Falcons get their man

Published 9:43 am Thursday, May 15, 2014

WINDSOR – Tyris “Ty” Hill believes in confidence.

He displayed it in forging winning high school football programs in two states at three different schools. All of which the Alabama native and Como resident prides himself in turning around.

And he did so very quickly.

New Bertie High football coach Ty Hill (left) greets Falcons player Chisom Watson on Tuesday at the school.  Hill formerly coached at NW Halifax, in addition to coaching at two other high schools in Virginia. Staff Photo by Gene Motley

New Bertie High football coach Ty Hill (left) greets Falcons player Chisom Watson on Tuesday at the school. Hill formerly coached at NW Halifax, in addition to coaching at two other high schools in Virginia. Staff Photo by Gene Motley

Hill was introduced by Bertie High principal and fellow Virginia State University alum, Ricky Eley, at a press conference here on Tuesday morning as the newest head football coach of the Falcons.  He succeeds interim coach Will Harrell, who had replaced Rayshawn Spencer, whose tenure in 2013 lasted just one game.

“I’m really excited, it’s a pleasure to be here,” Hill began as he saluted the Bertie football winning tradition of the late and legendary Coach Roy Bond, Jr. who brought two state titles to Bertie soil.

“I think of Coach Bond, I think of winning state championships, and I think of beating Hertford County,” he continued.

So much for subtle expectations.

“I’ve always believed I’d end up in Bertie County,” Hill said. “I think that the talent level is here and we’re going to win right now.  We’re not in a re-building process.  There are things I think this staff will be able to do that will enable us to do that.”

As about two dozen returning players sat in the front row listening intently to Hill’s every word, he expanded on getting these same kids to buy into what he called, ‘the process’.

“For some of you guys this is your fourth coach in two years,” he explained. “I’m not going to mistreat you but you have to be willing to do what the coaches ask you to do.”

After citing his successes at Greensville County, VA, Northwest Halifax, and most recently Smithfield, VA, Hill discussed his expectations.

“The proof is in the pudding,” he said. “We’re going to be respectful of each other, respectful in the hallways, respectful of your teachers and your principals, and most of all you’re going to be respectful of your parents.  That’s how you win football games.

“It has nothing to do with on the field,” he continued. “It’s who you are off the field that’s going to dictate how you play. We want you to respect all the adults, do the correct thing all the time, and then you’ll be successful on the field.”

Hill says he’s not bringing a set offense to Bertie.

“You have to look at your talent level, your skill level, and then determine what kind of players you have based on what kind of offense you’ll have,” the coach said. “When you won the state championship you ran the Power-I (a formation with multiple running backs), which is the offense I normally run. If we have the lineman and the backs to do that we’ll do that.”

As the players seemed to ramp up their interest with more of the coach’s words, Hill said the team the Falcons produce will be player-oriented, and he considers himself a player’s coach.

“I’m going do what’s best for you, not what’s best for me,” he emphasized.  “This is your football team; I’m just here to facilitate the material and to direct it. Whether it’s the Power-I, the Wing-T, or whatever; we’re going to put you in the best position to be successful.”

Hill, who officially takes over on July 1 but hopes to begin sooner, said he has a program of off-season workouts for the players to follow.  He says he uses this to help his players become goal-oriented.

“The first thing you’ll have to do is write me a one-page paper on what are your immediate goals, academically and athletically,” Hill reasoned. “Then you’re going to give me a five year goal, and then a ‘halfway goal’: if you’re 17, where do you want to be when you’re 34; or if you’re 18, when you’re 36.

“I do that because when things get tough out there and you want to quit, I’ll be able to pull out that paper and show you that this is what you wrote as your goal; then ask, are you lying to yourself?  This is what you wrote, and quitting is not a part of that agenda,” Hill said.

“The greater the challenge, the greater the reward,” he concluded.  “If we drill, drill, and drill, then the talent will come out.”

Following his introductory remarks, Hill greeted those players who were present one-by one.  He also chatted with some of his future assistants, available faculty and the few boosters who were in attendance.

“Based on conversations we’ve had I think he’s a disciplinarian,” said Eley, himself a former teacher and coach before he went into administration. “He’s kind of old-school with a new-school fling to it. He’s able to relate to the kids, but also make sure the kids are respectful and getting them to understand that winning happens before you get on the football field.”

Eley also praised Hill for his football mind.

“Everyone I talked to says he knows his X’s and O’s, so I think it’s a good fit,” the principal continued. “And another one of the big pieces is that he can turn things around quickly. He’s researched Bertie, researched our record, and he knows what this team can do.”

The Falcon faithful do indeed hope that Hill can restore Bertie to its once lofty perch among the state’s football elite. BHS has not experienced a winning season since a 10-4 campaign in 2007. Since that time (the 2008-2013 seasons), the Falcons have posted won-loss records of 5-7, 3-7, 2-9, 4-6-1, 6-6 and 1-9 respectively.