By Michael Kinney
The Norman Transcript
NORMAN — When the Westmoore football players came off the field for the final time in the 2013 season, they had a sense of optimism about them. Even though they had just been eliminated by Jenks in the semifinals of the 6A state playoffs, almost every Jaguar talked about how far the program had come and the high expectations they had for it in the future.
However, at that time, they had no idea that the man who had led them back to near the top would be gone a couple of months later when head coach Billy Langford stepped down.
For the second straight time, the Moore school board went outside its ranks and district to hire a new skipper. Former Broken Arrow defensive coordinator Adam Gaylor has been tabbed to keep the Jaguars among the state’s elite.
“If you want to be a high school football coach, you want to coach at the highest level,” Gaylor said. “You want to compete against the best people. To get a job in the upper division of 6A-1 is going to give you that opportunity. And this was one of them. It’s not just some 6A-1 job, it’s an elite 6A program. That’s due to the people who came before me. Coach (Mike) Whaley and coach Langford. And the people who’ve made the program into what it is.”
Before accepting the Westmoore job in March, Gaylor had been on the Tigers’ staff the past seven seasons. That includes six as the defensive coordinator.
While Gaylor has had other opportunities to move into the head coaching chair, he said they weren’t right for him.
“The last few years, I’ve had thoughts about being a head coach and wanting to make the jump, so to speak,” Gaylor said. “I’ve looked into a couple of other jobs. Things were right as far as personally, just the timing wasn’t right with some of the other situations. The time was good for me personally and professionally this time.”
What was different about Westmoore compared to the other programs was that it was a good place for his family, Gaylor said.
“For me, family is No. 1,” he said. “And I wanted to make sure it’s a place where it’s going to be an open atmosphere. And it was going to be a good fit for me and my family. And I certainly found out over the last month or so that that’s the way it is and that’s the environment being created there.”
Gaylor is taking over a team that has made it to the postseason each year under Langford. That culminated with the semifinal loss last year.
But he knows the Jaguars are looking to compete for state titles. And that means at some point knocking off the likes of Jenks and Union, who’ve won every 6A title since 1997.
While at Broken Arrow Gaylor got an up-close look at both programs and says there is no secret to making it happen.
“There is really no magical formula,” Gaylor said. “There’s not one thing you do. It’s the process you go about it. It’s what you do day in and day out. It’s in everything. How you lift weights, how you run and how attentive you are in meetings. It’s in everything you do. There’s a reason they’ve won the last 16 state championships, because they’ve had the best team. They’ve been the toughest, most physical football team on either side of the state.
“It’s been proven the last couple of years with Norman North and Westmoore last year making it to the semis, they can compete and get to that level,” he continued. “It’s just taking that next step. It’s the process.”
Gaylor said he is not planning to change everything Langford created. Most of his alterations will be formational, such as going to a 4-3 defense. The offense will still be a spread formation that is built around running the ball first.
Having faced the Jaguars a few times while at BA, he has nothing but praise for the fight Westmoore played with. He wants that to continue.
“The kind of trademark I’d like people to see if they watch us or play against us, I always want them to say your kids play hard and your kids play tough,” Gaylor said. “Hopefully we continue the same toughness and same physical mentality that coach Langford brought to Westmoore. That’s kind of what I want our trademark to be. It doesn’t matter how talented we are, we are going to be tough and physical.
“At the end of the day, my belief as a coach is that the most physical football team wins. The most physical football team consistently throughout a season wins the championship. I want to make our kids play physical, play tough and play hard.”
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