Former head football coach Rhett Bird decided to resign from coaching last month to spend more time with his family.
Bird, who has been head coach for the last seven years, is expecting his third child, so he and his wife decided it was time to spend more time on family activities.
Bird is going to miss many aspects of coaching and the game, like the team and preparation, but one of the most prominent things he will miss is watching film.
“When I didn’t have kids, I would spend anywhere from nine to twelve hours on the weekend watching,” said Bird. “I enjoy breaking down film and watching kids improve by coming back and telling them, ‘Hey, this is what I found on film, this is what we need to work on.’”
Bird’s successor is Tu Tui, the former defensive coordinator for the team. He was appointed to the position as soon as Bird announced his resignation on December sixth. Tui specialized in defense and he will continue in that strain to focus more on the defense for the team. Nick Evans will take over offense.
“[Tui’s] an X’s and O’s technician and he knows the game really well,” said Bird.
As Tui has worked with the team before, some players feel that it will be easier to adjust to him being in charge. Bird feels the same way and is happy that Tui was chosen to be his replacement.
“When Rhett said he was leaving, my mind went to places that I don’t even know. I feel like that would make it hard if it was a random person,” junior Carson Cook said, “but with Tui and that he’s already been there, is going to make it easier to get into things.”
One of the things that Tui is going to continue is talking over new plays with the other coaches and breaking down the plays to make sure the players understand them.
“We’ll still have coaching meetings so we’re on the same page,” Tui said. “I don’t want drift away from what we’ve been doing. The foundation that Coach Bird established, I’ll just be building on top of it.”
Some players feel like Tui may make the team a more closely knit group, as a whole, rather than a few closely knit groups.
“Conditioning is a big part of it – just the commitment of running together and just showing that we’re all in it together,” junior Jacob Blackham said, “and that we’re playing for each other and not just ourselves. We’ll show that we’re here to play for bigger things than just ourselves, and I think he’s going to be emphasizing that if you play for each other there’s a good reason to play football.”
Bird has been helping Tui adjust to the more administrative side of football. One of the first things they did was to set the schedule for their games.
“I’m excited; the boys are excited. I’ve gotten a lot of support for the community,” said Tui.