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April 2010

April 2010

Clutch Performer

© April 2010

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Coach Dave White leads the Edison Chargers in high school hotbed Orange County

Orange County, California, just south of Los Angeles, is year after year one of the country’s top regions for high school football. Many teams are highly-ranked, not just state-wide but nationally as well, and powerhouse programs produce plenty of DI talent every year. To succeed in “The O.C.”, be prepared to face a tough opponent virtually every week.
Take Edison High School in Huntington Beach. Their 2009 schedule included match-ups with traditional powers Mater Dei, Servite, and Los Alamitos – all prior to the CIF Pac-5 playoffs. The Chargers were up to the task, compiling a 13-0 record before falling to Servite in their re-match in the playoffs. Despite the 16-6 loss, Edison finished ranked 6th in the nation in one poll. Servite finished 3rd.
That kind of high school football, played at the highest level, places great demands on coaching staffs – not just to control what happens on the field but also to manage all the support services necessary to build a championship program.
One area that’s critically important is reliable game-time sideline communication. At Edison, that’s Offensive Line Coach Harry Schmidt’s responsibility. Schmidt, who’s been coaching at Edison for 30 years, coordinates the team’s communication needs and equipment. During games, he is stationed in the press box where he relays information to Head Coach Dave White.
For Edison to remain competitive in Orange County, a reliable communication system is a must. That’s why Schmidt chose the Connex headset system from CoachComm.
As a provider of headset communication to 95% of NCAA Division I programs, CoachComm is the trusted leader on game day. The Connex system is the choice of programs like Edison that need to be sure that communication between coaches is clear, secure and uninterrupted, whether at home or on the road.
AFM visited with Harry Schmidt to learn more about their choice of the Connex system from CoachComm and how it has made a positive difference for the Edison coaching staff.
AFM: How long have you been responsible for Edison’s sideline communication needs?

Schmidt: When I first came here, 30 years ago, I started heading up the job of managing the headsets and later became responsible for purchasing. We’ve had all different kinds of headsets, going back to the old wired headsets to the wireless units we have today.

How would you rate your current Connex system from CoachComm compared to systems you’ve used in the past?

CoachComm Connex is the best system we’ve had in all my 30 years coaching. It’s the most consistent and it works better than any system we’ve ever used.

When did you decide to switch to Connex?

We bought our system four years ago, during the middle of the season. We had a game against Servite where we had serious problems with our communication because of interference. Even though they were using a different system, Servite lost their signal, too. After that game, both of us ended up getting Connex systems and, when we met in the playoffs later in the year, everything worked great. No crossover, great communication, no problems at all.
Other than losing your signal, what other issues did you face with your old system?

The big problem was the difficulty setting it up. When you were setting it up, you had to methodically go through channels until you found one that worked and then program all the headsets to that channel. It was tough to set up and it took about 45 minutes each game. We had spent a lot of money on that system, and we really weren’t happy with the performance we got.

Did that change when you switched to the Connex system?
Absolutely. This system performs better than anything we’ve ever had – we’ve had no problems with it at all. Part of that is because of how the system works. As I understand it, it’s constantly jumping from one channel to another, searching for the best signal. You don’t even realize it, but it’s always working to get you a strong signal. The signal is excellent. I feel like I’m standing next to Coach White on the sidelines – it’s that good.

What other features are important to you?

Number one, I can set up the whole system in about five minutes. I basically just plug it in and it automatically sets up every headset. We have it set up so the system splits offensive and defensive coaches, but any coach can switch back and forth to talk to any coach who’s connected. We have four coaches on defense and four on offense plus Coach White on the system during games, and they can all talk at the same time, wireless and hands-free. Even though I’m an offensive coach, sometimes I’ll see something that might help on defense and I’ll switch over and talk to them. And when the game is over, it takes about two minutes to pack up the entire system.
What about battery life?

The Connex system has a battery power indicator right in the beltpack that tells us how much power we have left, but it has never really been a concern. We’ve had overtime games that, when they ended, we still had over half the power left in the power pack. After games, I plug in the system for charging the next day and, a few hours later it’s fully charged.

How would you rate CoachComm in terms of customer service and tech support?

Our needs are met really well – we’re dealing with a company that is top-notch. I work closely with our rep and they’ve been very quick getting back to me if I ever need anything.

How would you sum up your experience with the Connex headset communication system from CoachComm?

Without a doubt, it’s the best I’ve ever had.


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