High School

All-Star football coach of the year: Michael Klyce

Locke
Coach Michael Klyce, right, led Locke to its first City Section championship.
(Nick Koza)

When you take over a football program that twice couldn’t finish its season because it didn’t have enough players, you know the challenge is great. That didn’t scare off Michael Klyce. He wanted to help his alma mater, Locke High, when he became head coach in 2017.

Two years later, Klyce coached Locke to its first City Section championship. The Saints won the Division II title with a 22-20 victory over Roosevelt.

For turning around a program on and off the field, Klyce has been selected The Times’ coach of the year.

Klyce, 32, knew what he was getting into when he became head coach. The program was in shambles and needed a leader. He provided it, getting players to study while having fun playing football.

He tried to get players to have “a different mindset and hold each other accountable.”

“They had to believe in one another,” he said.

The team made it to the semifinals last season before winning the championship this season while finishing 10-5.

That was a big change from 2015 and 2016 when ineligible players coupled with a small roster resulted in forfeits.

Klyce played football for the Saints and insisted there’s always been talent at Locke. It was a matter of getting enough players to join the team, then having them focus on a goal to succeed.

Challenge accepted and challenge met.

eric.sondheimer@latimes.com

Twitter: @latsondheimer