At some point in time, most football coaches start climbing the professional ladder by taking a high school job. Eagles head coach Doug Pederson is no exception.
The Philadelphia coach, a former journeyman NFL quarterback turned career NFL assistant and, eventually, head coach, has simply undergone a particularly meteoric rise. In the span of nine years, Pederson has gone from leading the Calvary Baptist football team in Louisiana to the Philadelphia Eagles, with a stop in Kansas City connecting two different stints in Philadelphia.
But first, about Pederson’s time leading Calvary Baptist, one of Louisiana’s more recent power programs. Pederson served as the head coach from 2005-2008, and according to a Philadelphia Inquirer interview with a rival coach, Pederson’s team was executing concepts that were far ahead of their time.
“There was no doubt they were a well-coached team,” St. James coach Rick Gaille told the Inquirer. “That doesn’t always come out on video, but in looking at them it certainly did. What well-coached means is you can teach the skills that players need to accomplish what you want to have done. It’s not just telling them what you want them to do.
“Doug wanted to find out whether he wanted to coach or not. And, to his credit, instead of calling in a favor with somebody in the NFL, he took the job at Calvary Baptist. He was in on the ground floor, and he found out what coaching was all about. That says something. At this level, if there’s a grass field that’s not marked, guess who has to do it? The uniforms have to get washed by someone after the game. Doug discovered in his time at Calvary that this was something he really wanted to do.”
Calvary Baptist’s consistent rise up the rankings during his time at the school was testament to Pederson’s commitment to improving the team’s skills and culture. After starting 5-6 in 2005, Calvary Baptist went 11-2 in 2006, 12-1 in 2007 and 12-2 in 2008. He arrived with Calvary Baptist still growing into its role in the state football hierarchy and left with it competing for the top perch.
Now, with the Eagles two wins from a Super Bowl berth, Pederson is trying to accomplish the same thing at the highest level. He might even pull it off.