The Covid-19 pandemic has brought unique challenges to all high school coaches.
While it seems that football will go on as planned in the fall, local coaches are still having to navigate the pitfalls of plenty of lost time. However, one local coach might be facing a steeper challenge.
Bo Culver has officially been the head football coach of East Lawrence High School for just a few days over two months. If that timeline seems familiar it’s because that’s the exact time we’ve been in quarantine.
Culver’s hire was made official on March 9. A week later schools began closing due to Covid-19, making it impossible for coaches to meet with their team.
So Culver has now been coach of a team for two months that he has yet to officially meet.
“Unfortunately, I have not been able to meet with them yet,” Culver said. “It creates a unique problem, but I just kind of keep things in perspective. There are millions that are losing their jobs so I’m just blessed to have mine.”
Culver has been doing everything he can to communicate with his team and reach out, trying to get to know them as much as he can given the circumstances.
“I’ve been on the phone, calling, leaving messages, just trying to reach out as much as I can,” he said. “Thankfully I have some assistant coaches that have been here that know these guys. I’m able to really rely on them and lean on them during this time.”
Culver has been pleased with the overall feeling towards him and the upcoming season from the players that he has been able to talk to so far.
“The general theme is excitement about this upcoming season,” he said. “I think these kids realize that we have a chance to do some special things this year and they’re chomping at the bit to get back to work.”
News came out last week that high schools were hoping to open back up in early June for small groups. This would allow athletes to resume summer conditioning. While it wouldn’t be the whole team, should schools choose to go that route, it would still be something instead of nothing. And Culver is choosing to look at the positives he can gain from it.
“Of course we would like to have everyone together when we start, but you can only control what we can control,” Culver said. “I’m a glass half full kind of guy and when you look at it, we’re going to have 65-70 guys. So meeting in small groups will give me a chance to get to know these guys faster.”
But what if workouts don’t get started till late summer. Would that push the start of football season back? It’s possible, but not set in stone says Culver.
“So the way it works, we can’t make summer a requirement. Everybody uses summer for conditioning, but by rule we’re not allowed to make it a requirement,” he said. “So that means that we have to use the time in August if needed to make sure everybody is safely ready to compete when the season rolls around. So if we did get started later in the summer, I think that we could still have a chance to start the season on time, while at the same time making sure the kids are safely ready to start the season.”
It’s safe to say that Culver is ready for the season to start soon, and the fact that he may be behind the eight ball when it’s time to get back to work has only increased his excitement.
“I think all this has done made me more amped for the season to get here,” Culver said. “I’m a football coach and I haven’t been able to do any football in a while. I’m ready to get back to work.”