Questions by Charles Prince
The North Jefferson News
Q - You’ve been a college football coach for 10 years, why did you apply for the Gardendale High opening?
A - I’ve always had a great love for high school football. I enjoyed my time in college coaching, but in the back of my mind, my goal always was to be a high school head coach. I was familiar with Gardendale from my recruiting trips to the Birmingham area. I just fell in love with the place. I like the city of Gardendale, the location, the town, and the people I’ve met here.
Q - Many people are saying Gardendale can’t compete at the 6A level. What are your thoughts, can the Rockets win in 6A football?
A - I don’t listen to those doom and gloom people who say you can’t win here or can’t win there. I’ve been to just about every high school in Birmingham on recruiting trips. I know the talent level at the 6A schools. I talked with some high school coaches in Birmingham and some of them told me not to take the job. They said I’d be crazy to take it, but I don’t fell that way. Gardendale has some very good athletes. I think they can compete. Look at Mountain Brook—10 or 15 years ago, they weren’t winning. Nobody wanted that job. Now, they’re one of the top programs in the state. The same thing can happen at Gardendale. It may take some time, but we can win and be successful. Gardendale can be a top football program. I don’t agree with those people who think Gardendale can’t win in 6A football.
Q - What is your offensive philosophy and what is your base offense?
A - At Mississippi College, we ran a Spread offense with a shotgun and a no-huddle attack. But, I’m not tied to one system. I have to evaluate the talent at Gardendale and go from there. If we don’t have the players ideally suited to a no-huddle spread, then we’ll adjust and use a scheme our players can execute and that lets them make plays. I’ll fit my offense to our talent, not the other way around. We’ll have multiple offense looks to keep the defense off balance, regardless of what the base offense is. We’ll probably run some option as well. When we put a game plan together each week, it’ll be one that will allow our players to make plays and give them the best chance to win.
Q - What is your defensive philosophy and what is your base defense?
A - I love the 3-3 Stack defense we ran at Mississippi College. If it’s run right it’s a great defense. But formations don’t win football games, players do. We’ll run what gives our players the best chance to succeed. We’ll look at our players talents and put them to the best use. We’ll have multiple defensive sets. We won’t be tied to only one defensive scheme.
Q - What is your philosophy on preparing a team for the season or an upcoming game?
A - We’re going to work hard and get in the best shape possible. When the Gardendale Rockets take the field, we’ll be the best-conditioned, toughest, hardest-working team any club on our schedule will face. There won’t be one team in the state of Alabama who will out-work us. I’ll guarantee you that! It may take some time to get to where we want to be condition-wise. It’s a day-by-day process and it doesn’t happen overnight. Your athletes have to be in great condition, if you’re going to have a great football program.
Q - What can the Rocket players expect from Chris Fancher?
A - We’ll have fun, but we’ll work extremely hard. It’ll be an ongoing process to get our athletes to where we want them to be as players. We’ll going to be the best conditioned club in the state. That’s my goal. It’s a day-to-day thing. It may take a while. But we’re going to get there. We’re going to take the time and put in the work that’s required to get there. I also want to let them know that we’ll going to have success. Gardendale can be successful and win in 6A. We’re going to have players who act right and play the game the right way. I know coach Luker did a great job in those areas. He’s known for having players play hard and play the right way.
Q - What can player parents, booster club members and fans of Gardendale football in general expect from Chris Fancher?
A - I hope they’re excited, because my wife and I are excited to be here. I can’t wait to get started. So many exciting things are happening here. A new school is being built. A new field house is close to being finished. I’m excited about being in Gardendale and the challenge of turning the Rockets into a successful 6A program. There’s lots of work to do, but we’ll get it done. I hope the fans are excited, but when they see us win, I know they’ll be excited. I looking forward to seeing our players on the practice field and seeing what they can do. Who will fit where and learning about all of them and their talents. Maybe there are some good athletes, who aren’t playing football at Gardendale right now, for whatever reason. I’d like to ask them to join us. I hope the fans, players and boosters are as excited about this I am. I can’t wait to grab some barbecue and get started. I know that Gardendale can succeed in 6A football and I plan to be the head coach there when they do.
Questions by Charles Prince