Coaches participate in high school media days
Justin Schuver, Hartselle Enquirer
Those listeners who tuned into ESPN Radio 1400 AM out of Decatur on Aug. 6 got quite a surprise as 23 high school coaches from across north Alabama joined radio and print journalists for the first-ever High School Media Days.
The format, which filled 1400 AM's radio waves from 10 a.m. until past 4 p.m., was modeled after the SEC Media Days. High school coaches were given time to give a general outlook for their team, then were asked questions by the reporters in attendance.
Coaches discussed a variety of subjects, including some that were not related to high school football.
East Limestone coach Mike Cavnar talked about the difficulty in succeeding his brother Phil, who died of a heart attack in July, as head coach. Brewer coach Billy Coleman talked about coming out of retirement to coach the Patriots and also discussed his authorship of two Christian books.
Area coaches who were in attendance at the event were Joey Burch of Danville, Bob Godsey of Hartselle, Marty Chambers of Priceville and Coleman of Brewer.
Reporters from The Decatur Daily, The Huntsville Times, The Moulton Advertiser and The Hartselle Enquirer made up the panel, along with members of the 1400 AM staff.
Danville's Burch spoke first, talking about the high expectations even despite losing All-State defensive lineman Patrick Pinchon and other notable starters.
"If you do a great job, you just have got to keep doing better," he said. "We will be a different team this year, but every year is a different team. Last year we were big and strong and this year we'll have more speed."
Burch added a tantalizing tidbit for Danville fans, saying that the team's running back Jeremy Orr recently ran a 4.4 40-yard time at an Oxford football camp.
Godsey also spoke relatively early in the event's schedule, focusing his discussion on the youth the Tigers will have this season and offering the team's plan on replacing Seth Watson, the starting quarterback from last season.
"We'll use a little bit of a two-quarterback system with Wes Chenault and Tony Weaver," Godsey said. "Chenault is our starting quarterback for now, and we're trying to get him to do the things that Seth did – get the ball to his receivers quickly and without making too many mistakes."
Shortly after Godsey was Athens coach Allen Creasy, who talked about Athens renewing its rivalry with Hartselle as a result of region play. The teams went from 1993 to 2001 without facing each other.
Creasy and Godsey are long-time friends who coached together at Decatur High School as assistants.
"Coach Godsey is one of my best friends in the world," Creasy said. "I have the utmost respect for coach Godsey and the job he has done (at Hartselle)."
Godsey is equally excited that Athens and Hartselle will again meet on the football field.
"It's an old traditional rivalry that had been shelved for a while, and it's nice that region play brought it back," he said.
Coleman talked about breaking Brewer's 21-game losing streak last season, and the excitement the team has going into 2005.
"(Winning those last two games) really had a lot of carryover into the locker room," he said. "The enthusiasm on the team is great."
Coleman also discussed his off-the-field pursuits, which include writing a pair of Christian books and helping orchestrate Bible studies and other forms of spiritual guidance with his teams.
"Jesus Christ is the top priority in my life," he said. "It's easy to write about someone you love."
Priceville coach Chambers talked about starting a program from scratch and the importance of community support in accomplishing that goal.
"Our community support has been great," he said. "We constantly outdraw any team we're playing, even when we're on the road."
Chambers, whose team went 3-7 last season, is entering his fifth year at the helm of the program and is excited about the team's prospects.
"If we take care of things in the weight room and take care of things in practice, then the wins and losses will take care of themselves," he said. "I hope we're close to turning the corner and being a competitive program week in and week out."