POLO– The Polo football program is under new management, and it is old management.
Athletic Director Ted Alston, who led the Marcos for 11 years before stepping down after the 2010 season, once again will serve as the head coach, taking over for the now-retired Jeff Bumsted.
“I’d been out of it now for about 10 years,” Alston said. “I enjoyed coaching, I think I coached 16 years straight, gave it up so I could be around my boys more as they went through high school. They were playing sports and I didn’t want to miss all of their stuff. When I was back in a position where I could coach, we were in pretty good hands, and I felt that once Jeff retired, I thought I’d like to come back and run a program again.
“It is exciting. You miss being around the kids and being a part of the Friday night atmosphere. It just kind of started to get into my blood again.”
Alston led the Marcos to a 48-58 record, including five straight playoff trips from 2005 through 2009 before Andrew Hofer took the reins for five seasons, going 27-23 and making a pair of playoff trips.
Alston steps in for Bumsted, who retired after the 2019 season in which the Marcos won the 8-man state title in a 50-26 win over Milford-Cissna Park. Bumsted was 28-13 in 4 years at the helm, taking the Marcos to the postseason twice in 11-man football before the unbeaten run through the 8-man ranks last fall.
“Coach Bumsted and I are very good friends, very close,” Alston said. “He was my assistant for many years. He’s a great coach.”
Much of what Bumsted ran with the Marcos will remain in the playbook under Alston.
“I didn’t really feel like the transition from his coaching style and his program to mine would be very different,” Alston said. “Talking to some of their coaches and watching the program over the last couple of years, it’s very similar. I felt it was a good fit for me to move back in. I thought it would be easier for the kids.”
When Alston last coached the Marcos, they were still an 11-man program, but he studied what the team was able to do last fall in its first season of 8-man, and does not feel it will be a difficult transition.
“I’ve been doing a lot of work for Coach Bumsted, and when we made the transition to 8-man, we did a lot of research, we did a lot of homework, we spoke with coaches from 8-man programs,” Alston said. “I feel pretty comfortable and confident in 8-man. I don’t feel it’s as big a deal as people think. There’s a couple minor adjustments you make, but when it’s all said and done, 95% of it is all the same.”
Alston will stay on as Polo’s athletic director.