After one win in the past two seasons Montrose School District is looking in a different direction with its struggling football program. At the January Montrose Area School Board meeting, William Sandley was named as the new varsity football coach.
Sandley comes to Montrose after spending the past season at Riverside, as an assistant coach for Harry Armstrong. He has also served on the coaching staffs of Nanticoke and Pittston and has experience with local college and semi-pro football programs.
“We are coming in looking to change the culture of the program,” Sandley said.
While the recent results of the past football seasons may seem daunting, Sandley is not afraid of the challenges that lie ahead.
“I wanted a challenge like this,” said Sandley. “What could be more rewarding then coming in turning a program around?”
The experience at different levels and concepts that he has learned has prepared Sandley for the task. The time spent with Armstrong was invaluable to Sandley.
“I probably learned more in the first two months working with Coach Armstrong, than I had in all my other years combined,” quipped Sandley who began coaching youth football while he was still playing in high school.
Sandley has hit the ground running – organizing strength conditioning programs and looking at possible assistants to aid him in the turn around. Although the turnout for conditioning has been smaller than he would like – many of the players are involved with other sports in the football off-season – so far, Sandley likes what he sees.
“I like the kids that have been out,” he said. “They’re open to what we want to do.”
Sandley is still assessing what the program has and is committed to find the right style based on what best suits the players.
“We’re going to play to our strengths, work hard, and be prepared,” he said.
One of the players coming to sessions has been quarterback Ethan Cina. The junior is looking forward to the next season and is excited about the new coach’s plans.
“Coach Sandley is a great guy…he wants to change the culture of Montrose football and make it a better program,” Cina said. “And the players are determined to change the program.
Montrose Area Superintendent Chris McCombs explained that after two seasons under Coach Steve Miller, the board decided to open the position after his contract expired. He said that several candidates were interviewed for the position, including Coach Miller.
Sandley’s excitement and energy for the challenge ahead of him is what earned him the nod, according to McComb.
“He fully understands the challenges ahead of him,” said McComb. “We thought he could get kids to believe him, and I’ve seen that with some of his first interactions with kids.”
McComb also praised the professionalism and acceptance of the board’s decision by Coach Miller.
“Coach Miller was honest with us and said that if we felt we need to make a change he would agree with it,” said McCombs. “I think that speaks volumes of his character.”