Matt Andersen tabbed as new Hoover High football coach

Football and art appear go hand in hand for Matt Andersen.

When putting the finishing touches on a drawing or devising an offensive or defense scheme in football, Andersen comes in with an open mind looking for effective ways for each to stand out.

Andersen will look to apply his creative techniques to revamp the Hoover High football team after being named the program's new coach Wednesday.

Andersen, an art teacher at Toll Middle School, replaces Andrew Policky, who resigned May 2 to take over the head coaching reigns at Arcadia.

"There are ways to evaluate both art and football," said Andersen, a native of Sacramento who kicked off his coaching career in 2008 as running backs coach and strength and conditioning coordinator for nearby Occidental College before serving as outside linebacker coach. "You see how they can be improved.

"You can't just go out there and put things together right away. It takes time and lots of practice. It's an evolving evaluation process."

Andersen, 27, has learned the ropes after starring at Occidental as a running back and earning a plethora of conference awards between 2004-07 while playing on the college's football and baseball teams. Under the direction of former Occidental Coach Dale Widolff, Anderson finished second in individual scoring at the NCAA Division III level with 17 touchdowns in 2006 and earning multiple spots on the All-Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference first team.

Andersen will now share his on-the-field experiences and seek to improve the Tornadoes, who finished 3-7 and 1-6 in the Pacific League for last place last season. Hoover last qualified for the postseason in 1987.

The program's recent struggles don't concern Andersen, who coached Toll's flag football team the past two seasons.

"I like the challenge that it presents," said Anderson, who is Hoover's fourth coach in the last seven seasons. "I applied for the opening a couple of weeks ago and one of the reasons I did was because I liked the task of trying to build a successful program and building a culture that we can all be proud of.

"You want to develop that culture and teach the players how to compete. I've had some great coaches, like Dale, and I've soaked up a lot [from the coaching perspective]."

Hoover Athletic Director Jack Van Patten said Andersen's credentials were impeccable.

"He's exactly the kind of person you look for in that he's highly intelligent, energetic and seeking to meet challenges," Van Patten said. "We wanted to make a hire right away, but we wanted to hire the right guy and we think he's it.

"He wants the challenge of turning around a program. He's just a great fit and a workaholic, which I like."

Hoover Principal Jennifer Earl said Andersen's organizational skills were impressive.

"He's got that impressive background and the ability to communicate well with others," Earl said. "Those are things that are important.

"We think he comes with all of the tools and is a perfect fit for the job. We couldn't be more excited."

Andersen said he will meet with the team in the next few days and outline some program-oriented goals, on and off the field.

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