Marcus High School's Online Newspaper

The Marquee

Marcus High School's Online Newspaper

The Marquee

Marcus High School's Online Newspaper

The Marquee

Head football coach adapts to changing high schools

Mike Alexander takes on new role as Athletics Director and Head Football Coach

Football has been at the center of new Athletic Director and Football Head Coach Mike Alexander’s life since he was in high school. In college he played defensive back at Arkansas Tech University and was a four year letterman. He followed that with coaching as a graduate assistant.  Alexander knew he wanted to stay involved in football once his playing career ended, making coaching an obvious choice. 

When he graduated, he had a decision to make–coaching high school football or continuing to coach in college. High school coaching seemed to be more realistic. It came with its pros such as being close to family and having a more stable lifestyle. With the responsibility of a new family, he knew that the college coaching life wouldn’t be sustainable.  He also wanted to make an impact on young men the same way his coaches had on him.

“I had a lot of coaches that invested in my life when I was a high school student and some of the most influential people in my life were my high school coaches,” Alexander said. “Taking on that responsibility, I knew early on that what I wanted was to be a part of young people’s lives and help them accomplish their goals.” 

Alexander coached football at Garland, Abilene, Rockwall and Mount Vernon before he ended up spending eight years at Grapevine High School. 

Coming from Grapevine, Alexander had a 74-26 record while going undefeated in district games his last three seasons. When Alexander was offered the coaching job at the school, he knew it was where he wanted to be. Marcus had something that Grapevine didn’t–the challenge of a new team in a tougher district.

“I was at a point in my career where I wanted a new challenge and to be challenged,” Alexander said. “ And I knew that Marcus football had a lot of potential.” 

With over 300 players in the program, this is the largest team Alexander has ever coached. Introducing an entirely new offense and defense as well as getting used to a new coaching staff has been difficult. 

“The smaller the class size, the easier it is to make connections with the teacher,” Alexander said. “It’s been harder than I thought, probably coming in to establish those deep relationships because there’s so many kids.” 

To build community Alexander has brought in traditions from his previous job at Grapevine, while still keeping the school’s existing traditions.

 “Creating more of a community feel into the field house has been something that I’ve done immediately.” Alexander said.

Alexander said On game days, they have breakfast with the dads in the field house and have a team meeting.

He has also brought with him a new set of team values. This is what he calls the “Marcus DNA.” These values include attitude, compete, tough, family, disciplined, and fight. 

“We feel like your attitude sets your altitude and fuels your energy,” Alexander said. “That’s the message we keep preaching: control your attitude, and take whatever life brings at you and welcome it because change is inevitable.” 

Changes such as implementing new playbooks and schemes on both sides of the ball have forced the team to learn and adapt on the fly. Senior wide-receiver Karic Grennan said has adjusted to the environment. 

“I feel like the new coaching staff gave a new view of the game, and I feel like it’s allowed all the seniors and upcoming grades to play better and play smarter,” Grennan said. “His view of the game just brings a different perspective to the team and allows us to see the game through his eyes.”

To kick off the season the team played the 12th ranked team in the state, Highland Park. This was Alexander’s first taste of division 6A football. Going into the game he was anxious about how his team would respond to the ups and downs of the game.   

“You know how you prepared and so you already kind of know what your strengths and weaknesses are,” Alexander said. “But what you don’t know is how those individual players are going to respond to adversity. Quite honestly, I think we’ve learned a lot over the first three games of how to respond.” 

While the shift in schools has brought many changes for Alexander, some factors have stayed the same such as  the understanding of what playing for Marcus truly means. Alexander sees the support from the staff and students wanting the team to be successful.

“They’re not apathetic about our teams. They want to do their part,” Alexander said. “The players understand the expectation, and they understand that … there’s a high standard that they have to meet to wear the M and that’s been refreshing and fun to take over a place that already has that in place.”

Alexander’s goals for the year focus on making it to the playoffs and being the best version of themselves by the end of the season. 

“My goal would be for us to…continue to improve through district play,” Alexander said.  “And when we get to the playoffs, we’re playing our best football and giving Marcus High School the opportunity to go on a playoff run that everybody will remember.”

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About the Contributors
Grayson McCrate
Grayson McCrate, Reporter
Grayson (he/him) is a first year sophomore staffer and a reporter for the marquee. He loves football and basketball, along with hanging out with friends. 
Janisha Kesar
Janisha Kesar, Reporter
Janisha Kesar (she/her) is a first year staffer. She is really excited for her first year on the staff.  She loves listening to music (especially BTS). She loves choir and her long calls with her best friend. 

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