Compton’s football team looks for re-birth under coaching legend
COMPTON—Don Markham has had success everywhere he’s been as a high school head football coach. In 37 years he has compiled a 309-1110-1 record at eight different high schools, winning five CIF championships along the way. There is not one losing season on his resume.
Markham is also considered the master and innovator of the “double wing” offense that the Compton High School football program utilized under the coaching of Calvin Bryant.
He is now bringing his signature football philosophy to Compton High School, taking over the head football coach reins from Bryant. His presence is already being felt around the campus. Since arriving in March, Markham has implemented a yearround weight-training program and bonded with current and up-and-coming players by collaborating with them in helping plant new sod on the football field.
Markham’s immediate goals for the team are simple. By getting players on board with a year-round weight training program and driving an hour a day from Moreno Valley to help players plant seeds and water the football field, he wants to bring an element of camaraderie and toughness to the team. One way of doing that is to have a breakdown of weight room training for all classes, Markham said.
“It’s a big challenge because they don’t have a football program,” Markham said. “They have a team, but they don’t have classes of kids that are in weight training classes and things like that. It was just, ‘We’ll get together when we could and get out and do the best you could.’ But they did a pretty good job with the obstacles they were working with.
“I’m hoping to establish all the weight training classes needed to build a program. That’s not the way they were doing it here. If you don’t lift weights you get beat bad, bad, bad. If you don’t lift, you’re just going to get killed. And they weren’t lifting. They were playing with some talent, but they didn’t have strength.”
Markham’s past teams have all showcased a lot of strength. Markham won three CIF titles at Bloomington High School. He captured championships at Colton High School and L.A. Baptist as well. One of his Bloomington teams even set a national high school record in points scored in a season with 880. The kind of success he has been able to produce in nearly four decades of coaching can sometimes draw scrutiny.
Before taking over at Compton this spring, Markham resigned from his last head football coach position at Rialto High School, only to be considered for the job again. He decided to take on a new challenge and accepted the Compton job, despite the uncertaincy of waiting for a teaching vacancy to open up.
That issue has been resolved. With that matter behind him, Markham and his wife are now in the process of looking for a place to live in Compton. He can now get on with the process of upgrading the Compton football team, which went 7-12 the last two seasons. Working with the players planting sod has helped Markham get to know his team and what he’ll be working with for this fall.
Not only that, Markham believes that as he and the players go out and pick weeds and clean up trash around the campus, it will increase school pride.
“We’ll have a few Saturday work parties just to help clean up our area,” said Markham.