It's a New Era for Williamsville East Football

On Wednesday, March 4th, 2014, newly hired varsity football coach Christopher Glenn and his staff held their first offseason workout at Williamsville East High School in preparation for the 7v7 ADPRO passing league that begins next week.  Thirty-five players were present.  Not bad considering the team failed to win a single game last season.

Drills begin.  Glenn and his staff are deeply entrenched in the ongoing action, only to have the practice suddenly stopped within a few minutes.

A slightly concerned Glenn addresses the situation,  “Everything ok?”

A junior quarterback responds, “Everything is fine.  I just wanted to stop practice to say that I really like your attitude.”

Practice resumes and the new era of Williamsville East football officially begins.  On the second day of practice, fifty young men are in attendance.  A total program rebuild is not a foreign concept to Glenn. He began his career as a head varsity football coach last year at St. Mary’s of Lancaster.  The Lancers finished the 2014 year with a 6-4 record and were the 10th ranked WNY small school at season’s end. They also beat St. Joe’s on the road for the second time in school history.   

Glenn was honored as the Buffalo Bills/National Guard coach of the week in late October.  He is pictured alongside other high school football coaches who were awarded the same honor. (Harry Scull / Buffalo News)

Glenn was honored as the Buffalo Bills/National Guard coach of the week in late October.  He is pictured alongside other high school football coaches who were awarded the same honor. (Harry Scull / Buffalo News)

On the first day of St. Mary’s football practice last season, eight players were in attendance.  Nobody backed down and the program was built, brick by brick.

Why leave St. Mary’s?  I asked Glenn this question.

“St. Mary's was a place I always thought I would end up going back to. Great sense of community, awesome kids and good support.  When I was hired they told me they were looking for a long term answer for their football program.  I told them I was fully committed and the only place I ever saw myself leaving for was Williamsville.  I was told numerous times over my coaching career that I wouldn't be able to be a head coach in Williamsville because I wasn't a teacher and I was too young.  That has given me a bit of a chip on my shoulder over the years and has made the transition to East even more exciting.”

Glenn began his career as a football coach at the ripe age of 17, as a volunteer assistant at Williamsville North and has spent the majority of his young coaching career as an assistant across the district.  Now 30, Glenn is ready to go up against his mentors whom still coach across the district.  Humility was apparent when I asked him about this opportunity.

“I owe a lot to the guys I've been lucky enough to coach with over the years.  Brian Swatland (W. South), Paul Pignataro (W. South), Kevin Lester JR (W. North), Ron Luders (W. North), Tim Delaney (South Park Head Coach).  Those are some of the best football coaches in our area and I've been lucky enough to take what I've learned from them and use it as I've moved along as a coach.  The one guy who has had the biggest impact on my coaching career and my life in general is Kraig Kurzanski (W. South Head Coach).  He is in my opinion the best football coach in our area, hands down.  The things he's taught me as a coach and the life lessons I've learned from him are extremely valuable. I'll forever be loyal to him…it'll be fun competing against him going forward.” 

Glenn is joined at Williamsville East by much of his former staff at St. Mary’s.  Christopher Heim will call the defense as Glenn calls the offense.  Heim, like Glenn, has lived most of his young life in Williamsville, where he is now a teacher.  Heim left his assistant coaching position at Williamsville North before last season to work with Glenn at St. Mary's, where he called the defense.

He's happy to be home.   

"I couldn't be more excited to work in preparation through this offeseason as we unveil a new brand of East Football. The opportunity to be back in such a premiere district is truly a blessing."

Matt Ard, Dave Bubar, Kevin Gerlach, Ed Greenway, Jon Feigel, and Derek Kise are also on the staff.  Glenn is enthused by the array of talent and experience that he will be working with.  

“We have a great group of guys coming to be on staff.  Coach Kurzanski always talked about loyalty over knowledge.  That always stuck out to me while I was with him.  We have coaches that are loyal to me and that want to help this football program succeed.  The most important thing to me outside of loyalty is how they work with kids. We coach kids -- young men .. and guys that can help us succeed on the football field as well as help our young men become better student athletes and better people in the community are important to me.  We will challenge each other to be better coaches every single day which will be exciting for our kids.”

Change will not happen overnight, but Glenn and his staff are up for the challenge.

“A lot has been said about the football program or lack there of at East in the past.  The only way to make that stuff go away is to change it on our own.  It’s going to take time and a lot of hard work.  The kids are ready to put the work in.”

I like the attitude.