Coach learning the ropes at SK

A lot of learning goes on during the South Kitsap Summer Football Camp. And don’t think it’s just the kids doing all of it.

“You can’t help but do some learning,” assistant coach Ed Pierson said.

And he has been doing a lot since joining the staff just over a year ago as the Wolves’ tight ends coach. Pierson also helps out with the linebackers.

Pierson has coached on and off through the years, leading pee-wee football teams or coaching girls’ basketball leagues, but since this is his first high-school level coaching position, he has had plenty to learn.

“A lot of the terminology is different,” Pierson said. “I don’t know if it’s an East coast–West coast thing.”

Pierson, who grew up in the Washington, D.C., area and played college football at the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., said the biggest problem he has had is getting the terminology straight. What he grew up calling a weak-side linebacker, Willie, where as at SK it’s called a Wolf.

And there are plenty of other subtle differences, like defensive ends now being called linebackers or tackles and the like.

“That was confusing,” Pierson said. “I still have a lot to learn. But the other coaches are great because they explain things. And I do feel more comfortable with the basic stuff. Give me a couple more years and I’ll get it all down.”

Pierson, who runs a software company and also serves in the Naval Reserve, is the only coach on staff who does not work in the district — something he does not take lightly.

“I don’t know if that’s rare or not but I feel pretty honored to be not an actual teacher (at the school) but still part of the staff here,” Pierson said. “Again, I’m learning as much as anybody out here.

Pierson said he was contacted last year about the opening to coach tight ends and decided to go for it, even though it would be a tough haul with his full-time job and Naval career.

But after talking with then-athletic director Steve Reischman and coach D.J. Sigurdson, he knew this is what he wanted to do.

“I enjoy this. I really do,” Pierson said. “And I’m honored to be part of the program. There are so many outstanding people here. I mean, the players are awesome; they are just a great reflection of the student athlete.”

Sigurdson, who has seen his staff change drastically over the past two years, said he’s glad to have Pierson on board.

“When we hired him, he didn’t have any experience at the high-school level coaching, but he’s very good,” Sigurdson said. “He’s a very good coach. But I think the thing that makes him good is that he has a very good attention to detail. He wants to know ... he wants to learn how to teach it.”

Sigurdson said Pierson doesn’t just tell kids what to do because it says so on his coaching sheet; he wants to know everything about why they are doing it and relay that information to the players.

“He had a real good foundation, and the growth has been just natural,” Sigurdson said. “Now he understands it a little better. He’s done a good job, I’m real happy with him. He’s tremendously loyal to his players, to this program and to the staff.”

Sigurdson said he likes the fact that Pierson takes ownership of anything that happens. When a player makes a mistake, he is right there to help him fix it and owns up to the mistake if he gave the player some wrong information.

And that’s something Sigurdson really likes.

“He has very good personal qualities as a coach,” Sigurdson said.

But the bottom line is success and growth, and Sigurdson has seen both.

“Yes, absolutely,” he said. “And he’ll be better next year than he is this year.”

Friday saw the Wolves wrap up their week-long camp for both junior and high-school age players. Players are now free from football, except lifting weights, until practice gets under way Aug. 17.

The Wolves first game is Sept. 5 against Mercer Island in the Emerald City Kickoff Classic held at Qwest Field in Seattle.

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