By ALEX SPONSELLER Weeks after longtime Cranston East head football coach Tom Centore announced that he would be stepping away from the sidelines, the Thunderbolts found their new leader as assistant coach Isaiah McDaniel was promoted to the head
By ALEX SPONSELLER Weeks after longtime Cranston East head football coach Tom Centore announced that he would be stepping away from the sidelines, the Thunderbolts found their new leader as assistant coach Isaiah McDaniel was promoted to the head coaching position.
McDaniel graduated from East in 2004 and joined the football coaching staff in 2006. He has also served as the head boys basketball coach for East since 2016.
“I had to ask my family and my principal if it would be OK to run two programs, so I wouldn’t say I was in the driver’s seat, but I was comfortable throughout the process,” said McDaniel. “It was always a goal of mine since I started coaching in 2006, to become the head coach of this program. After playing here, helping lay the foundation of what we have been able to accomplish here over the past decade, it’s a dream come true to be able to get it going.”
McDaniel has helped coach on each side of the ball during his 15 years at East. He was the team’s offensive coordinator in 2013 when it won the Division I Super Bowl.
Moving forward, McDaniel plans on continuing some of the basics of the East program while also looking to add his own fingerprints.
“I will be putting my own twist on things, but the good part about working with Tom was that everything was collaborative between both of us and the other coaches on staff. We had input on the things that we did. There will be some different things in our scheme and how kids approach things, but there will be similar things as well,” said McDaniel, who will also be using his experience as East’s basketball coach to his advantage. “Having the experience of being a head coach in general is going to help me. Dealing with other people, other coaches, being the face of the program, that time and experience will definitely help with football.”
The first order of business for McDaniel and his staff will be to make sure the kids are ready physically and mentally for the upcoming season. The Bolts have struggled the past two seasons, failing to reach the playoffs, so McDaniel hopes the kids will come in fresh and motivated as they seek to turn things around fast.
“We’re looking to get as many kids as possible out to play as our numbers have been down the past couple of years. It’s a cycle that public schools go through. The process will be about getting these kids in shape and getting them mentally prepared to play the game. Right now, those are the two biggest goals that we have as a staff. Getting back to playing the game the way we know how,” said McDaniel.
Another aspect will be balancing the pros and cons of coming off of a shortened offseason as the state played its spring season in March and April.
“I think it’s going to be good and bad. Good because some of the things that we’re going to be doing will be fresh on their minds. It may be a setback in the way people see the program and not taking into account all the variables. Going forward, we’re going to have a positive outlook on things,” said McDaniel.
McDaniel is excited to get to work and to have the opportunity to make a further impact on the community that he loves.
“It's a blessing. I love coaching the athletes and being able to help them outside of sports. I do things all year round when I’m with the kids. It’s a blessing being able to continue the journey, being able to take over for Tom who came in as my coach my senior year. It’s a blessing to be able to continue the tradition,” McDaniel said.
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