Coach Eric Evans

Coach Eric Evans

Season(s) Coaching the Divas: 2009, 2011-2013, 2015-2016
Co-Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks Coach – 2016
Co-Offensive Coordinator – 2015
Offensive Coordinator – 2012-2013
Quarterbacks/Wide Receivers Coach – 2011
Quarterbacks Coach – 2009

Other Coaching Experience:
Morgan State University
Laurel HS (MD)

Playing Experience:
Crossland HS (MD)
Morgan State University

Coach Eric Evans Q&A

Why did you decide to get into coaching after your playing career was over?
When I finished playing quarterback at Morgan State, I was hired as the offensive coordinator at Laurel High School. I was just 21 years old – I’m not sure I knew exactly what I was doing at that age! I was the offensive coordinator there for three years, but I retired from coaching because I needed to get a career going. I realized that coaching is a grind, and some people spend twenty years as an assistant, coaching as hard as they can and never getting to the point where they can make a living doing it. I felt I had to make a decision, so I decided to get my career started and retired from coaching.

How did you find out about the D.C. Divas and come to coach for us?
Quarterback Allyson Hamlin has been very good friends with my wife for about twenty years. I met my wife in 2002, and I met Ally that same year. I knew she was playing quarterback for the Divas, and I came to a couple of Divas games in 2002 and 2003.

In 2008, Ally and my wife and I were at a wedding for one of their friends. We were sitting there at the wedding reception, and Ally started talking about the Divas. She said, “I really need a quarterbacks coach. You should come out and do it!” But I said, “I don’t know if I can dedicate the time to do it right.”

Well, we’re at the reception, and a couple of Miller Lites later, she asked me again and I said, “Okay, I’ll look into it.” I was thinking that she wasn’t really serious, that she wasn’t even really going to follow up with me about it. She texted me the next day with the head coach’s phone number! The Divas’ head coach called me the day after that, and years later, I’m still here.

How is coaching women’s football different from coaching men?
The main thing it has taken me a while to get used to is that the women have to literally think about what we are asking them to do. When you’re dealing with men who have been playing football since they were seven or eight years old, you can say to them, “Line up in this formation and let’s run this play,” and they can line up within ten seconds and run the play. With women, we have to literally break it down, “This is what the formation is. This is what the play is.” As coaches, we need to get them to that point first before we can even start calling plays.

Now, every year, the veteran players get better and quicker at understanding the plays. But every year you have a handful of new rookies who come in and are back where the vets were ten years ago. It’s all about trying to get the rookies up as quickly as possible to where the vets already are. That’s the biggest difference – you have to slow down to build up to the point where everyone knows what is going on.

But otherwise, it’s the same. It’s football. Once you get the terminology down and everyone knows what they’re doing, it’s really no different.

What is your overall coaching philosophy? How would you like your players to play the game?
In my first practice as the new offensive coordinator in 2012, I walked into the meeting room and I told the players that, before I left this team and retired from coaching, my goal was to have us be the greatest offensive team in the history of women’s football. I know that’s a very lofty goal! But I feel that we’ve gotten a little bit better every year since I’ve been here.

My philosophy is that I want these players to know almost as much as the coaches about the offense and when to make decisions. I was always taught and coached that if you can make the decisions on the field yourself, it makes us that much better. No coach has ever really won a game from the sidelines, so if you can get the players to the point where they can make decisions on the field, that’s an advantage you have over the defense. I take pride in the fact that we as a staff can get our players to the point where they see the stuff that we see, but they see it quicker because they’re actually out there feeling the flow of the game.

My biggest principle is, “Don’t try to force a player to do something they’re uncomfortable with and aren’t prepared for.” An uncomfortable football player hesitates, and you can’t hesitate. That’s what slows you down. If you put players in a position to succeed by making sure they are prepared, the offense will run smoothly.