Football Fridays in Georgia: Coaching Carousel
On this Football Fridays in Georgia podcast episode, Hannah and Jon talk to a dazzling and colorful array of "NEW!" head coaches from across the state to give you an idea of what to expect for another great season of high school football to come. There's even some surprises from football past! Plus: how will Jon fare on Hannah's pop quiz? Listen to find out!
Jon Nelson: And new!
Shane Sams, Warner Robins' New Head Coach: My sister's gone here and my cousin's gone here and my wife's gone here. This is a long family tradition.
Adam Carter, Lowndes' New Head Coach: He was the right guy for that spot, and he's done a heck of a job.
Hannah Goodin: So here's some fun numbers-.
Jon Nelson: Fun Numbers with Hannah!
Eric Godfree, North Gwinnett's New Head Coach: I hope they don't fire me after the first two games.
Hannah Goodin: We will have to wait and see.
Jon Nelson: Welcome to another round of the Football Fridays in Georgia podcast monthly style. And this time it is all about the coaching carousel. A lot of coaches and it traditionally is about 18 to 20% of the turnover. Some years it's 25% of the turnover here in the state of Georgia. But if memory serves, I think we're in the eighties this year for number of coaching changes.
Hannah Goodin: Wow.
Jon Nelson: And you've got some folks who've come back into the state of Georgia from being in neighboring states. They're coming back. You've got some guys who are coming into the state of Georgia for the first time. You've got assistants going from one place to another. You've got folks going home, you got folks going to places they've never been before. You got name coaches going to places you would have never anticipated. So welcome to the coaching carousel.
Hannah Goodin: We're going to take you for a ride. We have on the podcast today new Warner Robins head coach, Shane Sams.
Jon Nelson: And New Head coach of yeah.
Hannah Goodin: The new.
Jon Nelson: New.
Hannah Goodin: Head Coach for North Gwinnett, Eric Godfrey.
Jon Nelson: Uh huh.
Hannah Goodin: And Lowndes.
Jon Nelson: New.
Hannah Goodin: Head coach, Adam Carter. Yeah.
Jon Nelson: That's what happens when, you know, I don't know how many of you watch wrestling or whatever, but when the ring announcer you have a title change and everybody's celebrating about the new champion, you always had the ring announcer go.
Jon Nelson: And New World heavyweight champ-. You know, that's where that came from. That's where that.
Hannah Goodin: What an introduction.
Jon Nelson: And new.
Hannah Goodin: I hope you guys are ready for some entertainment because this one gets-.
Jon Nelson: Yes.
Hannah Goodin: Is full of it.
Jon Nelson: Yeah. Because we find out we find out skill sets of coaches that we didn't know they had.
Hannah Goodin: So all new to their schools, but not new to the head coaching position. Before we get to their interviews, I want to give you some numbers around the state and we are going to start with yeah, pop quiz.
Jon Nelson: Uh huh Pop Quiz.
Hannah Goodin: Did we ever come up with a tune for that?
Jon Nelson: I'm sure. I'm sure. I'm sure that I'm sure that I'm sure that Commander Jeremy-.
Hannah Goodin: To do. To do. Okay Jon.
Jon Nelson: Yeah, I'm sure. I'm sure that Ambassador Jeremy has come up with the music for it.
Jeremy Powell: It's pop quiz time. It's pop quiz time. It's Pop Quiz Time!
Hannah Goodin: You were wrong with your numbers to start the podcast, so you're not going to get the pop quiz question right?
Jon Nelson: Darn!
Hannah Goodin: How many new head coaches are there in the state so far?
Jon Nelson: 11 billion.
Hannah Goodin: I need a number.
Jon Nelson: 78.
Hannah Goodin: I need a number that- you said eighties to start the podcast.
Jon Nelson: Yeah.
Hannah Goodin: So you think it's 78 now?
Jon Nelson: Now, I do.
Hannah Goodin: Okay.
Jon Nelson: Yeah.
Hannah Goodin: That's your number.
