SPRINGDALE – Sometimes when a professional football player retires from the game, they are not sure what their next step in life should be. Fortunately for former NFL linebacker Cato June, he didn’t have that problem. Following his retirement from a seven-year career in professional football in 2010, June knew what his next step was […]
SPRINGDALE – Sometimes when a professional football player retires from the game, they are not sure what their next step in life should be.
Fortunately for former NFL linebacker Cato June, he didn’t have that problem.
Following his retirement from a seven-year career in professional football in 2010, June knew what his next step was going to be. He knew he wanted to stay around the game he loved. So he took up coaching.
“Once you stop playing, a lot of guys don’t do anything,” said the former 1997 All-Met defensive player of the year. “To still be around the game I love is good for me. I always was one who looked to the next chapter and wanted to progress in life. Coaching was that next step for me.”
June returned to his high school alma mater, Anacostia, located in Washington, D.C., in 2011 as a defensive coordinator. By 2012 he was the school’s head coach. Although Anacostia’s record was only 12-23 in his three seasons at the helm, June’s coaching skills and desire for the game seemed to exceed the pedestrian record.
June stepped down from Anacostia earlier this year and took the vacant head coaching position at Charles H. Flowers High School in Prince George’s County. Although he had a lot of love for his alma mater, June wanted to compete at the highest level of football in the metropolitan area. Flowers presents him with a tremendous opportunity to achieve that.
“I saw this as a chance to compete at the highest level in this area of the country,” June said. “If I was going to continue with high school football, I wanted to coach against what is considered to be the area’s best. I wanted to be involved with one of the biggest and best programs in the area.”
Flowers is definitely that. In the last 12 years, the Jaguars have only missed the state playoffs three times. However, two of those three misses have come in the last three years.
June believes his competitive nature doesn’t come as a shock to anyone who has followed his career. He has always had the fire and drive to compete to the best of his abilities. The pedigree of coach he has played for throughout his college and pro career may explain why.
As a standout player at the University of Michigan, June was coached by the legendary Lloyd Carr. Carr is in the College Football Hall of Fame after compiling a record of 122-40 and winning a national championship the year before June arrived. To this day, June praises his former college coach.
“I still talk to Coach Carr a lot,” June said. “It has been great with him being able to help me out in my quest. I never got to say much when I played for him, but since I left we have had conversations. He has helped me get to where I am now.”
June has adapted what he learned and has implemented some of those wrinkles into his own coaching style. Flowers was known for running the “Wing-T” offense. The offense usually revolves around two running backs and the quarterback running the ball, with a small amount of plays focused on passing. The Jags won’t abandon that offense entirely, but June is just going to implement a more “pro-style” offense as their base.
The “pro-style” offense looks more like one would see in a NFL playbook. It usually involves a drop-back style quarterback who balances the run and the pass. Considering June won a Super Bowl with Peyton Manning and was a teammate of Tom Brady’s at Michigan, one can see why he would have a pretty good grasp on putting together a solid offense.
As for defense, June will be installing the “4-3.” June said he has always preferred playing the scheme and thinks it will work well with his group.
June’s knowledge of the game, along with the rest of the coaching staff, has Flowers expecting to continue its winning ways.
“You expect to win so you always want to be around people who expect to win also,” June said. June’s staff includes former University of Maryland standout and Philadelphia Eagles running back Bruce Perry and ex-Baltimore Ravens strong safety Cyhl Quarles. Oxon Hill High School graduate Walter Cross will also join the staff as the team’s new offensive coordinator. Cross is currently ranked 11th on Maryland’s all-time career rushing list with 5,227 yards and was June’s roommate during their college years at Michigan.
June has nothing but high praise for his staff. He believes his success is a collective effort and not an individual one.
“The guys that have been with me have had success coaching and in their own individual playing careers, so they understand what needs to be done,” June said. “We just have to execute.”
With the start of the season roughly two weeks away, it won’t be long before the public sees what the Jaguars can do this year. But with June, his staff, and the history of the program, the team should have a successful run in 2015.