That's the way it is at Hampton, where Hurricanes coach George "Chubs" Massenburg won two state championships as a player and one as an assistant. And that's the way it'll be at Heritage, a once-proud program that is coming off an 0-10 finish in 2010.
True, at first the edict went over like a cockroach at the salad bar. But Massenburg's message is simple: If you want to win, be serious about it.
"They're in there to work," said Massenburg, the Hurricanes' third coach in three years. "A lot of things Coach (Mike) Smith taught me I'm trying to instill over here because he knows what it takes to win."
Smith, going into his 41st season on Queen Street, refers to Heritage as "The East End Crabbers." Not only is Massenburg the head coach, he has four assistants — Almondo "Muffin" Curry, Mike Hagans, Weymouth Williams and Jerry King — who played and/or coached at Hampton.
Hagans, father of former Crabber quarterback Marques Hagans, will be the offensive coordinator and share play calling duties with Massenburg. Curry (Class of '99) and Williams ('88) are co-defensive coordinators.
"The kids know we're accustomed to winning and that we won't accept anything but the best from them," said Massenburg, a starting offensive lineman for the Crabbers who graduated in 1997. "We want them to give their best ability at everything they do.
"A lot of the kids asked us why we wanted to come to Heritage. We told them there's talent over here, and (they) just have to believe in what we're doing and work hard. We enjoy it over here. The administration is great, and there are very supportive parents."
Smith has confidence in the former guard who used to protect Ronald Curry.
"One of the biggest things he'll establish over there is discipline," he said. "Kids understand that."
The players already see a change in attitude.
"We're putting forth the effort and working harder than we did last year," junior quarterback Richard Outlaw said. "We have more discipline. This year will be an improvement over last year. I feel we can make the playoffs this year."
Truthfully, a .500 record would be a more realistic reach. Over the last three seasons, the Hurricanes have the worst record in the Peninsula District at 2-28. Heritage was outscored 411-32 last year, 285-3 in their first six games.
In addition to bringing the Hampton element over, Massenburg also has tapped into Heritage's glory years. One of his assistants is Rudolph Foye, a defensive end on the 2000 state championship team. Another is former Hurricane Raymond Malone.
Preseason practice begins Aug. 1, but the players have been going through conditioning drills since Massenburg was hired in February. He said there usually are 60 varsity players a day in the weight room, which given the climate he inherited, Massenburg finds encouraging.
Massenburg, whose first game is against his alma mater on Sept. 1, isn't predicting an instant turnaround. But he sees positive signs.
He likes Khalid Abdullah, a 200-pound running back with power and speed. He calls Outlaw a hard worker, safety Mario Cofield a natural leader, and Frank Brooks one of the best athletes in the Peninsula District.
"The guys expect a lot of themselves, so I think it'll be a lot different than last year," he said. "Rome wasn't built in a day. We'll progress as the season progresses. We're looking forward to the challenge."