GAME NIGHT: Versailles offensive coordinator Kyle Meyer ready to plant roots with the Tigers
A familiar face has returned to the sidelines on Friday nights at Versailles and has brought three Division II national championship rings back with him.
Kyle Meyer, who played for the Tigers in 2011 and 2012 before he became a three-time national champion at Northwest Missouri State University in Maryville, is the new offensive coordinator in 2020 after some time spent coaching middle school football.
“I’m very passionate about this school. It has always been my goal to come back here to just help this program to the best of my abilities,” said Meyer who played offensive line for both the Tigers and Bearcats. “I don’t want to be here to just teach them ‘X’s and O’s,’ I want to be here to help kids and teach good life lessons they can take with them after football.”
Well, there certainly could not be a better time for that after coming into a new role in the middle of a pandemic. Meyer has been coaching high school for just a few months, but certainly won’t take any opportunity to be with the team for granted.
“I would say the biggest thing I learned is we always have to be ready to improvise, especially with this pandemic,” the offensive coordinator said after a summer in which certain weeks of practice or weightlifting sessions were cancelled out of caution. “Not only us, but the kids as well. I commend them for just being able to be on their toes every week because you never know what is going to happen next. We just have to be ready, be close together and I think stuff like this will bring the team close together.”
Meyer is also just as invested with the rest of the coaching staff, appreciating the insight from what he calls a “wealth of knowledge” amongst his peers.
“There is a reason they are on this staff. They all have great vision as far as what they want in the future for this program,” the offensive coordinator remarked. “We all just came in here and immediately meshed. Since any of the interview processes and stuff like that, we just knew we were going to be good together and coach well together.”
Things have gone so well, in fact, that any practice may inspire a fun rivalry or competition between Meyer’s offense and Defensive Coordinator Aaron Allen’s defense.
“We mess with each other a little bit on the field,” Meyer noted with a smile. “We like to give each other some ‘smack’ (talk) and trash talk a little bit but we are trying to make each other better and want the best out of each other.”
A competitive nature has been part of Meyer’s repertoire for quite some time, though, even before winning three national titles in the college ranks. Thinking back to his playing days at Versailles, the coach recalled a loss to Eldon that made a major impact on him.
“That really taught me as a player and coach that you always need to be working and to get away from trying to be complacent. Since then, I’ve had a fire to just want to get better every single day, just go the extra mile and do more than what you are asked or required to do,” Meyer stated.
Meyer went on to learn and play different positions along the offensive line at Northwest Missouri State, became a stickler for details when it came to studying film and learned not just specific plays but why they worked when everyone did their job correctly as a single unit. Overall, they are tools that may prove to be very useful when it comes to breaking down a defense.
Scoring touchdowns and putting points on the board will be great indicators of how well things are going, but Meyer is just as excited to see individual growth.
“Being able to see a kid grow as a leader, that is probably the number one compliment I can get as a coach,” he said. “I was always taught, too, that if you can get a kid to maybe play beyond his natural ability, that is one of the best compliments a coach can have. So, when I see stuff like that and kids going the extra mile, that really helps me out each day and gives me a little confidence as a coach.”
It is a mission Meyer will look to fulfill every year at Versailles where he hopes to remain his entire coaching career. There is just something about the place that makes him want to stick around.
“It is my home,” the coach simply put it. “I met my wife at speech class down the hall and we have a son now. I just want him to play here and I know a lot of people in the community. I like the direction this community is heading, for sure, and I definitely think football can help with that. If we establish a good program, that only brings a community closer together.”
Editor's Note: This is part one in a four-part series highlighting assistant football coaches around the Lake area and the work they do behind the scenes. Originally intended for the "Game Night" football tab, which was temporarily suspended this year due to COVID-19, we are presenting this feature series now that has become a "Game Night" tradition.