Gallagher column: What a difference a year makes for Tedder

Published 12:00 am Thursday, August 11, 2011

GRANITE QUARRY — The first game and the last game of the 2010 football season were cause for celebration at East Rowan.
It was those nine games in between — all losses — that need to be addressed.
The Mustangs, in coach Chad Tedder’s first year as a head coach, finished 2-9. Going into his second season, Tedder realizes he learned as much as a first-year player.
“From Week 1 to Week 11, it was a big learning experience,” Tedder said. “As a head coach you have to deal with a lot. You don’t just go out and run practice and walk out on the football field on Friday night. It’s the in-between that makes you or breaks you.”
Tedder had to learn how to delegate and let other people take over. After years of being the defensive coordinator at West Davidson, he found himself controlling the offense at East. This year, he’s going back to the defensive side and allowing Danny Misenheimer to call the offensive shots.
“At West Davidson, I was defense, defense, defense,” he said. “All of our offensive coaches here were young. So I thought, ‘Let me take over offense and keep an eye on defense.’ I think I’m a better offensive coach now. But my baby’s defense.”

Tedder remembers his pre-game talk before Game 1 against North Rowan and his post-game talk after Game 11 against South Rowan.
His first outing as a head coach was not going very well as North Rowan shot out to a 20-0 lead. But the Mustangs made the big plays in the second half and scraped out a 21-20 victory.
“It was very emotional,” Tedder said of the pre-game. “I was at a school for 15 years and suddenly, it’s my first game away from West Davidson.”
It was almost a storybook finish for a first game as head coach.
“I attribute that to our kids not giving up and to conditioning,” he said. “Obviously, the first win was nice but I started shifting gears to Salisbury.”
That was Game 2, the start of a nine-game losing streak.
East ended the season with a 14-6 win over South Rowan in what Tedder called the team’s most complete game. He remembers the post-game.
“The kids were excited,” he said. “I told them how proud I was of them. The seniors went out winners, not losers. We had a very large senior class. Give them credit for not giving up.
“Sometimes, you won’t remember games 2 through 10. But you’ll remember Game 11.”

It’s carrying over. Tedder’s second season should go more smoothly. He had around 50 Mustangs at the summer workouts.
“The kids are believing in what we’re doing,” he said. “The kids improved physically. They’re pretty crisp. They’re in the right spots doing the right things.”
Going into Saturday’s scrimmage at Concord, Tedder seems much more relaxed and confident in where the program is heading.
“Where we are this year is leaps and bounds over last year as far as field preparation,” he said.
In other words, what a difference a year makes.

Contact Ronnie Gallagher at 704-797-4287 or