Tuesday, June 14, 2011

SPORTS >> Ingram, North Pulaski perfect match

Leader sports editor

North Pulaski High School has added a lot of new coaches this year, but not all are new to coaching. That’s certainly the case with new head football coach Teodis Ingram, who was recommended for the job last week by an NPHS search committee, and officially hired Tuesday night.

Ingram brings 24 years of head-coaching experience to the table at NP, including stops at Hermitage, Stamps and most recently Crossett. He stepped away from coaching at Crossett in 2008, and became the athletic director, but never intended on staying out of coaching.

“Coaching is my first love and I never lost that urge to coach,” Ingram said. “I wanted to get out, get my masters and get back into coaching.”

Taking over a program like North Pulaski, which has never had a winning season or made the playoffs, doesn’t seem like a fit for a long-time coach with a history of success, but Ingram says it feels like a perfect fit.

“Since I first got into coaching, I’ve usually gone to programs that were not successful, at least at the time, at football,” Ingram said. “I believe I’ve done my best work at those programs where we’ve built from the ground up.”

Ingram brings ideas with him to NP that he believes can help change the direction of the program, starting with his relationships at feeder school Northwood.

“Right now, as I understand the situation, those kids can go anywhere in the district they want to go,” Ingram said. “We’re going to work to curtail that and make those kids want to stay a part of our program, their program.”

According to Ingram, having so many new coaches among the ranks to start next season at NP, can, be a very positive attribute to his vision for turning things around.

“In the past I’ve gone into programs where there wasn’t a lot of unity and cooperation among the different sports,” Ingram said. “We have a unique opportunity to build together at North Pulaski. I believe in promoting the whole program. To be successful at one thing, you have to promote the whole thing. I want to help create a family atmosphere among coaches, something that the kids will see and feel and want to be a part of. “Because I just got the feeling from being there, that North Pulaski was a place that was ready for something good to happen.”

Ingram’s career has afforded him the opportunity to get to know a lot of people, and he’ll be calling on some of those friends and acquaintances to help create a winning mindset.

Alongside the mindset, players have to be in place and ready to play, and Ingram has a plan in that regard as well.

He runs his offense out of the Wing T formation, and will begin to implement that offense once the dead period ends in early July.

But it starts even more fundamentally than that for Ingram.

“We’re going to start getting our offense in and getting ready, and you start getting ready in the weight room,” Ingram said. “We’ve got a good base, got some skill players, but we need work in the weight room.”

He also plans on seeing some living rooms.

“I can’t meet the players until the dead period is over, but I can meet with parents and that’s something I want to do. I want them to understand what’s going to be required, get across my ideas about the program, the academics and my code of conduct. And when I get there with the players, we’re going to hit the ground running. I hope we can put a product on the field that will be productive and make the community proud.”