The south side of Hammond will have a new face on the sidelines on Friday night as Gavit picked its new football coach. But it is a name quite familiar in the Gladiators’ program.
Dave Silvas was recently named as the Glads’ new football coach. Silvas, a 1997 Gavit grad, has been running the school’s middle school program the last four years.
“I love football and I love the kids at Gavit,” Silvas said. “I had a job in the mill making good money, but it wasn’t what I wanted to do. I want to make an impact in kids’ lives and I think football is a great way to teach kids about life.”
While playing for coach Bill Melby, Silvas was a member of a Gavit team that had a huge win against the Paul Strabavy-led Whiting teams back in 1996. Such wins were not easy against a program like Whiting for the linebacker and offensive guard.
“Those were great times,” Silvas said. “I want to bring something like that back to my alma mater.”
Silvas replaces Robert Robinson as the Gladiators coach. Robinson was 29-51 in nine years at Gavit. He said the school wanted to go in a different direction.
“I saw a lot of kids who played in middle school stop playing by the time they got to the high school,” Silvas said. “I want to do everything I can to keep the middle school kids playing now. I’m going to meet with the kids in a week and that’s something I want to talk to them about.”
Silvas is still putting together his staff and it will take some time before he knows what kind of athletes he will have in his locker room. So he is not ready to divulge what systems he plans on using on both sides of the line. Yet.But the philosophy is simple.
“We want to score more points than the other team,” Silvas said with a smile.
With a new Hammond High School being built there has been a lot of talk and whispers about whether Hammond High and Gavit might consolidate into one mega city school, with brand new athletic facilities.Silvas has heard the words and he knows he has three years to show what he can do at Gavit.
“I can’t worry about that,” he said. “I want what is best for the city of Hammond and the kids of Hammond.”