When Philip Simpson took over the Homestead football program in late July, he knew changes needed to be made.
The former Southridge state title-winning defensive coordinator and Miami-Dade County Player of the Year submitted requests for getting a new weight room, fixing the locker room, new headsets for the coaches, and more coaches on the staff. He also cleaned up the coach’s office and had the practice field grass cut with lines drawn in.
The weight room changes were approved for a $70,000 renovation and are expected to be done at some point during the season. The locker room is in the process of being remodeled and his requests for headsets and more staff members have been granted.
“Not only am I excited about the opportunity, but I’m excited about the things that are coming with the opportunity,” Simpson said. “It was part of the process to understand that to be successful we had to have a new program and a new way of doing things with accountability and providing kids with good services.”
The improvements have helped lead to more participation as there have been close to 50 players on the team—about 20 more than they had a year ago.
“The things we’re doing is very encouraging,” Simpson said. “The program is promising. I think the services we’re going to provide and the things we’re about to do, we’re going to be able to keep our kids home and kids will want to come in once they see good operations with the way things operate.”
The Broncos enter Simpson’s first season as an inexperienced and young group after over 20 seniors departed from last season.
“We’ve got to get bigger, faster, and stronger,” Simpson said. “Right now for me—obviously we go into every game wanting to win and that’s the focal point—but the reality is for me as the head coach my biggest wins and losses will be off the field with putting a system in place and developing a program.”
Simpson spent the previous four years at Southridge, winning a state title in 2016. He was also at Palmetto for one season. He was the 2003 Dade County Player of the Year starring for Southridge before going on to play at Temple.
Former head coach Ahmad Ward remains at Homestead as the assistant athletic director. He went 13-16 in three seasons including 6-4 last year.
Homestead, which dropped down to 7A this season, opens its regular season on Aug. 22 at 7 p.m. against Miami High at Curtis Park.