Ernest “Tank” Cunningham is the new football head coach at Glasgow High School. He replaces Michael Richardson, who resigned after leading the Dragons to records of 6-4 in 2017 and 2-8 in 2018.
“It was just a thrill to get the coaching job,” Cunningham, 43, said. “I’ve been interested in the job for a few years. My friends and family are happy for me. And my children are very happy for me. So, it’s a good feeling.”
Cunningham is hoping to restore energy into a football program that just two years ago captured the Blue Hen Flight B conference championship by going undefeated in the regular season.
“I am excited about the new energy surrounding our football program,” Glasgow athletic director Jeremy Jeanne said. “I think that Tank’s approach to the game of football in terms of how to coach the game is something that our players will be very receptive and excited about. His enthusiasm and connection with our players, along with football knowledge, was the reason he was selected to serve as Glasgow High School’s new football coach.”
Cunningham is familiar with the program from a parents’ standpoint. His son, Ja’saan, was a receiver and cornerback on the 2016 team. His other son and daughter also graduated from Glasgow.
“I hope to instill in the parents that this isn’t just about ‘Little Johnny’, but rather about building a football program,” Cunningham said. “The parents need to understand that their kids need to be disciplined in class and on the field.”
Cunningham has never been a head coach at the high school level, but has spent the last 15 years serving as an assistant under Kemp Carr at Penns Grove and Winslow Township High Schools in New Jersey.
“He prepared me for this moment,” Cunningham said of Carr. “He has a family tree of coaches with the same mentality and the same type of program. What he teaches is discipline and hard work and being a good citizen and a good student. Your pants are pulled up, it’s ‘yes sir’ and ‘no sir.’”
Cunningham, who is not otherwise employed by the district, welcomed approximately 30 players to winter workouts, where he has spent as much time getting to know them as he has helping them train.
“They want to be coached hard,” he said. “They want to change the culture. Everyone sees Glasgow on the schedule and they think it’s an easy win. We are going to change that. You’re going to have to play hard when you play us. We’re going to be physical.”
Like the other two high schools in the Christina School District, the Dragons have struggled getting players to come out for the team, and then, in some cases, have had an even harder time keeping them there.
“Winning changes that,” Cunningham explained. “You have a winning attitude and you come in with a business approach. We’re going to be disciplined. We’re going to be in the best condition we’ve ever been in. We’re going to have the right mindset mentally and spiritually. It’s bigger than the football program. I want these kids to have fun. I want to try to get these kids into colleges.”
Since taking over as athletic director at Glasgow, Jeanne’s focus has always been on the athlete experience, knowing that if it was a good one, the wins and losses would take care of itself.
“The kids are smiling. They are working hard in the weight room,” Jeanne said. “Coach has a natural ability to connect with people. The connection between the coach and the players is definitely there. I expect the enthusiasm around the team to be at an all-time high. Coach Tank is building a strong foundation, which with time will result in winning football games.”
Glasgow girls soccer alumni game
The Glasgow High girls soccer alumni game is Saturday, April 13, beginning at 6 p.m. in the stadium.