Brian McGee only had about a month to prepare for his first season as a head football coach last year.
The time crunch as he finalized a staff and installed a new offensive system led to some struggles, and Silver Creek went 2-8 in 2018.
This year, they had an entire offseason to prepare for the season, and McGee's players have bought in to what the second-year coach wants to do.
Already, Silver Creek, sitting a 3-0, has eclipsed last year's win total. Included are wins over Thomas Jefferson in Week 1 and a 17-14 upset of then-No. 9 Windsor last week. It was a win that was sealed by senior Caleb Sedegan's goal-line interception late in the fourth quarter.
"That was definitely one of the best moments I've had as a head coach, without a doubt," McGee said.
McGee is this week's Denver Broncos High School Football Coach of the Week.
The Broncos coach of the week is selected in partnership with the Broncos and CHSCA. Find a complete list of winners on this page.
Brian McGee bio
Years as head coach: 2 (5-8)
Years at Silver Creek: 2 (5-8, 3-0 this season)
Previous stops: Silver Creek defensive line coach (2002-03); Silver Creek defensive coordinator (2004-17); Silver Creek head coach (2018-present).
Ryan Casey: What made you want to get into coaching?
Brian McGee: Well I grew up in Longmont and went to Longmont High School and played for coach Gordon Cramer and coach VanderMolen were my coaches at Longmont High School. After I got out of high school, I went to CSU for a couple of years and then went into the military. Spent six years in the military and then came out and basically went to work in industry, and worked in industry for about 18 years and kind of started coaching before I started teaching.
And I love it. I love the game of football. I love what playing the game gave to me when I was in high school. And I love the fact that I can give back to these kids at the high school level and, and hopefully give them some of the stuff that football gave to me when I was playing.
Matter of fact, when the company I worked for told me they wanted me to stop coaching football, my wife basically told me, "You don't want to stop coaching football. You love it too much. Just get your teaching license." And so that's what I did. I teach business education.
Casey: What kind of coach do you think you are? How do you think it feels to be coached by you?
McGee: I think my players understand that I'm going to hold them accountable. I'm going to push them to achieve what I see their potential is, which sometimes they don't necessarily agree with me, but I hope they know that I love them.
When I push them it's because I know that they can give me more than what they're giving me. And when we get to that point and when that happens, I think they learn that they've got more in them than they thought they had. It makes me feel proud that they're living up to what I knew they could do.
Casey: What has the transition to 4A for the program been like?
McGee: I was here when Silver Creek was in its glory days — three state championship appearances in a row, winning one of them. Really the difference between those days and even last year and this year are really the kids. Do we get the buy-in from the kids?
I think the biggest difference between 3A and 4A is just the depth of your team. We've never had great depth just because of the size of our school. I mean we're a smaller 4A school, but even with that, when we've had those teams where the seniors really buy into what we're trying to do or they're committed to doing what we ask them to do and they bring everybody along with them. Those are the years we've been successful. And you just don't get that every year.
You know, we can't go out and recruit. And so we get the kids that we get, and hopefully if we start them off as freshmen and by the time they get to being seniors, they know what it is. But that doesn't always happen. Your class numbers vary all the time. It's a process and every high school in the state of Colorado has the same issue.
It's just, do I have that core group of kids that I can lean on and depend on that are going to bring everybody up around them? And when you have those kids, good things happen. And when you don't have those kids, you struggle.
Casey: So what's been the biggest difference from last year to this year? You guys have played some tough teams are are sitting 3-0.
McGee: Last year was tough because I wasn't named head coach until right before school started. And so we had to finalize the staff and bring in a new offensive coordinator and do all that kind of stuff right before the beginning of school.
So we were learning a new system, a little bit of that. We had a fairly good number of seniors, but I don't think they bought into what we were going to try to do with our new offense with some of the coaching changes that took place, some of that kind of stuff. This year, we had all summer to work with them. We got them all coming into our offseason stuff and being committed to what we were trying to do, not only in the weight room but with our summer conditioning and our 7-on-7s.
We won our bracket in the Broncos' 7-on-7, which I think gave us a tremendous boost. We didn't get to go to Dove Valley because I had too many kids also playing baseball. So we gave that spot up. But we got to do all those kinds of things together as a unit and finalized our coaching staff well before the season started. I think being in that better place was a big part of it. And then also the fact that we've got kids that they've committed to what we want to do early on over the summer and have put the time in.
Casey: Take me through last week's game. Obviously, Windsor is a very prominent program. I think the second quarter seemed to be pretty important for you guys, going up 10 right before half. What was that game like?
McGee: After going back and forth on the two opening drives and neither one of us really doing anything, being able to go out and get the first score, I think was really important for us. That kind of proved to us, "Hey, we're in this, we're here, we're here to win. We're not backing down just because they're Windsor."
Being able to go in (at halftime) up 10 points was huge for us. Windsor's a tough team and they're going to get their yards and our kids, the resilience we had on the defensive side of the ball, and the fact that we got three takeaways. We went into that game telling our guys, "Look, you know, whoever wins the takeaway battle in this game is probably gonna win the game." And we won it. And I think that played a key role.
They made their plays, we got some takeaways and some key moments in their drives that kind of put us in great positions and we took advantage of that.
If you're gonna make the playoffs, if you're going to have that caliber of team, you've got to learn how to take advantage when you get those opportunities. And I think we did.
Casey: You've got to be pretty proud as a coach, up three in the fourth quarter, that you guys were able to hold off a late rally.
McGee: Yeah, I can guarantee you that was a nail-biter there at the end. Them marching down the field and us trying everything we can to stop them.
When Caleb Sedegan, made that interception down on the goal line to stop their drive, that was definitely one of the best moments I've had as a head coach, without a doubt. Because we'd practiced and we'd practiced and we'd put a lot on our defense all year long and they performed when we needed them to. And that was great to see.