Kwame Dixon turned Green Hope program around

tstevens@newsobserver.comSeptember 23, 2013 

Green Hope coach Kwame Dixon at a team practice.

ROBERT WILLETT — rwillett@newsobserver.com Buy Photo

High school football programs that are struggling to win are not destined to always lose.

Harnett Central and South Johnston once had losing streaks among the longest in the state but each school played for a N.C. High School Athletic Association championship in 2009.

Green Hope (3-2, 01) had dropped 38 straight games before current coach Kwame Dixon led the Falcons to a 38-0 win over Smithfield-Selma in his first game in 2011. The Falcons were 6-6 in 2012.

Dixon’s three keys to turning around a program:

1. Evaluate: “What is the problem? A lack of numbers? A lack of strength? What can be done about the problem? What does the program need?” Dixon said.

2. Change the culture: “This is the hardest part,” Dixon said. “Everything seemed to be toxic with Green Hope football at one time. The kids seemed to have no hope of winning. People said it was impossible for Green Hope to win at football. We had to change the perception.”

3. Get everyone to buy in: “We had to get players who would do the work that was necessary to get better,” Dixon said. “They had to buy in to what we were selling. If kids didn’t want to do that, it didn’t bother me at all when they quit. Football isn’t for everyone. We were not going to lower our expectations. Either we had kids who would buy in or I’d get fired.”

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