Matt Trombly; Coaching Football And “The Big Shoe Dance”
Matt Trombly, Hartford High School head varsity football coach grew up playing sports and knew at an early age that this could well become his career path. As a youth in Springfield, Vt., he loved playing football, wrestling (which he later gave up for hockey), skiing, and a host of other things boys growing up in a rural area are prone to do. But football was his calling. He played through high school and looked for a college where he could continue to play football AND…more importantly, get the degree in his chosen field.
“I went to John Carroll Univ. in Northeast OH. Playing football was part of the decision. I wanted a D3 football school with a PE program.” Matt played football through his freshman year but afterward transitioned to club sports to devote more time to academics. He played club lacrosse, hockey, and skied.
He finished school with a degree in K-12 Physical Education, has a national certification in strength training from the National Association of Sports Medicine and is also a USA
Football certified football coach.
Matt coached varsity hockey in Solon OH for 4 years then moved back to VT. Hartford was
his first job offer where he’s worked as Phys Ed instructor and been involved in their football program for the past 15 years, two as head coach after Hartford legend, Coach Mike Stone.
Expectations, Academics and “The Big Shoe Dance”
Matt knew that it was going to be a difficult job to fill the shoes of “The Man”, but had the luxury of working in his system and being mentored by Coach Stone.
“Working with Mike could not have been a better experience. He was an outstanding mentor and great friend. He went to extraordinary lengths to make sure I had all the tools to be a successful head coach; how to handle parents, administration, AND… run a football team. We have almost identical styles of coaching and our personalities are very similar. Neither of us are big yellers but still coach with passion. He taught me everything I know about football and coaching”. Coach Trombly continued, “I don’t think there is a better coach out there!”
He then talked about the expectations of “filling those shoes.”
“There was huge pressure taking over the program. The expectation here is ‘To Win’. Since I have been in Hartford, there have only been 2 years of not making the playoffs and I have been a part of 5 DI championships. When people ask what Hartford is known for, most will say football. It is one of the
most recognized teams of any sport in the state. A few years ago we were even voted as the #1 program in the country in USA Today. So yes there is pressure to make sure my kids have every opportunity to be the best and continue the tradition set before them.”
And that job doesn’t stop when practice is over.
“We put a great deal of importance on academics. Our players are students first and athletes second. They know school comes before football and if things are not right in the classroom it needs to be fixed before playing football. They are held to a high standard for both grades and behavior. We expect them to set the example.”
On To College
Playing football on such a high profile team as Hartford doesn’t guarantee admission to college, but it certainly helps as a tool for admissions officers to determine a candidates character. “We have only sent one player to school on scholarship. It is extremely rare for one of our players or any VT player to play Div 1 collegiate athletics. We have many playing at the D3 level though. I definitely think sports has given them some direction on choosing where to go.”
“Youth programs are vital to the success of varsity ones. It is important to have goodcoaches that know what they are doing and providing the proper
fundamentals. A bad coach at that level can ruin a kids experience and he may never come back. We work very closely with the middle school program and help steer the Mini-Cane program as well.(pee-wee level) The players begin learning our fundamentals, terminology, and schemes in the 4th grade.”
“I think it’s even more important to work with these younger programs if you are a school like us. We compete with schools twice as big as us so we need every edge we can get. To have a kid that comes into the program knowing what’s expected and knowing the system is an enormous advantage. Without the feeder programs our jobs would be much more difficult and we probably would not be a DI program. About 90% of our players are program kids that started prior to high school and most before middle school.”
Following In Dad’s Footsteps
“My older 2 kids are very involved in sports. My oldest son plays football, basketball, and baseball. He also enjoys playing soccer in the off season. My daughter is a gymnast year round and also plays softball and soccer. She is looking at trying LAX this year as something new. Both enjoy skiing and most outdoor activities. I’m sure my two younger kids will be involved in sports as well.”
Should All Kids Be Involved?
“I think sports play a huge role in growing up. It is the closest thing kids have to real life situations. They learn about hard work, dedication and sacrifice, as well as teamwork and competing to be the best. Sports help keep kids active in this age of video games. Many go from sitting in a classroom all day to sitting in front of the TV at home. Sports allow kids to build meaningful relationships, relieve stress and be a better, more well rounded person.”
“It can change their lives!”
Matt Trombly; Coaching Football And “The Big Shoe Dance” Upper Valley Sports