HELENA -- When Carroll College head football coach Troy Purcell was hired in December 2018, he got on the recruiting trail shortly thereafter to make up for lost time. Now in his second year at the helm, everything has come to a screeching stop.
With the COVID-19 pandemic forcing major collegiate sports organizations to cancel spring sports and activities like spring football, Purcell still finds himself in sixth gear, as he and his squad get ready for the 2020 season.
“It kind of relates to football and life. You don't know what it's going to swing at you and throw at you," Purcell told MTN Sports via a Zoom call. "You just got to be prepared for anything and then just coach on the run."
Before the cancellation of spring activities, the Fighting Saints announced their latest recruiting class and hired two new assistant coaches. Wes Nurse comes on as the new defensive coordinator, while Ryan Springer will head the offensive line. As time ticks toward the beginning of the season, all of the coaches are looking forward to the day they can finally work with their players in person.
"We're real hungry. They're hungry to get in here and teach the kids what they know and get to know them on a personal level, where it's just not Zoom and a face on a screen," Purcell said. "We're just doing the best we can for what we have. “
Despite COVID-19 canceling in-person workouts and meetings, Purcell says that the job is actually busier in some aspects.
“Sometimes you don't get done until 7:15 or 7:30 p.m. We just can't seem to get away from these 12-, 15-hour (days). I don't know, just is what it is. It's the nature of the business. When you're on, you're on. When you're off, I guess you're still on a little bit because of the time commitment,” said Purcell with a chuckle.
With spring activities shut down and no timetable set for the return of sports, Purcell knows they’ll have a lot to get done in a shorter amount of time when they get back to work, which is why he'll lean on his leaders to help carry the load.
“I think leadership is going to be real important ... how our leaders, you know, bring this group together, and how hard and (their) expectations," said Purcell.
"It's their year,” he added.