Photo courtesy of The Arizona Republic
For years football has been a staple at OHS and new head coach Brian Cole has big plans for the well known program. He looks forward to bringing stability, consistency and a culture built on drive and perseverance.
Cole has led Phoenix Christian to a 5-4 record in the 2A division, he won 2 state titles at Phoenix Christian in both 1A and 2A, and prior to that he led Phoenix North Canyon to a 14-0 record and a division 2 state title in 2005. He has been a head coach the past 17 years with a 150-48 overall record. The wealth of experience he brings cannot be denied.
“The area that O’Connor is located has so much potential. I remember playing them way back around 2007, being on the field and thinking about how great it would be to coach there one day,” Cole said.
Cole knows that there is a ton of talent not just at OHS but in the north valley as a whole, and he looks forward to working with the families and kids. However when it comes to his plans on building the program, he has a less sentimental approach.
“I want the boys to know that yes, their season was good and they had more success than in previous years, but I don’t look at that as the kind of success I want to have here. I don’t look at a 6-4 season as a fantastic season but anything short of a state championship would not be considered a fantastic season to me,” Cole said.
OHS went 6-4 in the 2020 season, making it to the state semi finals. Cole knows that it was an irregular and shortened season, and wants to build on that momentum going into the 2021 season. Cole loves the excitement from the players and is trying to keep that excitement and turning it into motivation to do bigger and better things this season. Whether the team goes 10-0 or 3-7, he wants them to have the championship mindset in every game and practice and he doesn’t feel any pressure to take them farther than they went last year.
“Football at O’Connor has been one of the sports that’s had very inconsistent seasons in the past, going from something like 5-5 to 2-8 to 7-3 in the span of 3 years. I think having a mindset shift will be good for the team, I want them to know that they can and should be in contention for a state championship every year,” Cole said.
Overall, Cole’s hopes are to create and build on a state championship program. He believes the players have the enthusiasm, administration has the support and he has the experience to make it happen.
“With any sport, especially football, it takes a village to make the team great. I am so excited to be part of the O’Connor village and work to not only make a bigger name for the football team, but athletics in general,” Cole said.