Glenn Furman is an enigma.
A deeply religious, family man, he coaches the most physical and successful high school football team in the area. And, while one minute he will speak of the joys of family and friends, he quickly shift gears to explain how "we teach the kids how to hit and then find out which ones will do it."
Furman came to T.C. Williams in 1982 after compiling a 59-1 record (including a 38-game winning streak) in seven years as head coach at Hammond Junior High School. Taking over the Titans' program that had not won a championship in nine years, Furman has directed the Titans to five Northern District titles, three Northern Region championships and a AAA state crown. In his years at T.C. Williams, the Titans are 58-9-2.
He claims there is no secret to his success and continues to preach the same philosophy he brought to the Alexandria school six years ago. "I brought discipline to the program," said Furman. I insist on execution, proper fundamentals and rules that have to be followed."
And hard work. Almost obsessed with detail and preparation, he expects his players to work as hard as he does. "A great football team comes from great efforts," insists Furman. "You don't win football games on gimmicks and by tricking people."
When he discusses the powerhouse that he has created, Furman is a quiet, gentle man. But, while pacing the sidelines he becomes intense and demanding.
"I can get up in their face and yell and scream, but basically the kids know I care about them," says Furman. "They know the discipline and all the hard work is ultimately for them -- to make them a better person. They know I'm hard and very strict but they always know they can come talk to me."
Former Titans' running back Bren Lowery, now a starter at the University of Maryland, agrees. "Besides being a coach on the field, he's a friend off the field. He tries to get to know the players personally and tries to get to know their backgrounds."
"I think he's the kind of person that likes kids and he works well with the young people and it pays off in the long run," said Robinson athletic director Tom Porter. "He's the kind of person you want around young people."
"The young men know I'm always involved and I always give 100%," Furman said. "They're willng to give it back to me."
Though his religious ties and unwavering loyalty to his players seem to borrow from the legend of Vince Lombardi or the Redskins' Joe Gibbs, he insists the greatest influence on his career has been his assistant coach Bill Yoast. "He taught me to be fair, give responsibility to my assistant coaches and teach the young men to be gentlemen," Furman said."
He has turned away college coaching offers in the past and is quick to point out that he has never actively pursued another position -- the colleges come to him. However, how long he will continue to decline other coaching offers is unknown. His three daughters are grown and he has been successful at the highest levels of high school football.
"I'm totally satisfied with what I'm doing. I enjoy it so much. I haven't sought another job at this point," assures Furman. "But it would be easier to leave now."