Football

Q & A: Westhill Coach Aland Joseph

Westhill football coach Aland Joseph reacts to a play during the Grip it and Rip It tournament. (Gregory Vasil)

Aland Joseph is no stranger to FCIAC football sidelines. After playing at Trinity Catholic and a stint as an assistant at St. Lawrence College, Joseph has been on the staffs at Trinity, Stamford, Norwalk and Brien McMahon.

Joseph will now get the opportunity to run his own program after being named the new coach at Westhill.

Joseph spoke to The Ruden Report at the Grip It & Rip It 7-on-7 passing tournament at New Canaan on Friday.

What attracted you to the job at Westhill?

“I actually landed a guidance counselor’s job there, which is great for me, and I always felt it was best for me to coach wherever I worked. It’s great if you’re in the building to keep up with the kids, like grades and just staying on top of them.”

Have you previously wanted to be a head coach or is this just the right place at the right time?

“It’s always been on my mind. As any coach, you always want to be running the show. This kind of fell into my hands at the right time so I was happy because I think we have a great group of kids we can lead.”

Who are some of the players we should be looking out for this fall?

“A couple guys you can definitely be keeping on eye on are David Moodie, who’s our running back and cornerback. He’s going to be a junior. He’s someone we were hoping last year was going to have a breakout year, but unfortunately with COVID… It’s going to be a big year for him. Westhill has always had a pretty good running back core the past decade so I’m trying to bring that back. A couple of other kids are Kevin Laba, who is a transfer from Stepinac. We’re really excited about him. And then Sam Engel, Ryan Ellis, two guys that we are counting on, on offense and defense, and then Estuardo Diaz, who is going to be a pretty good linebacker for us.”

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What is the most difficult part of taking over a team in a post-pandemic season?

“I would say the hardest part is just getting them used to the grind and things like that. The job of our offseason conditioning. That’s been great, watching our guys do that. About 70 guys showing up four days a week. That’s been awesome.”

What is the hardest part of going from being an assistant to head coach?

“A lot more meetings (laughs). That’s definitely been a change. A lot more meetings, a lot more organizing. It’s been great. You get to run your own show, so that’s the best part.”

Aland Joseph’s goal is to help the Vikings enjoy sustained success. (Gregory Vasil)

You may be the only coach in the league where so many of the games you play are against schools where you coached. How will that be?

“It’s a great league. I think it’s one of the best leagues in Connecticut. For me it’s great because I played in the league and I’ve coached in the league so I’m familiar with a lot of the teams. We’re excited to play against the best.”

What’s the most fun think you’ve done this summer that wasn’t football related?

“The best thing we’ve done is our guys had never taken ice baths before so this is the first year that they did it. Seeing their amazement and enthusiasm with the ice baths has been great.