By Thomas Sellers Jr.
The summer of 2016 has been filled with changes and transitions for Collin Pinner.
So when the TSSAA dead period came to an end, the first year Tipton-Rosemark Academy Rebel Head Football Coach was relieved to get back to the field.
“We’ve had so much going on with everything else and family life,” Pinner said. “This is almost — my safe haven. To just go to work everyday, this is finally time I can just relax and do the thing I love the most.”
Although the 2003 Covington High School graduate has a passion for the game of football, he quickly learned the position of head coach comes with extra responsibilities.
“It has been a big change from just being an assistant going from just coaching your position to now,” he noted. “Everyday you seem to have paperwork from finding the right sizes for kids to you’ve got to deal with all the things I never had to deal with before.”
Since taking over for Dodd Gengenbach earlier this year, Pinner has reached out to his tree of veteran head coaches to adjust to his new role. Right down the hall is his experienced defensive coordinator Shannon O’Brien.
“Coach O’Brien has been a huge help. He’s been a head coach for 14 years,” Pinner said. “I lean on him quite a bit. And I’ve had some good ones in the past with (Marty) Wheeler and Coach (Jeff) McFerran. He’s coming up. He coached me my first two years in high school. He’s given me a lot of advice as for things to do when coaching a smaller team. He was here back in the early 2000s. They put pictures up there. That’s what we’re striving for. Our goal is to knock his pictures off the wall.”
Pinner knows the process of earning banners will be tough and take some time especially graduating talent like Colton Vaughn, Ethan Carpenter, Ethan Watson and AJ Hightower.
“Knowing that we’ve got the talent to get to the playoffs, now the goal is to start getting bigger goals,” he said. “We want home field in the playoffs. We’ve had to be beat one of the big ones — USJ or St. George’s. We’re working toward that. Our goal is when I got hired back in February, we want to win the State championship.
“That won’t happen overnight. It’s going to be a building process,” Pinner added. “The thing I like is the kids bought into the weight room. Our maxs have went up dramatically and we’re going to lift weights today. We lift weights everyday.”
While the physical strength improves around the program, Pinner said he will work on the mental toughness of his players leading into August.
“They understand,” he concluded. “We’re not that far away. We’ve have to start building with what we’ve got here. We’ve got more kids out this year and great support behind the program. So I’m excited about this year.”