Jon Nelson: Sure.
Hannah Goodin: You are not correct. You're cold.
Jon Nelson: 92.
Hannah Goodin: Oh, you were so close. It's 93.
Jon Nelson: Oh, man!
Hannah Goodin: 93 with six positions still open. So 99 coaching changes so far this year.
Jon Nelson: Yeah, that's mid-twenties. Middle of 20 like 22%. So that's about me. That's about fair.
Hannah Goodin: So here's some fun numbers, completely random.
Jon Nelson: Fun Numbers with Hannah.
Hannah Goodin: If everybody's still listening or still hanging on.
Jon Nelson: If their ears aren't, you know that they haven't blown our headsets out.
Hannah Goodin: So 38 of those are head coach to head coach. Yeah. 55 of those new head coaches came from a coordinator position or other coaching role. Six schools have yet to name their new head coach.
Jon Nelson: Six!
Hannah Goodin: There are 13 new head coaches in 7A, 14 in 6A, 12 in 5A, 13 in 4A.
Jon Nelson: About the same. Yeah.
Hannah Goodin: 9 in 3A, 14 in AA, nine in A Division 1, and the most 16 changes in A Division 6.
Jon Nelson: So, A 25 right now pending.
Hannah Goodin: Mmm Hmm. One head coach coming from a college. So, MacEachern's new Head Coach Kareem Reid, he was the assistant quarterback coach at the University of Florida. So, that'll be fun to watch him this year as well.
Jon Nelson: But once again, we talk about pipelines and making sure that that coaches know your players. If you've got a head coach with collegiate experience, I mean, it's like, hey, pick up your phone, you know, text, you know. Well, all your contacts from the Southeastern Conference or wherever your coaching contacts are from, it makes sense.
Hannah Goodin: So then there were some more questions that I was trying to find the answers to, and I couldn't. So I defer to you, Jon.
Jon Nelson: Sure.
Hannah Goodin: Okay. So my first question-.
Jon Nelson: Dangerous.
Hannah Goodin: My first question, biggest head coaching move.
Jon Nelson: Wow.
Hannah Goodin: So, uh-
Jon Nelson: So might be on the show too.
Hannah Goodin: So, two part. Two Part.
Jon Nelson: My part might be on the show this week.
Hannah Goodin: Two parter, location and classification.
Jon Nelson: Like I said, it might be on the show this week. I'd go with that one Is one of the contenders. Yeah.
Hannah Goodin: Okay.
Jon Nelson: Well, I'd stick with that and that's a tease.
Hannah Goodin: Okay, sir. Yeah, well, that my next one. Retirements.
Jon Nelson: Wow. Retirements. I mean, who.
Hannah Goodin: I'm trying to think there were some big ones last year.
Jon Nelson: Yeah, I'm just trying to think of retirements this year and figure out if. I mean, gosh, who retired? Retired Because we always sit there and we say a coach retires, but then they don't necessarily retire. So I'll give that one as an incomplete.
Hannah Goodin: Okay. We'll do some more research. And then my last one, we have one of these coaches that is coming, leaving their alma mater. One is going back to their alma mater. On the show today, We'll leave that one open ended as well.
Jon Nelson: That's a tease.
Hannah Goodin: Is there another head coach heading back to their alma mater that you know of?
Jon Nelson: Oh, wow. See, now I need the list in front of me because then I could buzz through it and and think about it. But now but Shane Sams is definitely the one that sticks into your head as the alma mater shifting because Eric Godfrey leaves his alma mater and goes to another place here.
Hannah Goodin: I have the list in front of me. Like to do a quick skip.
Jon Nelson: Yeah, I'll do a quick scan. Oh, Joe Sturdivant going back to Parkview. That's another one. Joe Sturdivant was at Rayburn getting the coaching, then Providence Christian, so Joe Sturtevant goes home.
Hannah Goodin: Okay.
Jon Nelson: At Villa Rica, we do have a father son.
Hannah Goodin: Okay. Okay.
