It’s been said that you never have a second chance to make a first impression.
If my first impression of new Crestview High School athletic director and head football coach Tim Hatten is on target, the next 10 or 15 years should be eventful for the Bulldogs.
I can only imagine what Hatten's first impression of me was. When I met him at the Okaloosa County School Board meeting March 11, I couldn’t immediately find my recorder for a brief interview.
Compounding matters, I misspelled his name in the story’s headline.
March 11 and 12 weren't my best days.
To Hatten's credit, he was patient as I dug the recorder from deep within my pocket.
When I called to apologize for the headline’s busted spelling — which we caught right after the papers went to press — he laughed it off and told me not to worry about it. So my first impressions of Hatten is he's a gracious man who doesn't sweat the small stuff.
When football season arrives and Hatten makes a questionable or bad call, I hope I will remember his graciousness to me as I stumbled this week.
I also was impressed with Hatten as we briefly discussed his football philosophies. Make no mistake; Tim Hatten is an offensive-minded head coach who will install the kind of high-octane attack many top college and pro teams use.
Hatten said he wants to stretch the field and give the opposing defense match-up problems, but he's willing to run the ball as well. He told Bulldog players they can expect to work hard on the field and in the classroom, and that he will keep the game fun.
Perhaps the most impressive thing about Hatten — at least from my perspective — is his emphasis on education.
Hatten, who was at Pearl River Community College the last 12 years and was head coach at Haines City nine years before that, said he was drawn to Crestview and Okaloosa County because the schools are top notch. He knows his 14- and 9-year-old sons can get an education here that will prepare them for college and their adult lives.
Hatten wants to ensure his sons, and the players he coaches, will have every opportunity to succeed in life with the foundation being a good education.
Hatten said he would be the coach for all the Crestview football players — including the junior varsity and freshman players. He wants to invest in the lives of all the young men who put on pads for the Bulldogs.
Spring practice starts six weeks from today, and Hatten has already started teaching his assistant coaches and players the way he runs things. He plans to have things in place so when spring drills start May 1, the team will know where to go and what to do.
With a career record of 155-59 — which comes to a .724 winning percentage — and a national championship in the junior college ranks to his credit, there's no doubt the guy can coach and knows how to win.
Crestview should prepare for an exciting run.
Randy Dickson is the Crestview News Bulletin’s sports editor. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org, tweet him @BigRandle, or call 682-6524