If you've been to a Saints game in the last couple years, The Coach is a name I'm sure you recognize. Mainly known for doing push ups on the dugout when the Saints score, and for yelling at the crowd when they don't yell charge with the organ at the game. He also gives you detailed instructions on how and when to yell charge the next time. After the season ended I was able to talk to The Coach and learn how his character began, and a little about the man behind the mustache.
Steve Hoemann, as he's known outside of the Midway walls, has been a teacher for twenty two years. He is currently in his nineteenth year of teaching at Tartan High School. If you're wondering if he has a coaching background to draw from for his character, he does. Steve was the head girls soccer coach for twelve years, and has been an assistant coach for boys soccer, track, wrestling and football. In his spare time away from school, Steve also coaches his son's baseball team.
Steve has never been an actor or performer (except for school pep fest skits for the students). So one of my first questions for him was, how did you get your job as an entertainer with the Saints? "We (still) have a share of season tickets with a couple other families and were at a game with our next door neighbors. Super Fan was there and so was The Nerd, so it was a good night and a great time. I was sitting there over a couple beers talking to my neighbor and said 'I could do that', and he said 'yeah you could'. The next season starts rolling around and my neighbor received an email from the Saints. He said 'here's your chance' and forwarded me the email that said open auditions for ushertainers and the entertainment team. I was coaching track in the spring at Tartan and I hadn't really given it any thought. I came home from practice and told my wife I guess there's auditions for the Saints, our neighbor forwarded me an email. She was like, 'you're going right?', and I was like 'what do you mean?' She said 'you're going, you had better go. You've always talked about doing this, you're going.' I said 'I don't have anything prepared', she said 'who cares, it's in Minneapolis, you'll think of something on the way.' So I went and auditioned for the part with Joe Wiener at The Brave New Workshop. I did a couple silly voices and some mic work and got the crowd all into it. Next thing you know Joe called me and said 'We'd like to have you come on board and come up with your own character.' I thought of a coach character, because I had just saw the movie Rookie of the Year. Daniel Sterns' character was one of the coaches in there and was just a goofy old guy with a bunch of seeds in his mouth who thought he knew what he was talking about. I tried to pen it off that a little bit, but then I changed it to have that seventies PE teacher look. I'm a coach anyway so I have the attitude, it came naturally. I was able to find the perfect outfit for him with the help of thrift stores, Ragstock, and Ebay for the shoes, and it just blossomed from there."
When it comes to game days and the best part of his job, Steve has the perfect Saints fun is good attitude. "The biggest thing is making people laugh. That's number one. One A, is seeing the kids and making buddy's with the little boys and giving them a fist bump and saying have a good time. Then they call me back when I walk by again and say 'Coach, give me a fist bump', that always makes me feel good. The other thing I love is giving fans a hard time and not getting in trouble for it. I'm naturally a little bit sarcastic and the fans can see that, I have fun with it and hopefully they don't take me too seriously. There was one game in August where The Saints scored a ton of runs, I ended up having to do quite a few push ups, the crowd was into it, and there was excitement in the stands. Everything seemed to be clicking, everybody was having a good time. The energy in there was great."
You may have noticed at a couple of the games Coach had a mini me tagging along with him, aptly named Coach Jr. "It's fun, this year he finally started to wear the mustache so it was fun to see him and fun for him to get into it. Anytime you're able to do something with your son and he wants to do it, it makes you feel good as a dad. The Saints are awesome for letting us do that too because it's so laid back. It's a great time to have him there with me."
With the new ballpark on the horizon in a year and a half Steve has his eyes set on seeing how his character will work there. "I want to be in the new stadium, that's something I would like. I hope to keep doing Coach as long as they'll have me, and as long as I have the energy. I love doing it and I have a great time with it."
I'd like to thank Steve for taking the time to talk with me. It was a very fun conversation. I can't wait to do calisthenics, and get yelled at by Coach during a game next year! Sometimes it's the little things.