Connell Football: Changing the Culture - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Connell Football: Changing the Culture

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CONNELL, Wash. -- Times have changed at Connell. Once the Eagles focused their efforts on basketball. That's no longer the case.

When Wayne Riner joined the program in the late 90's, he introuduced spring football and took players to football camps in Idaho.

A few years after working as an assistant, he became the leading man in 2001. His passion and love for the Friday night lights soon spilled over to those around him.

His team's have won 2 state titles and been to 4 state championship games during his 10-year coaching stint.

The Eagles are now 1 win away from Riner's 5th state championship game appearance. They take on Omak in Moses Lake Saturday.

Let's learn more about the inner workings of a winner.

"We've been blessed," said Riner. "You know, a lot of people think I'm a great coach. I'm not a great coach. First of all, I'm a firm believer that you're as good as those around you. In other words, I have good coaches around me. Clint Didier did a great job with me these last 10 years. He helped me get this thing going around here."

"He's very enthusiastic," said Junior Quarterback Chandler Salisbury, when talking of Riner. "He keeps us going. He keeps our heart going. He just keeps the intensity of the game up. He can be hard on you. But if he is not hard on you, then you know he doesn't love you."

"I tell them if I'm not yelling at you I'm not coaching you," said Riner. "In other words, I'm teaching you. It's teaching. If I'm yelling and getting excited that means I'm stilling believing in you and coaching you."

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