ELY — The Vermilion football team will be getting a fresh face at the head coaching position beginning in 2021.
Former Ironman and VCC alum Terrence Isaac Sr. recently accepted the coaching job and will be returning to the Iron Range after playing football for the Ironmen from 1995-1997. Isaac earned NJCAA All-American honors in 1997
Isaac is leaving his head coaching job at Green Oaks High School in Shreveport, LA. This past season, Isaac led the Green Oaks Giants to a 7-3 record and a perfect 4-0 district record on their way to a district championship.
With 16 years of coaching at the high school level, Isaac saw the opening at Vermilion and decided it was time to return to his alma mater.
“Over the years, I’ve kept up with Vermilion and how things are going there,” Isaac said Saturday afternoon. “I’ve had a big interest in the team and my first reaction after seeing the position open up was to immediately apply for it.”
Originally hailing from the Cleveland area, Isaac says his time in Ely was special and he’d like to return to the program to build it back up to what it once was.
“It was kind of a culture shock at first. Being a kid from Cleveland and going to Ely is really hard to describe. But I really enjoyed the community, the people and the school. I look back on those years with a lot of good memories.
“The football program has fallen a bit since I was there and I want to build it back up. In my time there, we won two state championships and only lost two games and I think the Ironmen can be that good again.”
Aside from building up the Ironmen on the field, Isaac wants to build them up again as a respectable program in the community.
“The most important thing we can do as a coach or as a team is to build relationships. We want to be going out in the community and start shaking hands and meeting people and getting some insight on what they need from us. What can we do for you as a football team? I’m big on community. I’m big on family and I want to get Vermilion back to where it was when I played there.”
Already active in recruiting for next season, Isaac says he’s looking for more than just athletes on his team.
“I’m definitely looking for guys with character. It’s not just about the best athletes. I want the guys on this team to be tough and have character. I can kind of tell them the story. I’ve been there in Ely so my greatest recruiting tool is my experience there. If you’re at a place where you want to lock in to school and football, then I think Vermilion is the right place for you.”
With the MCAC, along with many other football conferences, losing out on their 2020 season due to COVID-19, Isaac believes there’s a plethora of talent waiting for the right opportunity this upcoming season.
“There’s a lot of guys out there who have all the skills necessarily to play ball but sometimes they might just be overlooked. With the way COVID stopped a bunch of teams from playing, some rosters are already set and full for next year but for other teams I think it could be a great opportunity to look at a player that might not get noticed right away.”
On the field, Isaac is a more offensive-minded coach and plans to run a tight ship when his players are on the field.
“I want things to be very structured and very organized. The guys will know what they’re doing every day. I like our guys and our coaches to be well prepared but also give them something new every day. We’re going to challenge them not only on the field but in life as well and I think that’s very important for a football player.”
Isaac will move up to Ely this spring following his son’s high school graduation, but even though he’s not in Minnesota yet, he’s already put in the work to get things started for next year’s Ironmen squad.
“Just getting on the phone and building a relationship with the guys on the team so far has been important. Keeping in contact with them and getting them fired up for something new is great. It’s an exciting time.
“I’m fired up to get back to Vermilion and do some work. I’m looking forward to all of it.”