AMSTERDAM — It was always easy to recognize John Homich prior to an Amsterdam football game.
Homich, who has coached at every level in the Rams' program, is a motivational speaker of sorts and displayed his passion in team huddles prior to the start of each game.
“I just gave them some last-minute encouragement,” said Homich, who served as the Rams special teams coach the past two seasons. “I’m a big believer in relating things to life. We all face challenges, and that’s what football is about.”
On Wednesday, Homich was presented with a new challenge, officially being named as the head varsity football coach for Amsterdam High School, taking over for Doug Edick, who stepped down following the 2019 season. The Greater Amsterdam School District Board of Education unanimously approved Homich’s appointment.
“This is a dream come true,” Homich said. “There’s some big shoes to fill following in the footsteps of Frank Derrico, Pat Liverio and Doug Edick. This program gave me so much as a youth, right through my high school years, and I always knew I wanted to come back and give back to the kids.”
Homich, a 2000 graduate of Amsterdam High School, held a one-hour team meeting last Friday, and players went through their first offseason workout on Tuesday.
“We wanted to make sure everybody was on board with our vision,” Homich said. “I’ve always preached details. It’s all about dedication, gratification, interest, attitude, image and love. If you follow those, you will always be successful.”
Greater Amsterdam School District athletic director Steve Nolan played the lead role during the interview process and was impressed with Homich’s attention to detail. The 37-year-old Homich has paid his dues, having coached at the modified, freshman and junior varsity levels before working as a varsity assistant.
“It’s not about what’s just happening on the field,” Nolan said. “It’s working with my office, purchasing the supplies and doing paperwork. I demand a lot, and this is a big position. There haven’t been many head football coaches in Amsterdam and for good reason. He’s got big shoes to fill, and he’s got the drive and dedication to lead us to the next level. Doug was a solid coach for us, and we will miss him.”
Edick spent the last 18 years on the Rams coaching staff, the first 10 as an assistant under Liverio and the last eight as head coach. Edick led the Rams to a 42-33 record and six appearances in the Section II Class A playoffs. He led the Rams to a Section II Class A title in 2015, beating Troy 49-35. Amsterdam finished 5-4 in 2019.
“It was a great experience working with Doug,” Homich said. “He’s a great teacher and had such a knowledge for the game. His passion for football really rubbed off onto everyone. He taught me a lot about the finer details of the game and preparing for each situation. Most importantly, he taught me not to be afraid to take risks.”
This past season also marked the final season on the sideline for Liverio, who served as head coach from 1996 to 2011 and transitioned to an assistant role after Edick took over.
“I owe it all to coach Liverio for giving me the opportunity when I moved back to Amsterdam,” Homich said. “He brought me on as a coach and has played a major part in my life.”
Homich is expected to name Josh Hodge as his offensive coordinator, with Gabe Orengo taking over the defense. All assistant coaching positions are subject to board approval.
Nolan also expects Homich to continue some old Amsterdam traditions while incorporating some of his own when the Rams open the 2020 season. While Homich will focus on the football side, Nolan is still searching for a home field for this fall. The Lynch Literacy Academy athletic complex is scheduled to undergo a lengthy renovation program this year and won’t be ready for play until 2021. Still, Nolan said Homich is ready to continue the rich tradition of Amsterdam football.
“John has a lot of great ideas about moving forward and making this his program,” Nolan said. “He’ll be reaching down to the youth level to try to make it one big program, as opposed to them and us. Football is big here. Many times, it leads to success in other sports, so it’s nice to have a football team that competes.”