Erik Ormberg found his identity in something he loved – football – and has the opportunity to share that passion every day as the new head coach of the Medfield High School football team.
While this is Ormberg's first year as a head coach, he has a wealth of football experience, including over a decade in the Medfield High School program.
Ormberg has experience in all three phases of the game but says he has an affinity for defense.
"I played defense, defense is what I coached for 10 years as a coordinator," said Ormberg. "Being the defensive coordinator would assume you’re comfortable with that side of it but the other thing is your constantly scheming against the offense, so when the transition [to head coach] took place, I figured things have to change. So I have to give some of this defensive stuff up and get some fresh eyes and fresh perspectives so I’ve actually focused my time on special teams, which will now become the most attractive side of the ball."
A Walpole native, Ormberg played at Walpole High and Ithaca College before returning to coach at WHS in 1994.
"I started as a defensive line coach there and kind of worked my way up to the special teams coordinator," Ormberg said.
In 1998, Ormberg was hired as a middle school guidance counselor in Medfield but stayed on the Walpole coaching staff for two more years before taking a coaching position with the MHS varsity program.
"I think it was 2001 or 2002, I started coaching with Vin Joseph as the linebacker coach at the [Medfield High] varsity [program] and the following year I was the defensive coordinator," Ormberg said. "I held that post for nine years in Medfield and this year the opportunity came to apply for the position."
Ormberg, now a Medfield High School guidance counselor, said a goal of his was to be able to work and coach in the same building, something he achieved 10 years ago at the middle school when Medfield High School athletic director Jon Kirby and former New England Patriots head coach Pete Carroll, who lived in town at the time, started a football program at the middle school level.
Then after the departure of Medfield High School football coach Mike Slason last season, a desired opportunity for Ormberg arose.
"I tried to grab hold of the opportunity and I’m excited it has worked out thus far," Ormberg said.
Slason held the Warriors' helm for the past six seasons and had 18 years of experience in the MHS program as an assistant coach. Slason coached the Warriors to its first – and only – Super Bowl title in 2007 and guided Medfield to a second consecutive Super Bowl appearance in 2008.
Ormberg is looking to reenergize a program that has seen a drop in participation and only seven victories in two seasons – Medfield finished 5-6 last season.
"The community itself is a very supportive community when it comes to athletics and it comes to academics," said Ormberg. "I think when you can channel the right energy in to the right places, you can build for the long term. I want Medfield High School kids to be excited to play high school football for Medfield. I’m excited to create that sense of pride, that sense of community, that sense of bond, or at least continue it."
Ormberg said he hopes to create a football environment that thrives on competitiveness and communication.
"My goal all along from the interview process through [this coming] Thanksgiving is I want to be consistent in the message we’re delivering, I want to be competitive and we want to communicate," Ormberg said. "We want to do that with everybody, with the players, parents, amongst the staff, we don’t want the kids to be given mixed messages."
Since being named head coach of the Warriors in February, Ormberg said the only real challenge has been waiting for the calendar to read Aug. 22 – the official start of the high school football season.
"It’s been fast, I was named in February and I can’t believe we’re [a week away]," Ormberg said. "[But] it’s the anticipation and preparation [of the season] and the balancing of [responsibility] and trying to be efficient [that is] probably the biggest challenge and I hope it's singular and that’s the biggest challenge in any head coach’s first year."
While winning can easily measure a program's success, Ormberg is more focused on the experience the program provides to its players.
"My goal isn’t to send kids off to big Division I college programs, I want them to enjoy the high school experience," Ormberg said. "It’s a special thing and it is fleeting. It ends, for these seniors it ends very suddenly in November and a lot of the guys will never play the game again. So there’s a very tangible finality to it and I just want the kids to enjoy the competition and being a part of it."
But that doesn't mean the program will shy away from achieving excellence.
"My goal is that these kids compete in every single game and that I’m creating a community of competitors on the football field," Ormberg said.
If players buy into Ormberg's passion for the game he's loved his entire life than fielding a competitive team won't be difficult.
"My wife asks me all the time ‘do they have to love [football] as much as you do?’ And I have come to realize in the head coaching role that I want kids that are three-sport athletes, I want kids that are well-rounded," Ormberg said. "I want kids that care about school, they’re commitments to themselves, their families, their community and things. We want them to have a sense of pride about playing football."