It’s a cool autumn night. Cheerleaders are rousing the fans. The marching band is playing the school song on the field. Scores of fans crowd the bleachers sporting their school’s colors with pride. Some students have their faces painted. It’s Friday night in Northwest Indiana and time for prep football.
At Lake Central High School, Brett St. Germain is in his fourth season as Assistant Athletic Director and head coach of the Indians’ football team.
Having been an athlete all his life, St. Germain found it was an easy transition into coaching. A strong safety on the Merrillville High School football team, St. Germain also played one year as safety at Franklin College before transferring to Indiana University.
St. Germain considers his Merrillville football coach a mentor.
“I still have a ton of respect for my high school coach, Jeff Yelton, who recently retired from Merrillville High,” St. Germain said. “He was a great man and someone who took me in early in my coaching career and always let me know that I could lean on him if I ever needed anything.”
St. Germain said his coaching philosophy is pretty simple.
“Work hard and good things will come your way,” St. Germain said. “I am constantly telling our kids that, for the most part, you get what you’ve got coming to you in life. This definitely applies to football. You are only going to get out of it what you put into it.”
St. Germain, who has been in education 20 years at six different school corporations, said one challenge facing him was the acclimation period after beginning his tenure at Lake Central.
“The primary focus at the time was improving the fortunes of the football program,” St. Germain said. “In recent years, my role as Assistant Athletic Director has increased as well.”
Facing those challenges, St. Germain said, has meant long hours at school.
“I know this is part of the territory in my field and something that I hope to continue for years to come,” he said.
His goal for the football team is to build a program that is consistently competing for championships.
“I do believe that Lake Central is a great school, both academically and athletically,” St. Germain said. “All of our programs should expect to be top quality programs in Northwest Indian and throughout the state.”
St. Germain said he believes Lake Central is moving forward in creating a program that competes year in and year out for conference, sectional, and further post-season success.
“We are not there yet but I do think we are moving in the right direction,” St. Germain said.
The most satisfying thing about coaching, St. Germain said, is having a chance to make a difference in the players lives.
“This can come in many different forms,” St. Germain said. “Most of all, I instill in them to be hard workers, and through this hard work, good things will come their way.”
St. Germain said the community, parents and players have all been supportive to him and the team.
“The players had to take in a different culture and expectations when I arrived and it did take some time for these things to set in,” St. Germain said. “Through it all, the players have become extremely committed to the philosophy that Lake Central Football is about winning championships.”
He said the parents have been involved with the team.
“There have been many who are extremely involved and work with us to make this the best experience we can for our players,” St. Germain said.
“We are working hard to make our school and our community extremely proud of the efforts we put on the field,” St. Germain said. “At the end of the day, this is the thing that brings a great sense of satisfaction to me and the rest of the coaching staff.”