ORHS Film and Videography Program Helps Coaches, Students

ORHS Senior Renee Foskett has been performing videography duties for Oak Ridge athletic teams for three years now. Photo courtesy of Doug Sarant.

There are a lot of behind the scenes folks who contribute to the success of our schools and their athletic programs. They don’t normally get the recognition they deserve. Today we profile Coach Steve Standefer, who runs the Film and Videography program at Oak Ridge High School.

Coach Standefer is in his first year at Oak Ridge High School and 12th year overall. He has several titles and is quite the busy educator. His titles are many: Special Education teacher as well as a football and baseball coach. Those three positions have “Coach Stan” busy enough but it doesn’t even come close to stopping right there. He is also the Film and Videography guru for Coach Rush’s athletic program.

I know – you’re thinking what’s the big deal – he films athletic events, hands over the film to the coaches of  whatever sport he is filming and his day is done. Fat chance! As you will read in this article, the F&V department for the athletic program is quite involved and serves several purposes not the least of which is educating students as to the program so they can further their education in college and then make a career out of it. “Coach Stan” will be stealing my by-line today as he describes what this much needed program entails and how it benefits the students in the field of Film and Videography as well as how vital it is to the athletic department at Oak Ridge High School.

“Film and videography in football is not something new. My father-in-law tells me of the days when his then new head coach, Bum Phillips, came in and brought filming into their program when he was in high school, and that was many moons ago. I enjoy what I do with videography and see it as an extremely vital tool for coaching and teaching. Kids these days can hear you say something all day long to correct something, but until they “see” it with their own eyes, they don’t believe it. That’s why we say “the eye in the sky, doesn’t lie!

There are so many aspects of the game that we can correct from the first Monday practice in August that could affect a State Championship in December. Comically, most coaches in my position are thrown into this role as a place that no one else wants to be. I accepted it as an important role.

It all started when I was in my second year coaching where I was “entrusted” this role by our head coach and athletic director, Danny Long, 11 years ago in Jacksonville, Texas. He called us all in and said we have this new computer/scouting program that will be associated with film and I need my junior high staff to handle it. Of course, being in my second year of coaching, and one of the youngest and probably more “techno-savvy” of the bunch, I was unanimously voted into the role. It involved very long nights, lots of blank video tapes and a mountain of VCR’s.

That’s where it all began. Before this time, all I knew was to watch film and pick up tendencies from my opponent from a player’s standpoint or as a neophyte coach trying to figure it all out as to what the other coaches on the team were watching for and picking their brains as a rookie. Once thrown into this role, I realized its importance and we began to watch more than just game film. I noticed that practices and drills needed to be filmed so that we could correct our mistakes before Friday night.

ORHS Coach Steve Standefer - Photo courtesy of Andy Brown

John Tyler High School was my first opportunity to expand this idea and the concept that had been gnawing at me as my responsibilities and role grew. Dereck Rush, after taking on the role as head coach at John Tyler, approached me as being his video coordinator and a coach with his new staff. I accepted without delay. I had played a role as a junior high coordinator at two different middle schools that fed John Tyler high school. I was loyal to John Tyler already by having scouted and supported the program all along. The video coordinator at the time wanted me to take on the role when he left and recommended me for that position. I was grateful for the recommendation and to Coach Rush for trusting me in this position.

That first year was a difficult one and another rebuild from all angles. All night film breakdown sessions, lengthy downloads, and technical difficulties were commonplace. As we focused on rebuilding efforts for the next year, this was when and where the idea of growing a videography program that compared to any Division I program in the nation began. Digital Sports Video (DSV), who was later bought out by hudl.com, was new to the market and we had become a pilot of their newest program. Long gone were the days of reel to reel film and VHS tapes to a more digital footprint of video and technology.

Tyler ISD Athletic Director Danny Long signed off on the growth plan that increased our video and technical program associated with athletics. That is when our program sky rocketed on and off the field and we saw great advances in our program from a technical standpoint. Video became an essential tool with the more interactive filming of drills, practices and games throughout the spring and upcoming years.

Our athletes benefited by seeing themselves and learning from their actions on film which led to future years of success in our program. As our program grew, so did my role which included assuming the role as recruiting coordinator as we expanded our efforts in helping our athletes get recruited. We went from having a few athletes sign college scholarships each year to multiple athletes signing every year. All along, they had the athletic talent to go anywhere, but we were able to promote them to more areas than just the regional markets. We began to push our athletes to concentrate even more on qualifying for any college in America. The advances of the Internet helped promote our kids to all reaches of the country.

Big time programs were now not the only ones to sign, or even see our athletes – now, all colleges could. We made pushes to increase our numbers annually. We were never promising scholarships, but we were suggesting to our athletes that if they make the grade and can do the job, we are going to do our best to get them there (scholarship). We had one even go as far as the University of Hawaii who is still playing today.

Then it hit me, the idea of recruiting expanded to my filmers, too. Who else better to promote when trying to get the ones on the other side of the camera into college. That very next year, I recruited three freshmen and a sophomore to be my first ones to promote to the collegiate level. I taught them everything I could so they could be “marketable” to the collegiate level. In fact, their training came into a crucial role of importance when I was involved in a “gator accident” at Rose Stadium after the last district game of the sub-varsity season, severely breaking my leg. They stepped in and filled my role when no other coach could. I was proud of them as mere freshmen in high school. Though I never missed a game through a quarterfinal run at that time, they took care of business during the week. It was a proud moment in my teaching career. I vowed from that point on that I would promote them as much as humanly possible. If they could get accepted to a school, I was going to do my best to promote them as a video manager and get them some assistance in scholarships or as an undergraduate paid assistant. I still do to this day.

