Prep football: Andre Dyson excited to coach at alma mater
As brothers Andre and Kevin Dyson made the transition from NFL players to amateur coaches, the former Clearfield football stars often have wondered together what it would be like to come back and coach their alma mater.
Now younger brother Andre, who Clearfield has hired to revive its fledgling football program, will find out.
"Me and my brother have joked about how cool it would be," said Andre Dyson, one of the two most successful athletes ever to come out of Clearfield the other, of course, being his brother. "I guess it hasn't even sunk in yet. It probably won't until I get there and all the memories come back."
Dyson will be inheriting a once-proud program that has fallen on hard times. According to maxpreps.com, the Falcons, who won the 1992 Class 4A state title, have failed to win five games in any of the last nine seasons. Two- and three-win seasons have become the norm.
Dyson, a second-round pick out of Utah in the 2001 NFL draft, sees the wreckage that now surrounds his alma mater. He understands that getting the Falcons back to respectability may take time, but it's a challenge he's coming at head-on.
"The only thing I can do is teach the kids to the best of my ability," Dyson said. "Hopefully they buy into it. One thing I want to make clear is it's not about me it's about us. The community, the kids, the coaches, everybody is going to have a hand in it. Hopefully I can guide it and lead it down the right path."
Dyson last played a snap in an NFL game in 2007 after a seven-year professional career as a defensive back. He immediately began the transition into coaching and found a position close to home, working with the defensive backs at Weber State.
When fellow Clearfield alum and childhood friend Matt Hammer left his post as Weber State's offensive coordinator to take the reins at Weber High this season, Dyson followed. He served as defensive coordinator, leading a unit that allowed less than 20 points a game and helped the Warriors improve to 5-5 after consecutive winless seasons.
If there's a person to lead a similar revival at Clearfield, it's Dyson, Hammer said.
"To watch what's gone on [at Clearfield] the last eight to 10 years has been hard to watch," Hammer said. "For me, it's kind of that double-edge sword. You're happy for him, but as Weber's coach, you're not because you know what kind of coach he is.
"He truly loves the game and wants to teach to young people. He has the best interests of those kids in his heart."
Clearfield athletic director Curtis Hulse said he met with several qualified candidates during the hiring process. But the benefits of having someone with Dyson's knowledge and experience infuse life into the Falcons were obvious.
"What we liked about Andre is he's from Clearfield and knows Clearfield," Hulse said. "Obviously having a guy of his experience and what he can bring to the program and school is a real benefit."
Dyson said he only has been keeping tabs on Clearfield from afar in recent seasons, so he's unsure what issues have kept the Falcons from being competitive. But he is sure of this: If the Falcons are to return to relevance, it will take effort from everyone involved.
"They have to understand that you get out what you put in," Dyson said. "If you only work half the time, you're going to be a half-the-time player."