Some high school assistants are destined to become head coaches one day.
They ply their trade for a few years as coordinators until the opportunity to take over the reins of a team materializes.
Dean Eychner never fit that mold. In fact, Eychner had settled into his defensive coordinator role at Hillsborough and seemed perfectly content.
"I just was never one of those coaches who envisioned himself as a head coach," said Eychner, who leads the Brandon Eagles into tonight's preseason game at Blake. "It wasn't that I didn't think I could do it. It just wasn't an ultimate goal of mine."
That's not to say Eychner hasn't had opportunity on his doorstep in the nearly three decades he has been on the sidelines. Eychner said he had "kicked the tires" on a few jobs and even was in consideration for the head coaching position at Brandon in the 1990s.
"It was always just the wrong place or wrong time," he said. "There are so many timing things that go into decisions like this, and it was never right for me."
But after 17 years at Hillsborough High, Eychner finally decided his time had come.
"At this time in my career, it was time to see if I could get this done," Eychner said.
Brandon athletic director Tibor Kovacs said there was no resignation on the school's part that Eychner, chosen from more than 30 applicants, had never been a head coach at any level.
"No, we felt he shone through during the interview process," Kovacs said. "We chose coach Eychner because we felt he was the best candidate."
Eychner was drawn to coaching as a youngster, despite not excelling at any one sport.
"I would not describe myself as stellar athletically," he said. "But I loved the idea of competition and being able to use your mind to influence the outcome."
A die-hard Dallas Cowboys fan, Eychner predictably looked up to quarterback Roger Staubach and coach Tom Landry.
"The way coach Landry could measure his emotions was amazing," he said. "And Staubach was just so consistent. As I got older I stated looking up to people like (the late Apple CEO) Steve Jobs. I was drawn to people who knew what it took to be successful."
While not as wealthy as Jobs, veteran Hillsborough coach Earl Garcia is another man Eychner credits with his success.
"Coach G gave me access to everything," Eychner said. "If he hadn't prepared me in every way, I don't think the transition would have been nearly as smooth."
Eychner also credited Robinson's Mike DePue and former Chamberlain coach Billy Turner for getting him ready for a job he calls "the big chair."
"Those guys are more like family than friends to me," Eychner said.
Although he has been pleased with the way things have come together with the regular season kicking off Aug. 31 at Armwood, Eychner said the most difficult part of his new job has been off-field issues.
"The football part is just that," Eychner said. "But I don't think a lot of people understand what it takes to build a successful program. You have to have the commitment that every little thing is done right."
Brandon Wright can be reached at email@example.com.