Andrew Kahn, the new defensive coordinator at Chaparral High School, is trying to learn and teach at the same time.
Coach Kahn is the defensive coordinator for the Chaparral Firebirds. After a week one blowout, the previous coordinator resigned, and Coach Kahn took over.
The Firebirds lost 41–14 to Centennial in Coach Kahn’s opening game.
What has transpired is a rocky season; the Birds are 1–3. Head Coach Thomas Lewis still sang praises for Coach Kahn.
“Coach Kahn took over the defense week two, a pretty tall order,” Coach Lewis said. “I thought he did an excellent job.”
Coach Kahn is no stranger to the Firebirds as he served as the junior varsity defensive coordinator for the past two years.
He feels the experience he gained at a lower level helped prepare him.
“I think calling plays, you learn what kind of play caller you are and you are able to evaluate things you should have done, and things you shouldn’t have done, so it helps you grow as a coach,” Coach Kahn said.
Coach Kahn knows there is much more to the game than just Xs and Os. He values relationships with all of his players.
“I think it’s extremely important,” Coach Kahn said. “I tell the kids all the time that I love them.”
The players seem to be reciprocating. Linebacker Parker Walton said he feels he can be himself around Coach Kahn.
“He’s my man, he’s funny as hell,” Walton said. “He’s a character for sure. He relates really well to us.”
Coach Kahn said he feels if he can be close with his players, they will produce for him.
On the field it isn’t all love. Coach Kahn is notorious for being animated. He referred to his style as a “controlled rage.”
“I’m definitely intense, I realize that now,” Coach Kahn said. “I think you can only get away with being intense if the kids know that you care about them.”
Ever since Coach Kahn took over, Coach Lewis has noticed change in the team’s attitude.
“They basically go to war for him,” Lewis said.
Aside from the numerous battles that take place between the goalposts, Coach Khan believes preparing the kids for life after football is the most important part.
“We not only want to better their lives for college football,” Kahn said. “But also make them men and teach life lessons.”
Editor’s Note: Mr. Smith is a student journalist with the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communications.