Elijah Asante looking to lead 'Compton Revolution'
JUN 13, 2014 3:49a ET
COMPTON, Calif. -- In dress shirts and ties, they stood up, collectively, to address the crowd.
Put on the spot, it was time for members of the Compton High School football team to recite what they'd learned in the past two weeks.
"C," new Compton head coach Elijah Asante blurted out.
"Courage," the team responded.
"O?" said Asante.
"Ownership," his new players shot back.
The theme continued. By the time it was over, Asante had spelled out C-O-M-P-T-O-N.
Mentality, Perseverance, Toughness, Obedience, Never quit the players all recited, one word at a time until the acronym was complete.
These are the Compton High football virtues, brought over by Asante who's barely two weeks into his new job.
At Compton, it's time for change and Asante is spearheading what's being called the Compton Revolution.
Thursday night marked day one of the revolution. Asante hosted an event at a local T.G.I. Friday's in which some of the night's proceeds went towards the program.
It's a program that needs help. And a lot of it.
Compton hasn't necessarily been a destination for coaches in recent years.
The Tarbabes went 0-10 last season on the field.
They've had five head coaches in the last five seasons.
Calvin Bryant was the last coach to have a winning season at Compton. That was a 7-3 campaign in 2008.
“I like big mountains...I like to dream big”
Enter Asante, a long time admirer of the PAC-5, to try to lift the Tarbabes from the doldrums of the division.
Compton was rated the worst team in the PAC-5 last season.
They haven't made the playoffs since 2008. They haven't won a playoff game since 2006.
Trying to turn around a Compton program, cellar dwellers in the PAC-5, is a big mountain to climb.
"I like big mountains," Asante said. "I like to dream big. It's a big challenge but it's not one that can't be accomplished. It can be accomplished.
"I know what a championship program looks like."
Asante made a name for himself at Los Angeles Jordan in the City Section. He then moved to Carson where he advanced to two LA City Section title games and coached the likes of current USC wide receiver Darreus Rogers.
While at Carson he defeated mighty Mater Dei, twice. No small feat for a city school.
He collected another win over the Monarchs in 2013 while serving as an assistant at Santa Margarita under coaching legend Harry Welch.
Other stops in his career include being head coach at St. Paul and an assistant at Lakewood.
While with the Lancers and the Eagles, Asante experienced life in the PAC-5 but never as a head coach.
He's learned through the years that it takes a village to cultivate a championship program, thus Thursday's fundraiser at T.G.I. Friday's. Not only was it an opportunity for the community to meet the new high school head coach but also for the community to have a chance to become invested in the program.
"It's really going to take all hands on deck," Asante said. "It's not going to be one person, it's going to be all of us. Sometimes one person has to spark the revolution to get it going and once you get that momentum going, you ride it."