This past weekend, 20 coaches from various backgrounds and levels of experience gathered at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for the seventh annual Seahawks High School Coaches Academy.
North Kitsap High School assistant football coach Jerry Parrish – father of current Seahawks college scouting coordinator Kirk Parrish – was one of the conference’s attendees. For the elder Parrish, it was his seventh stint participating in the program.
“I’ve been there all seven years,” Parrish said. “It’s been better every year.”
That’s quite the endorsement for the academy, especially coming from a man who will enter his 40th season in coaching this fall. Parrish was the longtime head coach at North Kitsap and retired for just one year before returning to the school as an assistant.
“It’s been very refreshing to go around the table and listen to some of the topics we’ve assigned and also how different coaches handle problems or concerns in different manners,” Parrish said. “Part of the criteria when we set it up was to have at least two first-year coaches, and then probably 10 or 12 coaches that have been around for 6-10 years, and then about five or six of us who have been around for more than that. So we can kind of get a different view of the concerns that we each have.”
Parrish acted as a pseudo-moderator for this year’s conference, as the group discussed topics ranging from how technology can improve their approach to coaching, equipment and safety issues, practice structure, team building exercises, the role social media plays in the current era of athletes, and ways to work with an athlete’s parents.
Taking part in this year’s conference from the Seahawks coaching staff was assistant head coach/offensive line coach Tom Cable, who himself was a 1982 graduate of nearby Snohomish High School. Cable joined head coach Pete Carroll, former defensive coordinator Gus Bradley, and secondary coach Rocky Seto as the club’s coaches who have appeared at the event since Carroll and general manager John Schneider took the reins in 2010.
“The thing that really came through to all of us was that competition really seems to be the guideline that coach Carroll and the coaching staff, and everybody on the Seahawks team, has really benefited from,” Parrish said of Cable’s talk to the group. “They used the term ‘attitude’ that the coaches brought and inserted it in a very positive manner.”
On top of the group discussion and Cable’s words of wisdom, the event offered coaches the opportunity to share information, tactics, and approaches to their own coaching styles all within a comfortable setting.
“I think sometimes coaches share pretty well when there’s no one there competing against them,” said Parrish. “We don’t like to have coaches from the same league come to the conference – sometimes that can get a little bit hairy, so to speak. But it’s really been beneficial.”