups. Also, Brian and I will be taping a Web show where we’ll break down the brackets and offer two pennies’ worth of opinion. The show will be up on ModBee.com by late Wednesday or early Thursday.
• A quick reminder to Stanislaus District athletic directors: A lot of you still have not sent in your spring sports schedules. Please email those firstname.lastname@example.org or fax them to 578-2207. Also, consider making regular updates to your school’s page at MaxPreps.com. Having schedules, rosters and statistics online is an invaluable tool for the local media.