A Message from Option Central Founder Mike Schuster

 

Hello all , and Welcome to Option Central !

As with many things that grow beyond expectations, Option Central started out as a pretty simple idea: I needed a better way to distribute information on the Option offense I was familiar with while coaching at North Catholic High School in Pittsburgh throughout the 90’s.

In the late 90’s I was patrolling the now defunct ‘Option Message Board’ a lot, interacting with other coaches, answering questions, looking at new ideas. And the only recourse to get detailed information to someone on the things that I had experience with was by whipping up some diagrams with explanations and emailing them. And after a while of doing that, I thought for sure that there had to be a better way. So I decided that doing a website that contained all the information that I would want people to be able to have was the way to go. I was able to do diagrams in Powerpoint and tweak them with MS Image Composer, and I knew enough about html and Front Page that I could put together something that looked half-decent. I wanted to make this as much of a one-stop shop as I could for the Option, so I needed a name that reflected that – and thus was born “Option Central”. But before I could be comfortable putting the offense that I was familiar with out there, I had to make sure I was giving a totally accurate picture.

So after the ’98 season, I discussed my plans with then offensive coordinator at North, coach Bernie Colbert, and got his blessing. It was after all, his offense. The terminology, formation system and play schemes were all things that he had developed over his tenure from 1992 through the 1999 season. Every offensive coordinator takes the bits and pieces that they’ve learned through the years and builds them into their own system, and Coach Colbert was no different. So as much as possible, I wanted to make sure that what I was putting out there was straight from the source.

We agreed to meet for an evening at his house to square away every little detail of what I was going to publish on the web. We had coached together at that point for six years, but I still wanted to check and double check everything that I thought I knew. I still remember sitting with Coach Colbert at his house with my notes, playbook pages and hand-drawn examples littering his dining room table. I made sure we talked over everything I wanted to feature and tried to get any detail I missed on paper, always asking him “If someone was going to use this information to run this offense, what would you want them to know?” I wasn’t just doing this to make it look pretty – my original thought was always that coaches wanted to know about these things because they were going to use them.

It wasn’t long after I had the site up and running that I began to talk with a lot of coaches that really liked the site but who also had experience in Option systems that were very different from the Pro-I Freeze Option system that Option Central was showcasing. Once again the simple idea grew bigger – and I thought it would be a good idea to have these coaches that had experience with different systems contribute to the site. So with the implementation of a subscription system to cover site costs and to pay for new articles, the guest author program was underway. In 1999 via contributions from coaches Joe Sells from Malvern Prep in Philadelphia, Don Herman from Martha’s Vineyard in Oak Bluffs Massachusetts, Mark Snow from East Surry High School in Pilot Mountain North Carolina, Bob Colbert (Bernie’s brother incidentally) who was at the time the offensive coordinator at Bridgewater College in Bridgewater Virginia, Steve Ellison from Petaluma High School in Petaluma California, and Dave Large from El Dorado Springs High School in El Dorado Springs Missouri, there were six articles added to the original Option Central site. Today that total stands close to one hundred.

And the great majority of those articles feature some aspect of the Option offense in all of its varied facets and forms. I’m proud of that. And I am grateful to all of the coaches who have contributed articles, anyone who has asked me a question, and anyone who has ever needed help - each of you helped to shape Option Central over its ten years of existence. Ten years has also brought me from being single and having just turned 30 to being married for 8 years now, having two beautiful kids and having just turned 40. While these developments are indeed positive things, unfortunately these new priorities in my life also dictate that running a subscription based website on my own is no longer a possibility for me.

So at this time I’m here to announce that Option Central will be moving on, in a sense, without me, but moving on none the less. Through the years a lot of great coaches have put a lot of work into building the fabric of Option Central and I’ve always been proud of the quality of the content and the spirit behind it: coaches helping coaches. To have this great collection of material fade away would not be a fitting tribute to all those who have built this site along the way and to the spirit with which they did so.

So with that my friends I say farewell. I must confess that it will feel strange not having my “second job” to do anymore, but the one constant in life is change - and my life certainly has. I have new challenges in front of me now including Fatherhood, my professional career as an AP mathematics teacher, my coaching duties as a defensive coordinator - things far greater than I could have imagined ten years ago… The Ten Years of Option Central. Take Care Everyone, and Thank You for a great ten years!

Best Wishes,

Mike  



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