Yancey Marcum, West Jessamine High School's new head football coach, wants to build a sense of pride and toughness in the school's football program.
Marcum is no stranger to team that he's looking to turn around. He played football and basketball at West Jessamine, graduating in 2000. From there he played football at Youngstown State.
After graduating in 2005, he returned to West Jessamine as an assistant coach.
For six seasons he was the defensive coordinator. In 2012 he became offensive coordinator. In 2013, not much more than a decade after he left as a player, he took over as coach.
He's looking to build a winning program.
Marcum knows it takes time. West Jessamine finished 1-9 in 2011 and 3-8 in 2012. He's welcoming the challenge with open arms.
Ken Cox, District Athletic Director of Jessamine County Schools, said that Marcum was a "fantastic" hire.
"What he brings to the program is a passion for West Jessamine High school," Cox said. "He played at West; he was an assistant at West. He brings an immediate passion to West Jessamine that someone else coming in wouldn't have."
For Marcum, building a solid base of character and pride is the first step in the right direction.
He wants his team to compete — both on and off the field.
And he doesn't mind his players having confidence so long as they're working hard.
"You can be confident if you know you're going to out-fight and out-work everybody out here," Marcum said. "And have that mentality that it's good to be West Jessamine — that we are West Jessamine."
Marcum wants his rising senior class to know that they can be the group that laid the foundation of a long-standing, winning program.
He wants those seniors to look at West Jessamine in 30 years and take pride in knowing that they were the ones who started it all.
His offense will be a run-heavy, smash-mouth one that will establish itself on the ground to open up the pass.
As a former linebacker, Marcum said he was never threatened by a team that would pass first, but if a team constantly attacked on the ground that could leave him susceptible to the pass. That's where his offensive philosophy derives from.
That offense will be spearheaded again by one of the state's top players — senior Devin Taylor.
Taylor led the state in rushing with 2,217 yards last year and shouldered the load of West Jessamine's offense.
Marcum said that he will not gamble on defense. He plans to run a standard 4-3 front line and play four-deep on the backside.
He wants to see guys on his team have the chance to go to college, whether they're able to play football or not.
He wants his players to take what they learn on the field and apply it to real-life circumstances.
"Competing is not just a football thing. We want to teach you not to be soft — teach you to fight through whatever happens," Marcum said. "To me that's life."
"Bad things happen to you; Are you gonna turn around and compete again? Or are you going to look for someone to blame?"
Tyler Lashbrook: (859) 231-1447. Twitter: @heraldleader