In April, Mike Tirabassi accepted a new position as Harker’s head football coach. Tirabassi joined Harker as a defensive coordinator in 2012 and in 2013 served as offensive coordinator. Previously he was JV offensive coordinator at Santa Margarita High School and head coach at Pinewood High School.
“My coaching philosophy is very simple,” Tirabassi said. “Use football as a medium for developing life skills.” He believes many of the skills taught in football can be applied to other areas of a successful life, and that paying close attention to the reasons behind learning these skills can result in people who better both themselves and their communities. “As long as we stay true to that vision, competitive success will take care of itself,” he added.
Tirabassi also will continue developing an environment where players feel both safe and comfortable with their skills. “I believe in removing any chance of players being put into a situation in which they aren’t ready,” he said. One system he’s implementing will separate new players from experienced ones to ensure new players can learn the fundamentals of football at a suitable pace.
New players are given a white jersey, while players returning to the team wear green jerseys, Tirabassi explained. “During practice, no player wearing a white jersey will have any padded contact with a player in green,” he said. Players in white jerseys must have a form signed by the player, a parent or guardian, and an athletic trainer to certify that they are ready to wear a green jersey. Only players practicing in green jerseys will be allowed to play in varsity football games. This new program, Tirabassi said, “will allow players to learn these skills slowly and without pressure.”
Spring practice will begin May 15. Anyone interested in playing football is welcome to give the sport a try, Tirabassi said. “This is a great time for players who haven’t played before to come and see if football is for them,” he said. “It’s also a great time for me to see the progress that our returning players have made in the off-season.” Tirabassi hopes to field a team of dedicated players who are committed to the vision of football as a means of personal and social betterment. “If we have a group of players that are committed to the vision, every member of our team has the potential to have a life-changing experience and we have the potential to be a source of pride for the entire Harker community,” he said. “This is what matters to me.”
Tirabassi also is excited to be more involved with the Harker community. “I have already had multiple interactions with members of the faculty and administration and can honestly say that there is no place that I have ever seen that is like Harker,” he beamed. “The unadulterated care that the faculty and staff have for the students is amazing.”