Written By: Drew Johnson (@RealNews102)
It can be difficult inserting yourself into a new school and community but first-year head coach Tyler Eden has helped reignite the championship spirit in the city of Bartow.
After no playoff win in 17 years, the Bartow Yellow Jackets nearly clinched a district championship and took down a rival in round one of the playoffs, seemingly encapsulating the vision Coach Eden had preached since his hire.
“More than anything and more than winning that playoff game which is great, but the kids helped move the needle on what people think about Bartow,” Eden said. “That’s how I want it to be, a true family and brotherhood where you protect that legacy and tradition to build on that culture.”
For those who don’t know, Bartow is a program that knows about winning. I remember first watching coach Eden during the Polk 7v7 tournament and it was evident that he had already made an impact on the young men.
Eden previously coached as an offensive coordinator at University School in Ohio and Davenport High School (FL) as an offensive coordinator.
He said that God has blessed him with the opportunity to be a head coach but he couldn’t predict that blessing would come with a championship city with a history of winning.
“I wanted to be a head coach that was always my greatest desire,” Eden said. “I had some schools that offered me in Ohio and Florida but it wasn’t the right fit or wasn’t the right time. Out of nowhere, Bartow, you know coach Tate went back to Ridge and the timing was just perfect. We made it happen and ever since it’s just been non-stop blessings from the community, from the players and coaches.”
CHECK OUT THE REST OF THE INTERVIEW ANSWERS FROM HEAD COACH TYLER EDEN. CHEERS
Bartow Football Talk: First year at HC for Bartow, what difficulties arise for coaches to come in year one trying to establish themselves, their vision, and plans for the program?
One of the big things for me that was so difficult because of the open enrollment rules was are my players going to stay. That was one of the things I had to make sure my players were bought in and I’m trying to do that from 2000 miles away while getting my family together to move. We were able to which was awesome and the players were bought in from day one they did a great job.
Underdog Players: You guys have some Real Deal senior prospects on the team, I’ve personally interviewed Jaydon Williams, and some other seniors like DJ Galva, Qauvion Bird, and Laddarius Davis. Just talk about some of the underdog seniors and how proud you are of this team and group of seniors.
I can’t say enough about them. These kids played here in Bartow at 555 together for so long. Just to have them come home, it’s just something about home. When you’re able to bring your city up and to do these things (for the community). And now these are the people who watched you in Little League. These are the people that know your people and like your family are close with them. And now they are at the game watching you I just think is so special.
Drew’s Coach Speech
- What skills and knowledge do you think are most important for a person who wants to work as a head coach?
You got to be two things. You got to be organized, really well organized. And you have to be really good at building relationships and communicating. Communication and Personability. Being able to empathize with a wide variety of people. And you got to be able to communicate. Got to be able to explain this is the vision for our program this is the vision for our offense and defense. Being able to structure and organize that to actually get the results you want. I think those are the three big ones: Communicate, Be Organized, and Build Relationships. Invest in the relationships because everything else will come and go but the relationships is what it’s all about. Those will last forever.
- What do you hope to achieve throughout your coaching tenure whether that’s continuing to inspire young men and impacting your community?
I sure hope that I lead a bunch of young men to Christ. Hopefully, when my time is done, God will say you did exactly what I wanted you to do and you had the right mentality. That’s what I’m hoping. #2, I hope to build really great husbands and fathers. That’s not maybe for everybody, not everyone is meant to be a dad or husband but you can be a great son, friend, brother, or businessman. One thing we’re going to really start talking about is choosing excellence. That’s something I hope to teach these young men is to choose to be excellent in every area of your life. Of course, when you’re talking about a more tangible goal, I want to win championships. When it comes to coaching football the one thing I’ve always wanted to do was win championships. District championships, regional championships, and state championships. And to produce a team that can do that at a consistent year in year-out basis. That’s my goals from the spiritual side and the football side.
- What’s new about coaching and recruiting from when you played and first started out coaching?
Man, it’s a mess a total mess. High school recruiting has been completely destroyed. It started with COVID-19, giving guys 5-7 years to play. You got guys that are 35 years old playing college football. That was a problem. The transfer portal destroyed it. If I need a corner that can play at the highest level, am I going to get even a 5-star high school kid that I have to develop and wait for him to be good in the next year or two, or am I going to get a kid from Bowling Green that was a really good player but didn’t make it but developed into a DOG and could possibly be a high draft pick, I’m going to get that kid. But what it’s done is push kids down. Power 5 kids have become Group of 5 kids. Group of 5 kids have become FCS. FCS to DII and so on. My message to the kids is to stay strong and positive and never turn your back on an opportunity in this day of age. If you get a D2 or D3 offer and you have the opportunity to do it and you want to play ball it’s really going to show you how much you love the sport.
- Throughout all your years of playing and coaching ball – in your opinion- what makes a successful football player
Coachable. First thing. They don’t have all the answers and they don’t know everything. By the way, that makes a great coach too. Not being a know-it and being filled with pride and ego but being coachable. The next big thing is a strong work ethic. If you put yourself above your team I promise you will not be rewarded in this sport. This is a team sport where you need 11 guys all doing their job at the same time to succeed, you got to be willing to be selfless and do whatever is asked.
Goal: Had you on for some time, what’s your message to Bartow Nation I know you guys have a lot in the works, AND what is the goal heading into year two?
My goal is to continue the good work which is building a championship-winning culture. It’s all going to be about how we do what we do. We took a huge step in year one. There is no doubt in my mind and you can @ me if you want but we are a Top 3 team in Polk County. Anything that you may have seen on the field or on the sideline that you thought was not right, we saw it too. We’re ready to fix it and ready to continue to get better and perfect this program so they can be the crown jewel of not only Polk County but Central Florida and then the state.
** LIVE FULL INTERVIEW WILL BE ON YOUTUBE @ DRSPORTZ **