Aldrich: No need to rebuild, simply build
Mike Aldrich doesn’t believe in rebuilding. He doesn’t believe in the word potential, either. He wants to win at Minot State, and win now.
The third of three finalists to interview on campus for the MSU head football coach job, Aldrich made his vision for the Beavers’ future clear on Tuesday at a community forum at the MSU Dome.
“It doesn’t matter if you’re 11-1 the year before or if you’re 2-9, you gotta build every single day and I think that this program is ripe to keep building and getting bigger,” said Aldrich, the former Augustana head coach and current Wayne State (Neb.) defensive coordinator.
At Augustana, Aldrich’s first squad posted 11 wins. He’s been in the former position before. And last year, the Beavers compiled a 2-9 record. They’re in that latter position now.
To get MSU back on track – and it wouldn’t be rebuilding, to be sure – Aldrich indicated he’d throw a wrench into things. Practices would be different, the players tough and the team a family.
‘”I’m not a cookie-cutter coach,” he said. “I want to do things different and better than they’ve ever (been) done before.”
That approach didn’t agree with athletics administrators and donors during his three-year stint at Augustana, but it did produce wins. He remains the lone coach in program history to record winning seasons in each of his first two years. After compiling a 22-13 record from 2010-2012 – including a 5-6 campaign his final season – his contract was not renewed, leading him to his current position at Wayne State.
“At the time, it was tough on me because we had so much success and it was a family,” Aldrich said. “It’s been about a year now to wrap my head around it. … It’s given me a great opportunity to get back and dive into the Xs and Os and given me a great opportunity to get perspective on a multitude of things to help me be a better head coach the next time.”
Aldrich’s defenses at Augustana conceded 21.3 points per game, while Wayne State gave up 35.5 a game in 2013. His brand of football is aggressive and wild, schematic and includes many moving parts. He described it as a nightmare to prepare for.
“I do know that a lot of the time (opposing coaches) don’t have a lot of fun the week that they prepare for our defense – win or lose,” Aldrich said, “just because we do so many things and it gives them some fits and lets them stay up late at night. I enjoy doing that to other coaches.”
Offensively, his plan would be to hire his offensive coordinator at Augustana, Steve Olinger. The Augies posted 30.7 points per game in three years under Olinger’s direction with Aldrich as head coach.
In 2010, when Aldrich was named the American Football Coaches Association Region 5 Coach of the Year, Augustana outscored opponents by 15 a game. Aldrich was a finalist for national coach of the year. That success was a product of aggressive football. Something he hopes to bring to Minot State.
Said Aldrich: “Gen. (George) Patton was one of the better leaders of our country and he had a quote during World War II that said, ‘There’s no such thing as defending. It’s attack, attack and attack some more.’ … That’s the style I like to play.”
Ryan Holmgren covers Minot State athletics and high school sports. Follow him on Twitter @ryanholmgren.