As high school football season begins, coaches set aside their hobbies
Passion for coaching football is why first-year Augusta coach Jason Filbeck has invested scads of hours with his team for weights and conditioning, and with his coaches for meetings and contemplating the Orioles’ depth chart.
But football is a time and energy demand that sometimes requires a balance.
Many coaches turn to golf as a competitive outlet, or focus on family time as a way to make up for late nights and long absences. Buhler’s Steve Warner fishes and plays a smartphone videogame. Cheney’s Cory Brack takes short trips with his family.
Filbeck’s other love? Art.
“It’s a weird combination, a football coach who taught art,” said Filbeck, 34, who taught art for 10 years but teaches physical education at Augusta. “It’s just kind of a weird thing that the Lord has blessed me with more than one passion. I wanted to pursue both at the same time.”
He started drawing because of a sibling rivalry, eager to create drawings that one-upped his brother. A middle school teacher recognized his ability, and he now has a website where he sells his art.
“I really enjoy using that side of my brain, being creative,” Filbeck said. “I have a weird imagination. I think that’s OK to have. Art has been for me to see if I could put out there on paper what’s in my head.”
He creates series, including a current one that uses Rorschach tests and phobias. One drawing is of spiders, signifying arachnophobia, surrounding an ink blot that resembles a spider. Filbeck also has a series of art supply monsters and Medusa’s cousins, including one with a turtle on a male’s head.
During football season, though, Filbeck puts art on the back burner.
“Football is about space and spacial relationships, so the art brain is not necessarily opposite of that,” Filbeck said. “I hope I don’t come across as knowing everything about art and football. I’m not a pro at either. I just feel really lucky that I’ve got multiple facets that I’m interested in.”
West football coach Weston Schartz says he made mistakes raising his daughters, Shaye and Lindsay, who are 25 and 27.
“I spent too much time watching film,” he said. “Too much time on the practice field. No family vacations because I didn’t want to miss weights.”
He feels he has a second chance now — as grandpa to 18-month-old Shaylenn.
“It’s the second chance to make up for a lot of mistakes you had as a dad,” he said. “… You look back at the mistakes you made and you don’t make up for them, but you learn from them. I didn’t do anything wrong, but you’re so driven.
“I’m still driven, but there’s a happy medium.”
During the summer Schartz and his wife, Nancy, spent three or four days each week with Shaylenn, Shaye’s daughter. They spent most of their time in the pool, although Schartz bought memberships to the Sedgwick County Zoo and Botanica.
“I never thought I’d step foot in Botanica,” he said with a laugh. “We went there seven, eight times. As a grandparent, you’re doing things you never thought you would do.”
Golf as a getaway
When Andover Central’s final summer weights session ended in July, coach Tom Audley visited his younger brother, Larry — they’re the youngest of 12 siblings —who owns an Irish pub in the mountains of Pennsylvania.
“I always go right after we finish summer weights and before we come back and do our conditioning week,” Audley said. “I need to get away. My players don’t need to see me during that week. They need a break from me. I come back recharged, and I’ve had some fun.”
And played a lot of golf.
“Golf is where I can be the participant,” said Audley, who grew up in Iola and competed in football and track at Southwestern College. “When you grow up and you played multiple sports … well, my body won’t do any other sport now. (Golf is) what I’m stuck with.”
Most of Audley’s golf partners are other coaches, including Friends football coaches Monty Lewis and Matt Welch.
Goddard coach Scott Vang plays golf every Friday during the summer with other coaches, while Conway Springs coach Matt Biehler spends much of his summer playing with his brothers and dad. He also plays with Chaparral coach Justin Burke and Douglass coach Jeff Ast, who graduated from Conway Springs.
“For some people it’s not relaxing, but it is for me,” Biehler said. “… It’s a real nice hobby.”
Biehler primarily plays with two of his three brothers, Jeff and Doug, along with their dad, Jim, who is 72.
For the health of it
Wichita South coach Kevin Steiner, 34, says he doesn’t look like a marathon guy. “I’m short and heavy-set. Not really a runner’s body,” he said.
Coaching football tends to mean late nights, like Friday game nights, when he rarely thinks of eating until about 11.
“Then it’s get something quick and get home,” Steiner said. “And normally that involves the drive-through or get out of practice, take care of paperwork until 7:30 or 8 (p.m.) and get through the drive-through.
“… I lost my dad at 49 to a heart attack. With not having a runner’s body, I need to get that exercise in.”
Running is something he can do with Rachel, his wife of eight years. He discovered the competitive side and has run in one marathon and four half-marathons.