Mission Prep head football coach Brady Lock resigned Tuesday, citing an inability to make sure his players were getting “a positive experience” out of the game.
“It just became apparent that at this point of the season I wasn’t being effective motivating these kids,” Lock said. “As a head coach, you have to be responsible for that. You’re the leader of the group, and you do whatever it takes to make it right.”
Lock, 56, will remain a full-time employee at the school, where he teaches economics.
In Lock’s place, assistant coach Chad Henry will take over on an interim basis.
Lock’s resignation comes after the Royals (2-2) lost 28-7 to Santa Barbara Bishop Diego and then 27-0 to Santa Maria over the past two weeks. In general, Lock said, players’ focus had noticeably waned at recent practices.
“I didn’t see a way I could change it,” Lock explained. “Instead of languishing through the rest of the season, I thought I might as well move on and let new people take charge.
“If the kids aren’t having a good experience it doesn’t matter what your record is. That’s paramount. That’s No. 1.”
Mission Prep is currently in arguably its most demanding schedule ever, having moved into the CIF-Southern Section from the weaker Central Section prior to this season.
Last week’s opponent, for example, Santa Maria, has an enrollment of nearly 2,500 and lists 13 players of at least 200 pounds. Mission Prep, with roughly 300 students, has three players at that size.
This past year, Mission Prep applied for entry into the Los Padres League in all sports except football, wanting to leave it out based on concerns over such depth and size differences.
The LPL, however, voted to accept the school only if it came in football, as well, which left the Royals independent for the time being.
Lock had previously coached for 20 years at St. Margaret’s of San Juan Capistrano, leading the Tartans to the third round of the Southern Section Division XIII playoffs in 2005. He didn’t rule out returning to coaching some day.
Lock came to Mission Prep as an athletic director in the summer of 2006 and became the head football coach prior to 2008.Recent years have seen a quick rise up the football totem poll for Mission Prep, which had been playing at the 8-man level in 2004 and didn’t have its own full-time home field until the start of 2008.
Lock went 19-8 overall since taking over and led the Royals to the Central Section Division V semifinals in 2008 and quarterfinals in 2009, with the latter year including an East Sierra League championship.
Henry, Lock said, will “have some new energy to infuse into the program,” and the players will “be excited about a new coach being out there and will respond positively. The program will continue to move forward.”
Mission Prep will host Linfield Christian (2-1) at 7 p.m. Friday.
Henry brings playing background from Poly
Henry, a 2000 finance graduate of Cal Poly, was a quarterback for the Mustangs from 1994 to 1998. His most productive season there came in 1998, when he went 103-of-202 passing for 1,480 yards and 13 touchdowns with six interceptions.
Henry, a 34-year-old account manager for TechXpress, said he hadn’t considered the prospects of coaching at the school into the distant future, but that he could be interested in staying on after the season.
“I’m just happy for the opportunity,” Henry said. “It was very unexpected.
“I’m just looking forward to giving it my best effort. If that opportunity (coaching long-term) presents itself at Mission, I’d be very open to the idea.”
Henry, who was promoted from his position as a defensive backs and receivers assistant, described himself as something of a players coach.
“As a coach, I think the best thing about it is having relationships with young men, helping them to move on in life and to accomplish what they want to in their respective careers,” he said.
Henry returned to the Central Coast this past spring after working in international business in Croatia and Hungary, where he also coached football on the side in an effort to help popularize the American-centric sport.
Henry said he has started to devise new ways of mixing up practices to boost team morale following the recent losses.
“Right now we need to move forward,” Henry said. “That’s going to be my main focus, players coming together, understanding what it means to be a family and learning to enjoy every game, whether it’s a win or a loss.”