Today: Jun 17, 2024

Cavanaugh’s path to coaching

photo courtesy | New Haven Football The Owls under Rich Cavanaugh are 167-123-1, makinging him the winningest coach in program history.

Jennifer Hoffer – Sports Writer – 

Owl’s football head coach Rich Cavanaugh has been around football his entire life and has grown to love the game more and more each year.

“I had excellent mentors when I was younger while playing football,” Cavanaugh said. “I had very good coaches who impressed me. I just wanted to follow in their footsteps.”

Cavanaugh not only coaches football for the love of the game, but also said he does it for the sole privilege of watching a team grow and mature. He said playing football, or participating in some other kind of sport, makes way for certain life lessons that can be taken with each individual person even after college.

“They all learn to work hard, deal with setbacks, learn to compete, and most importantly learn to make sacrifices,” Cavanaugh said.

There are definitely some different life lessons that are involved in football, but also in athletics in general, said Cavanaugh.

“Those are some lessons,” Cavanaugh said, “that you can learn and apply throughout your life.”

Quarterback Jacob Jablonski, said it’s a pleasure to be coached by Cavanaugh. He’s not only taught him how to be a better player, he said he has learned that it’s more than just throwing touchdowns; Cavanaugh has helped him become a student of the game.

“Now I am able to read defenses effectively,” Jablonski said. “From what I see, I can understand where other players will be on the field at all times. He has allowed me to understand a side of football that is most important, and that is the real X’s and O’s.”

The most important lesson Jablonski said that he has taken away from Cavanaugh is how to carry yourself on a daily basis.

“Mistakes will be made,” Jablonski said. “Nobody is perfect and the best way to learn from your mistakes is to own up to them like a man, and to face any obstacles straight forward and direct.”

Cavanaugh is humbled by Southern’s decision to take him on as the head coach of this football team and said he owes a great deal to them.

“Just the experience I have had and the people I’ve come into contact with over the years has made this job much more exciting and worthwhile for me,” Cavanaugh said. “Working with the administrators, professors, staff members and obviously all the outstanding young students is a great benefit in itself.”

Tight End Jerome Cunningham said he was grateful to be coached by Cavanaugh during his time here.

“Cavanaugh creates a hard-working atmosphere, I can tell you that,” Cunningham said. “He always pushes athletes because he wants the best out of us, and nothing less than that. But this hard-work ethic carried to the classroom. He made sure we knew that.”

Cunningham said that Cavanaugh taught him to be not only a well-rounded player, but a well-rounded individual.

“I wasn’t really a feature blocker when I came here,” Cunningham said. “I was told I had to be a blocker and a receiver made me a more consistent player. But the one lesson that I can really take from him is that just to move on go to the next day. Just to carry on don’t let anything hold you back.”

Seeing his players grow over the years is something Cavanaugh said is his favorite aspect of coaching; something he has a lot of pride in.

“It’s the most rewarding experience I get out of coaching,” Cavanaugh said. “When you really watch the transformation of the student from his freshman year to his senior year. You see how they each have matured and grown, both mentally and physically, as they have come in as boys and are leaving as men.”

As for looking towards the future of the team, Cavanaugh said he is excited for what this team holds and wants to get back on track with this program.

“We have a very good nucleus coming back,” Cavanaugh said. “We have some talented young men that are working extremely hard. I’m really looking forward to coaching them.”

photo courtesy | New Haven Football foundation.orgThe Owls under Rich Cavanaugh are 167-123-1, makinging him the winningest coach in program history.
photo courtesy | New Haven Football
The Owls under Rich Cavanaugh are 167-123-1, makinging him the winningest coach in program history.

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