Dantzler Building a New Culture at Central

By Randy Whetstone Jr.

Photo by Cory Young

Central has started the 2017 football season in traditional winning fashion. The only thing new is their coach. Coach Marvin Dantzler is the new sheriff in town and so far, he’s had a great start as the Yellowjackets’ coach, leading Central to victories in their first three games of the season.

It’s always intriguing to see how kids respond to a new coach – especially seniors – after they have been emotionally invested in previous coaches.

Central’s upperclassmen came up short last season in the Class 3-A championship game to Belfry, but perhaps their greatest challenge will be adjusting to a new coach after playing under Ty Scroggins who coached Central the last decade. reaching seven state championships during that span.

But that’s what makes coaching so special: having the innate ability to take any group of players, get them to buy in and then lead them to their destiny. Time will tell if he’ll be able to get his team through the season and playoffs, all the way to hoisting a state title come December.

History is on his side. Dantzler has shown an ability to lead kids down a successful road. Before coming to Kentucky, he coached in Louisiana at Patterson High School. Prior to that, he led Booker T. Washington in Tulsa, Oklahoma to the playoffs in four straight seasons and posted a 33-12 record.

I had the chance to speak with Dantzler to see how his experience has been at Central up to this point. So far, he’s handled the adjustment quite well.

Describe your transition to Central.

The transition to Central has been very smooth, great administration, students and community support. I am very impressed with the people of Central. It’s a good place to work.

What excites you the most about this program?

I am excited about the possibility of where we can be in two to three years as a program, the winning tradition that has been established before I got here and now with my staff, we want to continue to build on it.

Describe any obstacles you’ve endured in this first year.

“There are always obstacles whenever there’s change, but for the most part the transition has been smooth. The hardest thing for me honestly was probably finding a school for my son.

What is your coaching philosophy and how do you go about implementing that on a daily basis?

I am still old school in my approach that you have to be able to run the ball and stop the run to win anything important. With that said, when we have good athletes in space on offense like some of the guys we have this year it is important to find ways to get those guys the ball. I believe in having an identity and hopefully we can execute what we do at a higher level than the opponent.

What culture are you seeking to establish?

I want a culture of accountability and high expectations. We don’t just want to win on the field, but we want to be winners in life. The way you do one thing should be the way you do everything.

How will you continue the success that this program has had in the last decade?

I think my approach is to not get caught up in the past decade but embrace the history and do things that I believe in. I am a competitor and a winner and I expect to win. So, if I just keep that approach I think the end results will be okay.

What do you envision in the future of Central football?

My vision is to be at Central for years to come, first of all, and to build a football program that is a premier 3A program into a premier national program. That vision will be to not only change the culture on the field, but change the culture in the classroom as well. I have always stood behind high academics and the student-athlete approach.” VT