Howard Langley doesn’t believe in staying past your expiration date as a coach.
It is just one of the reasons he will be stepping away from the Dewitt Clinton football sidelines after his 11th season this year.
“Everything has a seven, eight, nine, ten-year warrantee,” Langley said. “After that it starts to deteriorate and I’ve reached my limit. There are other things I want to pursue.”
Off the field demands took their toll on Langley and his health last year and he wants to spend more time with his daughter, who is starting high school this year. Langley spoke about the time and effort its takes to coach at Clinton and in The Bronx with many kids playing football for the first time and coming from poor neighborhoods.
“They don’t understand the level of commitment necessary to put a team on the field and then to be competitive on top of it,” Langley said.
He hasn’t officially told his players about him stepping down because he doesn’t want to be the focus of the season, but they have heard the rumblings. Langley isn’t leaving the school, however. He hopes to move on to be the athletic director down the road. He leaves feeling he accomplished his goals of sending kids to college and making Clinton a regular playoff and a title contender. It was about more than football for Langley.
“He tried to coach you in two different ways,” senior linebacker and running back Edward Nunez said. “In real life he tried to make us grow up as men. That’s his main goal.”
Langley is determined to have success on the field again in his final season, but it will be a challenge with a very inexperienced roster. There is open competition at nearly every position, including quarterback. Last year’s backup Dashown Wilson Jr. is the expected starter with senior Brandon Harris transferring to Trinity Pawling.
Wilson Jr. compiled 455 yards of total offense and scored five touchdowns last season. He started Clinton’s playoff game against Grand Street.
“I feel like he is ready,” Nunez said. “He has matured. He’s ready to play they game.”
The 5-foot-11, 219-pound Nunez is the team’s most proven commodity. His commitment and leadership during his career make him a special player in Langley’s eyes. He hopes colleges take notice.
“You don’t measure someone who can flat out play football,” the coach said.
Clinton is in the process of finding its best 22 guys, but Langley is still confident in his defense led by Nunez. Senior Remy Lynch returns at defensive end and Benjamin Gibbs is a playmaking strong safety. Freshman Ricardo Nias could see time at outside linebacker and running back. The younger players are learning whatever they can from Nunez.
“He helps me with what I need to work on and the right places I need to be at,” Nias said.
One of the big keys will be the development of a young offensive line led by Raquan Hylto and David Nwaogwugwu. Cardinal Hayes transfer Michael Santo and freshman Jaron Johnson could both see time at running back.
The goals of beating rival Kennedy, making the playoff and going on a deep run won’t change for this roster. It’s been that way since Langley took over. He wants to go out with the same standards.
“It doesn’t matter who be got,” Nunez said. “That’s our maim goal.”