Cougar Football Ready For New Beginnings

Ron+Wayman

Ron Wayman

Spring is the season of new beginnings. Flowers bloom, animals wake up from their long Winter’s naps, and the Earth seems to come to life again. Doors and windows open, and people welcome new light. The clocks move ahead, and people say hello to extra time and goodbye to the dark days of Winter. We hope for a new beginning with the coming of Spring. After a year of a pandemic where school activities stifled most activity, never has the beginning of Spring rang out loudly, and never has there been a time where a new start has been desired than on the campus of Weston Ranch High School. And for the football team at Weston Ranch, never has Spring been more welcomed.

This Friday, after 14 months, the Cougars will play football. Yes, the Cougars will play football in the Spring. As odd as that sounds, it’s true. Weston Ranch will begin their short 5-week season this Friday against VOL rival Sierra High School at Sierra. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 pm.

Sping football couldn’t come soon enough for head coach Ron Wayman. Like the long wait the students and teachers have endured during the uncertainties that came with the pandemic lockdowns, Wayman had the difficult job of keeping the football team going. Hired as the new football coach 14 months ago, Wayman had big dreams for the Cougars. But, a funny thing happened to Wayman on his way to the stadium.

The program was in a bit of disarray. Coaching changes (Wayman is the third coach to helm the program in the last four years), player transfers, apathy and indifference from the campus, and everything else that new coaches inherit stood in the way of Wayman’s big dreams for re-establishing WRHS as a solid VOL competitor. Add all of the previously mentioned into the fact that the Cougars are perpetually rebuilding, and it’s a monumental task even to consider taking over the program. But, for Wayman, it’s a task he gladly accepted.

“Similar to my players, I am very excited,” Wayman told The Prowl from the football offices here at WRHS. “Truly, this is a dream come true for me, and I can’t wait for everyone (the school, their classmates, and the community) to see how each athlete has embraced the changes and wants the success of this program. This will be a process of rebuilding the program and changing the culture, but every step is a challenge and lots of fun. And it is great to have the dedicated athletes, the school, and the community in support of this.”

Changing the culture will be the first thing on Wayman’s “to-do” list. Cougar football hasn’t been relevant for some time. The last time the Cougars won a championship was 2005. The last time the Cougars made it to the playoffs was that same year of 2005. WRHS has been competitive in some of those years since 2005 and has produced excellent students and fine young people, but consistency in the program has been sorely lacking. There hasn’t been a leader, and when there isn’t someone to follow, the ones looking for a leader lose hope. But, Wayman hopes to change that outlook.

“My philosophy is simple: 1Team1Mission,” Wayman said. “What this means is that the team, the school, and the community are in this together with the mission of success and changing the culture…..1 Team with 1 Mission. The other part of my philosophy is one I share almost daily, and that is that each athlete must take care of 2 things to be successful: They need to take care of what they do in the classroom (study, get good grades, and apply themselves) and then take care of business on the football field (which is practices, looking at game film, taking care of their health, and being ready to play each day). The key to this is that it starts in the classroom. Without taking care of business at the school, they can’t take the business on the football field.”

Along with changing the culture, Wayman is tasked with changing the mindset. How do you convince 30+ football players what they are doing is meaningful and has a purpose? Looking up from the bottom year after year doesn’t mean you will always be on the bottom, but the losing mindset is tough to shake. However, Wayman sees this as another excellent opportunity for himself and his coaching staff.

“Changing the status starts with changing the mindset of the players and coaches,” Wayman stated. “When I became the Head Coach, I went out and got the best coaches that I could to help me change this mindset. The combined coaching and playing time of these coaches is over 150 years. Each coach brings a vast amount of knowledge, skill, and coaching ability to this program. A key ingredient to the coaching staff is the love for the school, the players, and the community. Several coaches have graduated and played for the program and want this program to be a winning program.”

The foundation is in place, and the big plans and ideas are taking shape on paper. How will these transfer to the field? Only time will tell, but Wayman seems to know what he wants for his team, and WRHS will look to embrace it this Friday.

Wayman beamed, “My assessment of the team is it is a good mix of returners and new players. Great for today and great for the future. It has been a very interesting year, two seasons scheduled and two seasons postponed. Now we have a five-game season, which is truly outstanding. These athletes have put in over a year for this. There is a lot of talent on this team, and it will be great to see them play. Practices are good, tons of excitement, and tons of hard work. Since we returned with a schedule two weeks ago, you can feel the excitement and see the desire to play in each of the players.”

Just as Spring means welcoming new beginnings, Cougar football will receive its new beginning.

“This is the beginning of the change,” Wayman summed up. “Is there still a lot of work to do? Definitely, but this will not be an overnight change. It will take time, which leads me back to the first question when you asked me how it feels to have this job that finally arrived. This is it. There are players, great athletes who embrace the dream of changing the culture of football at Weston Ranch and making it a winning program. As a coach, if you have this caliber of players, physically, emotionally, and mentally talented, it makes being a coach a dream position—-my dream position.”

Kickoff for this Friday’s game at Sierra is 7 pm. Best of luck to Coach Wayman and the Cougars.