The student news site of Yorktown High School

Yorktown Sentry

Bruce Hanson: A Yorktown Legend

Mr.+Hanson+has+been+teaching+in+Arlington+for+37+years
Mr. Hanson has been teaching in Arlington for 37 years

Mr. Hanson has been teaching in Arlington for 37 years

Lindsey Bowers

Lindsey Bowers

Mr. Hanson has been teaching in Arlington for 37 years

Sofie Dalton, Sentry Staff Reporter

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






There are many legends that have walked these halls. As they have moved on with their lives, the only physical remembrance of them is their picture on the Hall of Fame. However, one legend still walks these halls every school day and is at every single football game. Football coach and gym teacher Bruce Hanson has already cemented his legacy as a football coach, and as a long standing teacher. It is one that he continues to build on year after year. Our school is privileged and fortunate to have such a fabled coach stand on the football sidelines for 0ver three decades.

Hanson started teaching part time at Yorktown in 1980, making him the longest serving teacher in the school. After coaching football at Chantilly High School and Wakefield High School, Hanson became the head football coach at Yorktown in 1984. This fall marked his 32nd season as head coach. While much has changed in 32 seasons, for Hanson the biggest change for the football team has been changing conferences.

“Now we’re playing in division six and we used to be in division five, so we’re playing bigger schools now . . . we’re one of the smaller schools in division six, so that’s been a little tough,” Hanson said.

Despite the difficult conference change, Hanson’s love for coaching football has not changed. His favorite things about coaching the football team are getting to work with his assistant coaches and the players on the team.

“We’ve got a lot of good assistant coaches, a lot of them played for me, so the guys that I work with are really good and the kids are really good . . . the guys that play are just fun to coach,” Hanson said.

Hanson started playing football himself in high school, before going on to play at William and Mary. He appreciates the team aspect of the game.

“I think it’s the ultimate team game because you have so many different guys and they have different roles . . . in football you got guys that catch the ball, guys that run the ball, guys that block, guys that tackle, so you have a lot of different roles and you’ve got to bring them all together,” Hanson said.

Hanson has created an incredible team environment for the football team, one that goes far beyond the field. Former football player and Yorktown alumnus Brett Merkel thinks the welcoming atmosphere Hanson created for the team has contributed to their success.

“Coach Hanson has made the football program almost like a second family . . . he has really made it a family atmosphere which is part of the reason we’re so successful,” Merkel said.

Merkel thinks Hanson is a unique as a coach because he does not micromanage or take the football program too seriously.

Most football coaches are way too serious, they take themselves too serious, and they take the entire program too seriously they’re micromanagers, and Coach Hanson, he always had a smile on his face, and he delegated a lot of the responsibilities to the assistant coaches,” Merkel said.

Merkel also believes that Hanson has allowed other members of the football program to take leadership roles, which has made the team better.

“He was very hands off, he let a lot of the assistant coaches or even players figure out themselves how the improve while on the field during football games . . . he did a really good job of knowing when he wasn’t the expert . . . and he would let other people make the decisions, so he was a good manager of the football team,” Merkel said.  

Merkel misses Hanson’s mentorship both on and off the field.

“He really kind of walked me through how to become a better athlete, and in addition to that, a better leader of other players myself. I was captain my senior year so he kind of showed me and guided me on how to continuously improve both in football and just generally in life,” Merkel said.

Merkel says that there were times where the football team was playing a team that was more talented than them, but the bond Hanson helped build among the players, and the motivation he provided, allowed them to overcome.

“The teams I played on didn’t have a lick of talent on them, but every year we exceeded expectations. No one was over 6 feet tall and certainly no one was getting heavily recruited by college football powerhouses, but we still won the District Championship and handily beat the teams with guys going to Florida State and other ACC programs. Coach Hanson made us believe in something bigger than ourselves and the bond between the players was much tighter than other schools, so the talent deficit was easy to overcome,” Merkel said.

Hanson has many accomplishments in all his years of coaching. He has been inducted into both the Arlington County Sports Hall of Fame and the Northern Virginia Football Hall of Fame (formerly the Fairfax County Football Hall of Fame). Since Hanson began coaching the football team, they have won more than 230 games, which makes him the most successful current football coach in the area.

Hanson may have many accomplishments as a coach on the field, but coaching is also about what is done off the field. Hanson has created incredible relationships with his players, and he’s created a family environment within the football team. Hanson may be a legend as a coach, but he means more to our school. He is an example of dedication year after year, day in and day out. That adds to his already filled legacy, one that will never be forgotten.

 

850 total views, 6 views today

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Comment

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar.




Navigate Right
Navigate Left
  • Bruce Hanson: A Yorktown Legend

    Headlines

    The Title of Teacher of the Year Sums Up Saavedra

  • Bruce Hanson: A Yorktown Legend

    Headlines

    From Admiral to Patriot: Moving up the Ranks

  • Bruce Hanson: A Yorktown Legend

    Headlines

    Girls Soccer Team Brings Home the State Championship Title

  • Bruce Hanson: A Yorktown Legend

    Headlines

    A Zito-less Environment

  • Bruce Hanson: A Yorktown Legend

    Headlines

    In Pasi We Trust

  • Bruce Hanson: A Yorktown Legend

    Headlines

    A Day in the Life of of Ebenezer Oware

  • Bruce Hanson: A Yorktown Legend

    Headlines

    A Day with Krulfeeld

  • Bruce Hanson: A Yorktown Legend

    Headlines

    The #Changeisreal at Yorktown

  • Bruce Hanson: A Yorktown Legend

    Headlines

    Child Sexual Assault

  • Bruce Hanson: A Yorktown Legend

    Headlines

    School SoundCloud Successes

The student news site of Yorktown High School
Bruce Hanson: A Yorktown Legend