Tynan Rolander is the coach who has brought the South County High Varsity Football team to contention in two consecutive state championships, winning one against Oscar Smith High School in 2019. Rolander was part of the school’s first graduating class in 2007 and returned in 2011 to begin coaching after graduating from the Citadel.
Since 2016, Coach Rolander has led the team on a 24-game win streak over the course of two seasons which got himself and the South County team recognition from the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors. Fairfax County Times spoke with the coach about this attention from the county as well as his philosophy on coaching, and maintaining the streak during the coronavirus pandemic.
How did it feel to be honored by the County?
CR: Having the county recognize your achievements is always a humbling experience and there is no one person or thing responsible for that kind of success. It is always a complete team effort that leads to that success.
Who are the influences on your coaching philosophy?
CR: I credit my high school coaches: Coach Pete Bendorf, Jon Shields, and Adam Neff, along with my time at The Citadel, and the most recent Gerry Pannoni as influences on how I approach coaching. All of those people and places have had a profound impact on my coaching career.
How did the pandemic affect the season?
CR: Aside from the protocols we had to follow in order to practice and play games our players seemed to be relatively unaffected by the pandemic once the season actually got started. It certainly tested everyone’s ability to stay focused on the goal of playing and being in a position again to compete for a championship.
Since you’re aiming for state again, what are the strengths that you and your team continue to develop and what are some spots you’re looking to shore up?
CR: The hope is we are able to put ourselves in a position to compete for that kind of success again, it will take quite a bit of hard work and commitment from our players and coaches to make a reality.
As for strengths, we return a majority of our skill players offensively, with the exception of Charlie Miska, our QB, and Keshawn Toran, our RB. We have a wide-open battle for the starting QB spot so the best player will get the start come the fall.
In much the same vein we return 8 of 11 players off of our defense this fall, including every defensive lineman. But just as with QB every position is wide open for competition. Complacency is the enemy of greatness and we cannot afford to be complacent as we only have 9 weeks to prepare for the fall season.
In terms of places, we need to shore up, our defensive front, while returning all 4 starters, was inconsistent in their play last year. Finding the right 4 players that will consistently compete at a high level is imperative to our success. I can say the same for our Sam and Will linebacker positions where we will replace a 3 year starter and have a returning Sophomore starter respectively.
Lastly, we must find 3 quality players to replace the Senior offensive lineman we graduated this year. If we can shore up our fronts on both sides of the ball, we can give ourselves a good opportunity to compete at a high level again.
Interview has been edited for length and brevity