When Reggie Shaw got the opportunity to become the football coach at A.C. Flora, one factor was at the top of his list of priorities.
He would not try to do things his way.
“I don’t think you go into a program that’s had a lot of success and change things for the sake of change,” said Shaw, who is at the helm at Flora after four seasons at Ben Lippen.
The A.C. Flora Falcons, who had three of the program’s most successful seasons under Dean Howell, are headed in the right direction, and Shaw said making as little change as possible would be the key to continuing that progress.
So far, things are going according to his plan.
“It’s been incredibly smooth,” he said. “I think the fact we were able to keep a lot of the coaching staff in place is big factor in that.”
Retaining long-time assistants such as defensive coordinator Mark Cagle and strength coach Micah Curtz was among the big keys for Shaw.
The Falcons lost offensive coordinator Bart Miller. But having Dennis Curtis, who played under Miller and coached with him for the past four years, means Flora also has retained its character on offense.
Curtis is excited about the change in his role with the team.
“This something I’ve been working for, and I was really fortunate that coach Shaw gave me a chance,” Curtis said. “We’re going to do our best to keep things going the way they’ve been going, and we’re going to run the offense we’ve been running for four years.”
Shaw and the Falcons’ staff have been working hard to make certain that the Falcons’ players experience little upheaval.
Cagle said Shaw’s priorities for the program, on and off the field, have helped to ensure that.
“Coach Shaw is a great football coach and a tremendous man, and it’s of the utmost importance to him that we continue to influence the lives of young men,” Cagle said. “I’m blessed to work with him as that process continues.”
Cagle said the Falcons don’t expect many setbacks on the field, either.
“The fruit of the program we had with coach Howell and the guys has continued to ripen. Just like every year, you lose great players. That hurts, but we’ve got some good seeds in place,” Cagle said.
In fact, Shaw may be the Falcon experiencing the most change.
He is moving from a SCISA squad with fewer than 40 players that won three games last season to a Class 3A squad with a roster twice as big and a reputation as a postseason powerhouse.
“At Ben Lippen, I had to do a lot of things, and I got to develop a knowledge base about everything on the field,” Shaw said. “Here, the big difference is I’m able to be more of a manager, rather than a jack of all trades coaching some of everything. I’m able to focus on the big picture.”