Coach-in-Focus: Mr. Birchenall

Coach in Focus - Mr. Birchenall_Allison_Laude (1)Writer: Carolina M.

Editor:​ Lucas V.

Photographer/Graphic Designer: Johanna O.

Many of us know and respect Mr. Birchenall, the assistant principal who silences assemblies so effectively that you can hear a pin drop. This year, he’s bringing his authority to the football pitch to coach the Girl’s Varsity Football Team.

In his youth, Mr. Birch played a range of sports. He enjoyed cricket, rugby, golf, and tennis, but he says “football has always been [his] passion”. His love for the game began when he was just four years old and has never wavered since. In recent years, the main outlets for his passion have been watching the Prem and coaching the boys and girls teams at ISM. He has been a football coach for 22 years, and only in the last four years did he expand to coaching the golf teams. 

As we all know, the upcoming first season IASAS tournaments will all be hosted at ISM to commemorate our centennial year. Mr. Birch says that this special occasion “Only raises the level of excitement!” This is true not only for the community but especially for the players who will have the home fans present to support them. On top of excitement running high, the hype behind this event has also raised expectations for the players to succeed. On the topic of pressure, Mr. Birch comments, “As coaches, it is our job to ease the pressure the players feel and make sure they manage it.” Overall, he is “absolutely delighted to be involved” in this momentous event.

Mr. Birchenall describes himself as a coach that “loves the feeling of winning, and hates the feeling of losing.” Despite this, football has given him so much happiness over the years, coaching is his way of getting himself “involved and giving back every day” while also relishing the adrenaline that is felt from a matchday. In his coaching partnership with Mr. Sheard, Mr. Birch declares that he’s “the good cop”, many agree with this Despite his reputation at assembly, Mr. Birch insists that he maintains this “good cop” status in the administration as well, saying “If people knew me they wouldn’t be afraid.” Mr. Birch’s charisma and excitement for this fast approaching IASAS can certainly be felt when speaking to him. He and Mr. Sheard are doing an excellent job in preparing their athletes for the immense responsibility of representing ISM at IASAS and watching these athletes play is certainly something that should not be missed.