Talk to enough high school football coaches, and you’ll hear quickly and a lot about the “next man up” mentality.
In a business where your oldest — and often, most experienced — players leave your program each year with diplomas, replacing lost talent is a fact of life. And given that there’s no (legal) way to keep your star seniors for a fifth year, what else can you do but embrace that annual challenge?
But while most programs talk the talk on the “next man up” concept, achieving consistent success through heavy graduation losses is often easier said than done. It’s this truth that makes what Cooper has done the past decade and a half pretty remarkable.
In the midst of a 14-year playoff streak that’s spanned three coaches, the Cougars have reached the third round of the playoffs nine times while posting just one losing season since 2007. So when current coach Aaron Roan says his answer to graduating a pair of record-setters in running back Noah Garcia and quarterback Aidan Thompson is, “Next man up,” what can you do but trust him?