Eric Rado takes reins as head coach of varsity football


Joshua Baxter

Eric Rado, who was promoted to head coach of varsity football ahead of the 2020 season, directs a pod through conditioning exercises.

For the first time since the 2015 season, the Carlmont varsity football team will take the field without former head coach Jake Messina, who left his position after planning on moving.

The resurgence in Carlmont’s football program is due, in part, to Messina’s efforts, as he led the team to their first playoff win in 27 years in the 2018 season.

“I think a lot of Messina’s impact was under the surface, things that people didn’t see, and all those things led to the win and loss record being excellent,” said Carlmont Athletic Director Patrick Smith. “Things that I thought were most impactful were the character education that he instituted, which led to better leadership and more accountability with workouts, and also the strength and conditioning program that he brought over.”

With a 24-19 record in four years as head coach, Messina passes off the Scots team to newly promoted head coach Eric Rado, who joined Carlmont’s coaching staff the same year as Messina, 2016.

“His first year was my first year. I’ve been a part of that process, and coached various sides of the ball,” Rado said. “He laid a framework for us to follow.”

Under Messina, Carlmont became well known for their powerful ground attack, seemingly using a run-first, smashmouth offense.

The Scots’ pod stretches out during their workout. (Joshua Baxter)

“Every coach has their own style, every coach has been influenced by people they play under and coach with, but at the end of the day all football coaches are more alike than they are not alike,” Rado said. “We all like to be tough, we all like to be physical, we all want our teams to be on time, get good grades, and play with passion, so that’s the goal.”

In a year where COVID-19 postponed the season until December, the team has just begun returning the field to begin conditioning.

“Right now we have three pods going each day, they’re all going separate, they’re about 90-105 minutes, so we’re able to maximize the use of the weight room,” Rado said.

The beginning of conditioning marks the start of an interesting season. With the Scots looking to replicate and improve upon previous years, Rado brings with him 14 years of coaching experience, including time on the football staff of Harrison High School in Farmington Hills.

On the Harrison staff, Rado worked under legendary head coach John Herrington, who has led Harrison to a Michigan state-leading 13 championship victories in over 50 seasons of coaching.

Emerson Monge, a senior, squats weights to warm up during the weightlifting portion of his pod’s conditioning. (Joshua Baxter)

“He worked under a pretty legendary coach while in Michigan, so obviously he learned a lot coaching for him, and he’ll bring some of that as part of who he is as a coach,” Smith said. “He came here the same year as coach Messina did, so he also helped to revitalize the program.”

For the players, Rado represents someone who has been a part of the program and has interacted with many of the players individually.

“It’s great to have a familiar face at the head coach position that we trust. We know he’s always going to give 100% effort towards us, so we give him 100% effort back,” said Emerson Monge, a senior.