Haskell Football: the Beginning or the End?

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The Fighting Indians on the sideline after a tough defensive heartbreaker. photo by Felicia Butler

photo by Felicia Butler

Haskell Indian Nations University football spring practices have just begun. The team will be putting on their pads for the first time this year in hopes of making major improvements from their past losing seasons. Their record for the 2014 season was 0-9, but coaches, staff, and players are training hard and are ready to have a winning season.

A longtime Haskell Football fan and current sophomore, Jesse Burnette stated “I’ve always been inspired by sports at Haskell. Native Americans representing our entire school is a really great achievement even if a lot of wins don’t always happen. Being a former football player three years ago, I thought then that the football team would grow and continue to do better each season, but from everything that has happened I feel football is going down the drain. I love Haskell football and miss it every day, but it hurts seeing things like they are. I really hope 2015 is a great year for Haskell sports.”

The new season of football along with the new arrivals of freshman are bringing high expectations and high hopes from current players and fans of Haskell football. What will coaches work on during spring training and what improvements need to be made? Current Haskell Assistant football coach and player, Logun Saiz says “Many things need to be worked on in the next few months.  We want to change the face of football here. We will be more in shape the next season and very well trained throughout the entire team. Working on a new defense and improving our offensive abilities will make us a more solid team. We want to be an inspiration to our school and future athletes that attend Haskell. We will continue to work our hardest over the next few months to give our school a winning record.”

Students and staff at Haskell have been waiting for a team to support, but with losing records all across the board for Haskell sports teams, things could continue to get worse for Haskell football. When all the Haskell sports were placed on academic probation it caused a lot of fans to lose hope and even give up on Haskell athletics.

Haskell has had over 100 years in sports. Jordan Evans, a former Haskell athlete says “Athletics seem to have become a backbone in some ways to Haskell tradition and way of life. In many ways, athletics are what bring the broad range of students to Haskell.”

Every year coaching staff brings in dozens of Football players to a losing team. Should Haskell continue to pour money and time in to a failing sport? Clayton Saiz, a current senior football player says, “I don’t believe Haskell sports are failing in any way. The past few years have been a huge learning experience for not just Haskell football but for all student athletes here. We are all striving to do our best and work hard each and every day to reach our goals for success. We want to do everything we can to give Haskell fans something to look forward to. Being my last year on the field, I want more than anything to have a winning season and to give future players here at Haskell a brighter future.”

Although Haskell football has been on a losing streak in the recent years, there are still those who continue to support the program. The fall season is still far away and many things need to be done and improved upon to meet the expectations of all Haskell fans and players. Dominic Goseyun, Haskell athlete says, “Winning and success take time. You can’t judge 130 years of sports for just a few years of losing seasons. Student athletes dedicate their lives to their education and athletics. They want nothing more than success for themselves and their school. I believe that we can do better. If athletes keep working and keep striving for greatness, we will give sports here at Haskell an amazing future. The only way now is up.”

As for the 2015 fall football season, there is no official head coach for the team and also no paid assistant coaches. Current head coach, Richard brewer is retiring after head coaching for the 2014 season and all current assistant coaches are only volunteers,which not many people actually know this. There are rumors of Haskell hiring a head coach and also of hiring two paid assistant coaches, but with all this only speculation, how will the 2015 football season really playout?