Mark Kantor needs to change his voicemail message.
"You've reached Mark Kantor, defensive coordinator for the Wharton Wildcats …"
In the matter of days, not only did Kantor's outgoing message change, but his whole upcoming spring, too, as Hudson's newest football coach.
"I'm leaning towards (that) the good Lord is wanting me to take on a challenge in my life and I'm going to do just that," said Kantor, who was a Cobras assistant from 1999-2002. "I'm not looking at it as a challenge to take on the bad and work on the negative. This is a positive, not just for the kids, but the whole school to get back to a better light when talking about Hudson football."
Kantor, a history teacher, had not originally applied for the Hudson job when it was first advertised. However, reports early this week indicated he had taken the job. Once Hudson athletic director cleared that up, he opened up the position again and interviewed Kantor, whose wife, Mindy, is the volleyball coach at Wiregrass Ranch.
"I think I am the right person for the job because of my background, that I've been here before," Kantor said.
"Mark is exactly what we were looking for — experience with community ties," Newton added.
Kantor spent nine seasons at Gaither as the program's longest tenured coach before being dismissed in 2010 after going 4-16 in two seasons. Kantor compiled a 42-55 overall record, including three consecutive playoff berths (2006-08) in nine seasons. However, Kantor takes over a football program that has not seen much success as of late.
In 2011, the Cobras has just 30 players on their roster and were outscored 433-61, plus, Hudson is 1-19 in the past two seasons under former coach Justin Fenton, who resigned after the season. Hudson's lone win came thanks to a vacated game against Land O' Lakes due to recruiting violations. In all, the Cobras have lost 22 consecutive games on the field.
"I'm not going in there to go 0-10 again," Kantor said. "The work ethic we will have will lead to victories on the field and the time and energy we put in will change everything."
Kantor says he's up for this challenge that some may call the toughest head football coaching job around. First, Newton and school officials are rushing to get Kantor at Hudson so he can get the available players ready for spring football. Secondly, Kantor will work with low numbers this spring, and quite possibly, in the fall.
Kantor, however, plans to change this.
"Most of (the players) are very young, but I'm just going to roll up my sleeves and get to work," Kantor said. "The first thing I'm going to do is get more kids out and this is how I'm going to do it: I'm going to beat the hallways and talk to every person about football and be a pest to all the males at Hudson to play football. … We're going to turn some heads next season and get people out to the games to show we have righted this ship."