FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE For More Information Contact: Gloria Gritz, 651-681-9663 (Sept. 2, 2005) Coach Tom Orth directs a practice and takes a one-minute break for a photo with a few Henry Sibley High players. The Happy Warriors at Henry Sibley High School Football program continues to grow NFL All-Pro guard Jerry Kramer once said about his legendary taskmaster coach Vince Lombardi: “He doesn’t play favorites. He treats us all the same . . . like dirt!” Henry Sibley Warriors football coach Tom Orth takes the opposite approach. As he enters his sixth year at the helm of the Warrior football program, his firm but positive approach has created a resurgence of interest and participation in Warrior football. As the numbers have grown – from 89 six years ago to 130 today – so has the top-to- bottom success of all the teams in the program. Orth attributes the program’s success to some simple concepts. 1. hustle all the time 2. have fun while playing football 3. try to do everything with class 4. always exhibit a positive mental attitude (PMA). “There’s nothing very profound there,” he said, “but we really believe in these things and try to do them as a football family every day.” Comments from Henry Sibley faculty members indicate that the internal image of Orth’s team is positive in the classrooms and hallways of the school. He and his staff proactively monitor the academic progress and public behavior of team members. “You are always representing our football family,” Orth tells his players. “Were you a good person?’” Orth believes it’s a matter of how you define success. “We think our number of wins is not controllable for many reasons, but we can consistently provide the great experience of being a part of something positive for students who want to become a dedicated member of our Warrior football family.” One of Orth’s leadership practices is to delegate leadership responsibilities to the six assistant coaches and senior players. When warming up before practice the team forms into seven lines, with seniors at the head of each line. The seven coaches distribute themselves one to a line and take the time to connect with each of the players in their line, encouraging leadership from the seniors toward the underclassmen. Orth is the son of a high school coach of three sports, was captain of his high school team at Hoyt Lakes High School, and was captain of his college team at Hamline University. He currently serves as Associate Principal of Henry Sibley High School along with being the head football coach. “Tom really connects with kids,” said Matt Kraft, the associate principal at Friendly Hills Middle School and a former assistant coach under Orth. “He really believes there is good in every kid and that he can pull it out of them.” Win or lose this Friday, the team will do it together as a football family and learn something from it. In all likelihood, Coach Orth will ask them, “Were you a good person tonight?” # School District 197 serves the communities of Eagan, Inver Grove Heights, Lilydale, Mendota, Mendota Heights, Sunfish Lake, and West St. Paul. For more information, visit www.isd197.org.
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