After making it to the semifinals in last year’s playoffs, the Coronado High School football team is set on winning a league title this fall with the added challenge of moving up a division.
For the past six years, the Islanders competed in Division IV but have been bumped up to Division III for 2023 because of their recent success.
Kurt Hines, head football coach since 2017, said he is excited about the young team and upcoming season, which opens at home on Aug. 18 against Montgomery.
“The guys are buying in and they’re working hard; I’m just excited about the young talent,” Hines said. “Whenever you are a real young team, it forces you as a coach to step up your game because sometimes you can get a little bit comfortable if you have a lot of returning players, so it’s a good thing.”
While the team may be young with only one returning starter, the 14-man coaching staff has a wide range of diversity in age and experience.
Phillip Simpson III and Kai Concepcion, two former CHS players, bookend the younger side of the staff at 21, while 76-year-old Mike Pompa is the most senior member with 40-plus years of experience in coaching football. Before CHS, he was the head coach of Southwestern college for a few years.
Never call it just a game
Assistant Head Coach Mark Davis said Hines is the best coach the school has seen in Davis’s 20 plus years of coaching at Coronado High. That’s because Hines brings a well-rounded mentality to the game of football, Davis said.
“The most important thing for our team is it’s our job to serve the players,” Hines said. “It’s a beautiful game, but I’ll never call it just a game; there’s too much that goes into it, and too many lives that are changed if you do it the right way. So our main mission is to build champions on and off the field.”
With so many different ages and years of experience, Hines said he appreciates the staff’s willingness to learn from each other, and their wide variety of expertise is building a program built on a mission deeper than football.
Football is a microcosm of life in a way…A lot of kids can benefit from football, but a lot of kids need the family aspect of it.”-Brockton Hines, son of the head coach and Coronado’s outside linebackers coach.
“Football is a microcosm of life in a way,” Brockton Hines, son of Kurt Hines and the team’s outside linebackers coach said. “A lot of kids can benefit from football, but a lot of kids need the family aspect of it, and people to raise them up. So, I think in that regard, everybody is in the same mission of trying to do that.”
While it is important to the coaches to create a team that looks like family, some of the staffers literally already are related.
On staff are two father-son pairs: head coach Hines and his son, Brockton. Then there is Head JV Coach Phil Simpson and his son and recent CHS graduate, Phillip Simpson III.
Hines also was the head coach for his son’s rival team in high school. Now, with both coaching for CHS, the two are on the same team for change.
Phillip Simpson III joined his dad on the coaching staff after graduating from Coronado High in 2020, and this will be his second year coaching.
My dad has been both my coach and my father pretty much all of my life, so it’s nothing new to me.”-Phillip Simpson III
“My dad has been both my coach and my father pretty much all of my life, so it’s nothing new to me,” Phillip Simpson III said. “It’s just now that I am working with him instead of him working with me.”
All of the intertwined dynamics of the 14 members of the 2023 CHS coaching staff weave together in a singular goal:
“I tell our staff all the time: if the only thing we do is help them become better football players, we’re failing them,” Kurt Hines said. “We’ve got to help them thrive.”
The 14 CHS football coaches:
Kurt Hines: Head Coach, OC, QB
Mark Davis: Assistant Head Coach, DC
Brockton Hines: OLB, Assistant WR
Phil Simpson: Head JV coach, WR/ILB, JV DC
Daniel Ramirez: OL/DL, PAT/FG
Chris Smith: Assistant RB, Assistant DT, Assistant KO
Rick Real: TE (Assistant WR)/ Assistant DT
Kai Concepcion: Assistant OL/ Assistant DL, Assistant PAT/FG
Pete Weinert: Assistant OL/ Assistant DL
Jordy Harrison: Assistant QB/ Assistant OLB, JV OC
Romeo Torres: RB/ DB, Assistant with punt
Mike Pompa: DL (DE)/ Assistant OL
Phillip Simpson III: Assistant OL/ Assistant DL
Darius Guess: Assistant WR/ Assistant DB, Assistant KO