GLENDALE — In hiring Andrew Policky to coach its football team, Hoover High moves in a new direction while also retaining some continuity with its recent past that saw the program make some strides.
A former defensive coordinator at Hoover for the past three years under recently resigned former Coach Chris Long, Policky was hired Monday, met with the Tornadoes' returning players for the first time as head coach this week and has already begun working on assembling his staff and organizing spring football activities.
"I feel good, I'm really excited to be a head coach and to take over the program," Policky said. "I'm excited to be a part of it and I have expectations of myself and the program."
It is the first head coaching position for Policky, who was a two-way starter at Arcadia High, from which he graduated in 1998 before eventually returning to spend four years there as an assistant coach. He was a defensive coordinator under veteran Apaches Coach John Dimalante for the last two years of his stint there before joining Long's staff when Long was tabbed to helm Hoover in May 2008.
"I have a familiarity with the other opponents in our league," said Policky, who has played and coached extensively in the Pacific League, where Hoover finished 0-7 for last place in its disappointing 1-9 overall 2010 campaign. "I have an understanding of the area and the obstacles that will need to be overcome at Hoover specifically and kind of where the program is at."
Under Long, the Tornadoes went 3-27, but snapped a losing 21-game losing streak and notched a win over Glendale in the "Battle for the Victory Bell" during the 2009 season that saw the team go 2-8. Long and his staff were also credited by many with improving the morale and raising the on-campus profile of the beleaguered program. Long said he was asked to resign earlier this month after failing to obtain the credentials necessary to remain as an on-campus teacher.
"Me and Chris are friends, so that part of it was tough to see him go and to take over a program that he started," Policky said.
Long coached Policky as a player at Acadia in 1997 before later reuniting with him as an employee at Hoover.
"It's a good hire," Long said. "He was there the past three years with me, he knows the kids, he knows what to expect.
"He helped me out a great deal and I'm happy for him. …It's definitely well-deserved."
Policky said his first order of business will be to seek a defensive and offensive coordinator, but he also said is not averse to overseeing both realms himself if necessary.
"We're going to probably be making a lot of changes," Policky said. "Offensively, we're definitely going to be making some changes. Defensively, it kind of depends on how it shakes out with the rest of the staff.
"I'm kind of scrambling right now to put a staff together. It's a little late in the year, but depending on who I can hire on and what their expertise is, I'll have to fit in wherever need be."