Upon leaving John Tyler High School, I recommended my role to be transferred to the current video  coordinator, where I told him his biggest assets were his managers and to do everything he can to promote them to the collegiate level.

Last Spring, when Coach Rush was being considered for his current position of head football coach/athletic director, he gave me a “heads up” speech that included, “If it is in God’s will for me to have this position, I am taking you with me!” I gladly accepted upon his acceptance of his new position. It was all a leap of faith, but one that I believed that Coach Rush and his vision of BELIEVE was not just for the kids. It was for us coaches too. Coach Rush is a very strong man in his faith and I respect that more than words could say.

As I addressed the needs to rebuild this program from a video and technological side of things, Coach
Rush asked me, “what do I need?” and by the graciousness of the budget and of the booster club members, it far exceeded my first year expectations. I am truly thankful for the blessed individuals who have contributed to the success of this videography program and their input. It has been a great start to begin the growth of this program. Their ability to see my vision and goals of this program made me realize that I, too, was following and what God had in store for me. One comment made by a booster member confirmed it all. “ I am just doing what God told me to do,” I knew then I was in the right spot.

Summer was over and two-a-days were upon us. I had the equipment and I had what I needed to get started. What I didn’t have was my most important asset – my students. I made a phone call to Stuart Norton, Football Booster Club President, and asked if he could promote this need for Student Managers.

This will remain as a standing request every year. Then, all of a sudden, I had five, then four. I lost one to her skills on the volleyball court and I wish her well. I currently have four of the best managers anyone would want. I have one senior and three sophomores.

Renee Foskett is my senior lead manager and she has served in this role from her sophomore year and plans to continue her videography skills at the collegiate level as a video manager as she pursues her post-secondary education. She is one of the top students in her class and has been accepted to Stephen F. Austin State University, Abilene Christian University and Louisiana State University. We are currently pursuing opportunities in each of these three programs as a scholarship manager or paid undergraduate assistant. I am training her in regards to the input and film breakdown aspects of the Hudl.com program to enhance her marketability to any of these programs.

The other three, Zack Morgan, Richard Cardenas, and Andrew Stack are sophomores and will be benefiting from three more years of experience that will hopefully aid them in our efforts to promote them to the next level. They are the most important tools in my arsenal. These students know the business and fun side of videography and will put our athletes in the best angle possible. I couldn’t be successful without them.

Since the school year began, Baseball has also installed the hudl.com program into its practice regimen and we are anticipating the growth of videography in our baseball program. After discussing the vision with Bryan Morytko, Baseball Booster Club President, we are excited to include the plans of having the first of its kind video tool that will promote our baseball program for home and away games and be the first in the Houston market to have such a tool. This will help our kids tremendously. The installation ofthis new program for baseball will allow the coaches and players to begin filming drills and practices for review to use as a teaching tool through the off-season. This will be a vital tool for our baseball success at Oak Ridge High School. Baseball is just another sport that will reap the benefits of video as a teaching tool for our kids at Oak Ridge.

Ultimately my role as video coordinator is to promote our kids in front of and behind the camera and building a curriculum that promotes all kids and all sports at Oak Ridge High School. As you can tell, my program is my passion when it comes to my athletic role here at Oak Ridge.

There is not much to tell about myself as I would rather promote others and enjoy being behind the scenes. My career path goes like this: I am a Stephen F. Austin State University graduate. This is my 12th year teaching and coaching, and I started out in Van, Texas as varsity running back coach and assistant basketball coach. I then left for Jacksonville and served in many roles there to include moving into video coordinating. After Jacksonville, I moved to Tyler as a junior high coordinator at two stops then John Tyler. Finally, I am here at Oak Ridge as a Special Education teacher, video coordinator, recruiting coordinator with Coach Terry Mills, assistant defensive ends coach with Coach James Croley, freshmen defensive ends coach and assistant baseball coach.

I am happily married to my wife, Teri Ann, and we have a daughter, Joy, who is a competitive gymnast and lives out every day as a true “Joy” in my life. I wouldn’t be anywhere without these two in my life. They are my gift from God. “

Now you know everything you need to know about the Film and Videography department, including the motivated head of the department and the hard working students who help run it. Oak Ridge High School is raising the bar in every department. Soon, when the Oak Ridge athletic department is sending teams deep into the 5A playoffs, you can bet that the Film and Videography department had a lot to do with it.

F&V is just one of many “Behind the Scenes” articles you will find only at Oak Ridge Now. We will be promoting the many school programs that make Oak Ridge high school a smooth running operation. You may or may not have heard of some but you can bet that all are just as important as the other as the school continues to raise the bar.

Comments to doug@oakridgenow.com

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Doug Sarant, Oak Ridge Now

Born and raised in New England, Doug promises he got to Texas as fast as he could. He earned the much needed "piece of paper" from Sam Houston State, proving to himself he could start and finish something. Doug's interests include coaching and playing any sport and still plays lacrosse competitively. He also enjoys going to dinner theaters, though he complains there just aren't enough of them in the area. Doug was brought up in a cultured environment, having suffered through dozens of symphonies and operas with his way too over-educated mother. At the end of the day, Doug is just a dad and husband and claims to be good at both.

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