New Coyotes Coach Seeks to Develop Players of Grit and Integrity
At 9:00 am on a hot Monday morning in mid-July the hallway outside of the weight room at Clarksburg High School was lined with 20 to 25 young men doing planks and sit ups. Despite the fact that the air conditioner was running, the hallway was sweaty and humid. It smelled like hard work.
It was just the beginning of a journey that would take a lot more hard work. It was Bob Plante’s first day at his new job as head coach of the Clarksburg High School football team. He’d just met his new players about an hour before as they arrived to begin a new era in Clarksburg football.
Just two days earlier, Coach Plante was announced as the second ever head coach of the Clarksburg Coyotes. Less than a month earlier, Larry Hurd, Jr., the only other head coach in Clarksburg High School history announced that he was stepping away from coaching after more than a decade at the helm in Clarksburg to pursue other opportunities.
Plante is well known in Montgomery County high school football circles, but this is his first stint as a head coach. He is relatively unique as he is one of the few head coaches at a Montgomery County public high school which is not also employed as a teacher in MCPS.
Plante began coaching varsity football in 1988 at Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School. Over his 33-year coaching career he’s been an assistant at Churchill, Sherwood, Quince Orchard, and Seneca Valley.
Most recently Plante served as offensive coordinator at Tuscarora High School in Frederick County for the 2016 season. Last year Tuscarora posted an 8-3 record and averaged 39 points per game making the post season, but losing in the first round of the playoffs to Oakdale.
As many of his players were stretching and planking in the hallway on Monday morning, Plante was in the weight room talking to another group of players. He was getting a feel for his new team and they were getting a sense of him.
“You only get one time to make a first impression. I hope I did that this morning,” said Plante in an interview a few minutes later in the storage room that was to become his new office at Clarksburg High School. “Most players understand that no matter how hard on them I am as a coach, the reason is that I want them to be successful and I want everyone around them to be successful. Once they have that realization, they usually buy in. They don’t buy in when it is all about the coach. It needs to be about the program and the community and our school.”
Plante understands that coaching football is not only about what happens between the hash marks on the field. He is very aware that Clarksburg is a program that has experienced some tragic events in the last few years. Beyond the Xs and Os of winning or losing seasons, the team lost three members to a tragic traffic incident in June of 2016 and the team and the community has been dealing with that loss.
“We are going to embrace that history,” he said. “That is part of who we are at Clarksburg. It is part of our experience. Those families are us. They are the part of our community. We are going to make sure the program recognizes them and makes them a part of everything that we do. That is important.”