Mililani football head coach Rod York has a sense of humor, but it doesn’t really show up that often during football season.
It’s not like he, the person, is all business all the time. But if the subject has to do with his Trojans football team, you can bet money that he’s dead serious about it.
To him, the welfare of his team is of the utmost importance. Sometimes that welfare means discipline, like last week when he doled out punishment to 15 players for breaking team rules. For many of the players, the one-game suspension turned into a one-quarter suspension. But the line was drawn. Whatever it was, it won’t happen again, and that was a very important step for York.
“They 100 percent got the message,” he told Hawaii Prep World this week before the team’s flight to play Liberty of Henderson, Nev., on Friday.
A similar thing happened during an on-campus camp a year ago, when some of the players weren’t taking some things seriously. He spoke to the whole team, and some of them later on said they cried when they realized just how important their mission was and how it made them bond even more.
We all know what happened after that. Mililani, state runner-up a year before, beat Punahou for the Division I state championship.
Bonding is a huge thing to York.
“There is no better way for the team to bond than by going on a trip off-island,” York said. “The rewards of that are unbelievable.”
And he doesn’t expect everything to go absolutely smoothly over there.
“Through conflict, you grow stronger,” he added. “The players grow together, the coaches grow together, and the team is stronger at the end of the day. We preach one team, one family, and our goal is to be 93 (players) strong.”
York said he expects the parents of the players to have a good time in Las Vegas, of which Henderson is a suburb.
The players? Not so much.
“This is a business trip,” York said. “We will tour the UNLV campus and eat buffets and maybe go to the mall.”
The Trojans planned to practice and eat dinner with Liberty (a 43-16 loser to No. 2 Saint Louis at Aloha Stadium last Saturday in its season opener) on Thursday.