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AFM Magazine

Desert Dominance

by: AFM Editorial Staff
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Head Coach Charlie Ragle led Chaparral High School in Scottsdale, Arizona, to their second consecutive state title – using the Connex® sideline communications system from CoachComm.

Win a state championship in a football-rich state like Arizona and your high school team will be recognized for their significant accomplishment. Win back-to-back championships and get mentioned as the early favorite for a third and you become part of the national conversation as one of the top teams in the country.

That’s where Head Coach Charlie Ragle and his staff have taken the Firebirds of Chaparral High School in Scottsdale, Arizona. Last year, in what one writer called “one of the greatest seasons in Arizona high school football history,” Chaparral went 14-0, captured their second consecutive Arizona 5A Division II championship, outscored their opponents by a whopping 727-130 and landed in ESPN’s national top 25.

    For a season like that to happen, all the elements must come together. Not just talent on the field and solid Xs and Os, but a committed, unified coaching staff and every aspect of program management – including finding and utilizing technology tools that can be relied upon in high-pressure situations.

    Perhaps the most fundamentally-important tech tool for a coaching staff is a wireless headset system that provides clear, reliable game-time communication between coaches. For Coach Charlie Ragle and the Chaparral coaching staff, that system is Connex from CoachComm.

    Used by thousands of high schools and small colleges across the country, the Connex system is compact for easy transporting and it’s quick and easy to set up on game day – allowing coaches to spend more time coaching. The hands-free beltpack has a battery meter to measure the charge on the lithium ION batteries, which provide up to 16 hours continuous use on a single charge. Most importantly, Connex provides superior sound quality and reliable performance that eliminates interference from any outside sources that could disrupt crucial communications between coaches during a critical game.

    CoachComm, a trusted leader in communications for over 20 years, is trusted by champions like Chaparral. To find out more, AFM asked Coach Charlie Ragle how Connex has made a positive impact on his sideline communications. 
AFM: You’re coming off another fantastic season last year. What did it mean to you and your players to capture your second consecutive state championship and receive national attention?

Ragle: Four years ago, when I took over this program, it was our goal to win a state championship. Ultimately, we wanted to become a nationally recognized program. Capturing our second straight title and gaining national attention was the culmination of many great players and coaches dedicated to a cause that was bigger than any one individual. 
AFM: In high pressure games like your matchups in the state playoffs, how important is it to have a reliable headset communications system for you and your coaching staff?

Ragle: The best thing about having a reliable headset system is you never even know its there. It is the equivalent to a long snapper - if you have a great one, nobody really notices, but if you have one that makes mistakes and doesn’t work you have a serious issue.  

AFM: How did your CoachComm Connex headset system perform during the playoffs last season?  

Ragle: Our headsets performed perfectly during the playoffs, as they had all year. We played our state championship game at the Arizona Cardinal’s Stadium with a wide variety of digital coverage between TV and radio and our system was not impeded upon in any way.   
AFM: How would you compare your CoachComm Connex system to your previous system? Did you experience problems with your old system that Connex solved? 

Ragle: My first year, we purchased a different system and had so many problems in the first month that we switched to Connex in the middle of the season. Since then, we have never looked back. Any issues or problems have been resolved immediately and allow us to focus on the game, not our headsets. 

AFM: How many coaches on the sidelines and in the press box use the system during a game? Do you have specific guidelines for who talks and when? 

Ragle: We have seven coaches on the sideline with headsets and two upstairs during games. The channels are split between offense and defense.  
AFM: What features of the Connex system are most important to you? 

Ragle: The greatest asset is the ability to easily set the system up before and after a game. Battery life is amazing. Overall, it is a very reliable system. 
AFM: How has CoachComm supported you and the system since you purchased it? 

Ragle: The support that we get from CoachComm is second to none. It is fast, professional and never once have we been left in a situation where our football game took a back seat to our equipment.


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