HEMPSTEAD — The Hempstead High School head football coaching job attracted many candidates when it came open after the 2020 season.
While many stood out among the applicants, it was Donovan King who impressed the search committee the most.
“Coach King has a sincere desire to grow our students into not only great athletes but also great future young members of the Hempstead community.” HISD Superintendent of Schools Dr. Angela Gutsch said. “The committee is excited about Coach King’s plans for increased community involvement in the growth of his players. I encourage the players, parents, staff, and community to welcome him to Hempstead and to embrace his genuine enthusiasm.”
King will join the Bobcat program in late March after serving as Defensive Coordinator at Coldspring HS. Before Coldspring, the coach worked as an assistant coach with programs at New Diana, Ridge Point, and East Bernard.
“I am extremely grateful to Athletic Director Bobby Spain and Superintendent of Schools Dr. Angela Gutsch for giving me the opportunity to fulfill my dream of becoming a head coach,” King, who has eight years of high school coaching experience, said. “I’d also like to thank my wife, Ja’Nelle, and daughters Lola and Daphne for sharing their time with me so that I can impact the lives of the young men of this community.”
The coach knows what the Hempstead football program can offer after competing against Bobcats as an assistant at East Bernard.
“I have been fascinated about the caliber of athlete and kids that this community has been able to put on display, he said. “All places go through cycles but, I feel like this place has the potential to be a powerhouse that people will talk about and notice.”
King attributes two ingredients to building a championship-caliber team, buy-in and keeping things simple.
“Kids who trust you are willing to step outside of their comfort zones to achieve greatness,” he said. “A simple system that allows athletes to play and not overthink has been an integral part of the success that I’ve experienced over the past couple of years.”
Part of King’s buy-in from the players will be the expectation that they focus on the new opportunities in front of them. The coach refers to Hernan Cortes’ story and landing in the New World with 600 men, and Cortes tells the men to burn their ships, signifying that there was no going back.
“For us to move the needle and be better than what we were in the past, we must ‘burn those ships’ or whatever attachment we have that provides us the opportunity to not be all in.”
King will bring his defensive pressure-oriented style to Hempstead to make Bobcat Field an opponent’s nightmare.
“The style of play that I’m looking to incorporate here is physical and relentless. I want people to walk off the field from playing us and feel like they’ve been in the ring with Joe Frazier.”
Belief in King’s process of building a championship team and style of play will take a commitment from the players, staff, and community. He understands that the focus will be to improve a Bobcat program coming off a 0-9 season.
“We are in this together,” he said. “I think that if we are going to get this thing trending in the right direction, we need everyone involved, parents, coaches, all stakeholders within the Hempstead community.”
King is replacing former head coach Royce Hill.