We are very pleased to announce Coach Whiteoak’s promotion to Assistant Head Coach. Head Coach Marco Fasulo made the announcement at training on Sunday, which was met with a well deserved round of applause. Coach Whiteoak’s knowledge of the game and leadership style are both well respected by Cats players and fellow coaches. We managed to get some time to ask him some questions.
What are your goals?
The role of Assistant Head Coach can sometimes be ceremonial as it doesn’t have a traditional remit or purview. It is our goal, that Coach Fasulo, GM Megan Chamberlain and I, use this appointment as a way to add value and increase support to the whole coaching staff and off-field staff organisation of the Cambridgeshire Cats. Coach Fasulo and I have complimentary skills in many ways and worked together well with degrees of autonomy since I joined the Cats in 2018 and together, we believe we can help the organisation reach its ultimate goal of winning the Division 1 championship.
How will you manage the Defence as well?
I have been involved with the organisational side of football throughout my career, and was already assisting Megan with various projects. So taking on extra responsibilities is not a problem for me and something I am keen to do.
When it comes to gameday, my role will largely remain unchanged; I will continue to work with Coach Ben Abbott (Assistant Defensive Coordinator), and the rest of the coaching staff to call plays and manage the defensive huddle. Coach Fasulo will oversee the whole team and participate in the decision making of process for the big moments of the game.
What is going to be your biggest challenge?
The biggest challenge I see for us, as a team, is going to be the same as every team in BAFAN; player numbers. Football is sport of attrition and teams with larger squads almost always fare better than those with fewer players. Recruitment is an ongoing process and we’ll have to keep looking for players, both new and existing, to join the Cats.
What advice would you give to a new coach?
Be willing to learn and take coaching yourself. Whether you have played before or made the jump straight in to coaching; there’s a lot to learn about how to work with players and about yourself as a leader.
My other advice would be to put your players first; support them, learn how to motivate each one individually, and concentrate on creating a strong culture of togetherness before stressing scheme.
How do you see 2022 panning out?
The last couple of years on football have been unprecedented. 2020 was a complete wash out and the 2021 season’s structure, and pre-ordained outcomes (no relegation, no promotion), gave it a different flavour from the normal BAFA season. Looking at our trajectory over the last 3 seasons however, the Cats didn’t make the playoffs in 2018, made the semi-final in 2019, where we lost to the eventual winners, the Solent Thrashers, and we went undefeated in the 2021 season.
I don’t think it’s unreasonable to say the Cambridgeshire Cats should be competing for the Division 1 championship and promotion. That being said, we are in a very competitive division and we would be foolish to underestimate any of our opponents in the regular season. It’s going to be a fun year; I can’t wait to get it started!
Thanks coach and good luck!!
Our season will run from April through to September. Be sure to check in regularly to see news and updates. Attendance at home games is free and you are all welcome to cheer your local American Football team to victory at Coldhams Common, Cambridge.
We are recruiting for Linebacker, Defensive Backs, Quarter Backs, and Wide Receiver positional coaches. Get in touch if you are interested.