After as an assistant to coach Earl Garcia, Dean Eychner is of a program for the first time.
The Brandon High job isn't an easy one to fill, especially with Eychner having to replace a coach was as strong as that of John Lima.
Eychner will get his first crack at discussing the future of the Eagles program next Friday, March 30, when he has his first meet and greet with the parents and alumni from 6:30-8 p.m. at the school. He will talk about his plans for the team and have time for a Q&A session, plus snacks and refreshments.
Patch: You have your first sit down with the parents next week. What are you looking forward to about that and what do you expect it to be like?
Dean Eychner: Everything has been really encouraging to this point. Everyone around the program is very supportive, and I wouldn't expect anything to change. There is excitement around this program, and I'm ready to get rolling and do some things. We want to build good young men that the community and everyone invested in the program can be proud of. That is the message I'm selling.
Patch: You've been at Hillsborough for 16 years. How does it feel to be leaving and moving on to something new?
Eychner: Well, I'm leaving a lot behind some really good people. Some of the folks I had the privilege of working with were top notch, and as I pursued the endeavor of this new job, everyone from the kids to the administration was very supportive of me. When you invest a large portion of your life somewhere and you have the memories I do of that place, you leave with a heavy heart. At the same time, I'm very excited to start a new chapter at Brandon and make some memories here.
Patch: have come up for grabs during your time in high school football. What was it about the Brandon job that attracted you?
Eychner: Well I've said for years that I didn't see myself becoming a head coach. But I've lived in the community since 1992, and I've always been curious about becoming a head coach. For whatever reason, it just seemed to click at this time that I should do it here. Fortunately, the administration felt that I was the one at this time to do it.
Patch: You inherit a program with good tradition. What are your plans for it and where do you start the task of taking on this job?
Eychner: We're going to start at the beginning. We lay a foundation and build one brick at a time. We want to stress to the boys the value of being good people and creating a legacy that they can be proud of. Our players have to realize that they represent something bigger than themselves, and I hope to keep the community behind the program and use the program to get the best out people that we can everyday.
Patch: What, if anything, will be different under your leadership and serve as a signature of your coaching style?
Eychner: I've been coaching 27 years, and I think there are some characteristics you have to adopt if you're going to be good as both a person and a player. I like to think our program is going to be about class, consistency and doing the right things on and off the field. We'll adopt a physical mode so that when you play against us, you know you'd better bring your best game because these boys are tough and they're going to give you everything they have for four quarters.
Patch: You know first hand just how crazy people are about football in this county. Are you worried about the difference in pressure between being a head coach and an assistant?
Eychner: Pressure is what you make of it. Pressure is flying halfway around the world and carrying a backpack into Afghanistan. We're going to do the best we can do everyday at making Brandon football great, and we'll be better for it. We'll have done the best we can at the end of the day. If that doesn't happen, then I'll feel some pressure.