Jon Nelson: The son taking over for the dad, Tim Barren, retired Villa Rica. I think that the Joey Sturdivant going back to Parkview after playing at Parkview would be going home in addition to one of our guests this week.
Hannah Goodin: Pop quiz time for producer Jeremy.
Jon Nelson: Excuse me. That's Ambassador Jeremy, to you.
Hannah Goodin: Also the producer of the podcast.
Jon Nelson: Yeah.
Jeremy Powell: I don't know. Whatever.
Jon Nelson: Yeah.
Hannah Goodin: You don't even know the question, yet.
Jeremy Powell: Okay.
Hannah Goodin: So, your alma mater is Darlington.
Jon Nelson: They've got a new Head Coach.
Hannah Goodin: They have a new head coach.
Jon Nelson: Oh, I didn't know this was where she was going.
Hannah Goodin: What is his name?
Jeremy Powell: Wayne Groves.
Hannah Goodin: Awe! You got it!.
Jon Nelson: There you go.
Jeremy Powell: I know that because Wayne's dad owned the body shop across from Jay-Z's, the gas station I'd get a slush puppy when I was in high school and lived in Lindale because Wayne went to Pepperell.
Jon Nelson: Yeah.
Jeremy Powell: And then coached at Rome. And then now he's going to Darlington.
Hannah Goodin: Wow. I wasn't expecting you to know that.
Jeremy Powell: It ain't a big town up there.
Jon Nelson: You hit the home run with that man. That's a strong play.
Jeremy Powell: I also get the emails from Darlington.
Jon Nelson: Oooh!
Hannah Goodin: Oooh! That's cheating.
Jon Nelson: See, you shouldn't have said that. You had it all laid out. And then you mention the email. So, there you go.
Hannah Goodin: I do not get Lassiter emails. Do you get Lakeside?
Jon Nelson: No, I do not. I get the DeKalb County emails, but I do not get Lakeside specific emails. Do you think we should toss to our first guest?
Hannah Goodin: Yes, I was just about to say if you're still listening to us, we have a really fun show today. So, we are going to start by going to Warner Robins first with their.
Jon Nelson: New!
Hannah Goodin: Head coach. And we're going to start things off with a former defensive lineman. He's now at Clemson. You might remember him, may have heard from the last two state championship teams.
Jon Nelson: You might know him. Yeah,.
Hannah Goodin: Let's get right to it. Joining us now is the new Warner Robins head coach, Shane Sams. Vic Burley, what is up, guys? How are you?
Shane Sams, Warner Robins' New Head Coach: We are doing good, man.
Vic Burley, Warner Robin's State Championship Alumni: Good, good.
Hannah Goodin: Tell me how you're settling in. What are you guys doing?
Jon Nelson: Go first. Tell them about Clemson in a little bit.
Vic Burley, Warner Robin's State Championship Alumni: I think I've settled at Clemson pretty well. I really enjoyed it. And the semester was great. That's all I got to say.
Hannah Goodin: Oh, wow. Congratulations. What's the biggest transitional thing that you've had to learn? What are you learning? What are you doing, training up?
Vic Burley, Warner Robin's State Championship Alumni: The thing to learn was the game speed.
Hannah Goodin: Yeah.
Vic Burley, Warner Robin's State Championship Alumni: From high school to college. The speed of the game is very, very much different.
Hannah Goodin: Yeah, well, this is such a surprise. Jon, jump in here.
Jon Nelson: Well, I was just going to say, what's it like learning from Dabo Swinney up there?
Hannah Goodin: Yeah.
Jon Nelson: And have you been to the S.O. Club to get their steak Caesar salad?
Vic Burley, Warner Robin's State Championship Alumni: Uh, yes, I have.
Hannah Goodin: It's all about the food.
Jon Nelson: But what's it like learning from Dabo Swinney up there?
Vic Burley, Warner Robin's State Championship Alumni: Oh, think about it. What do you see on TV is what you get a person so really high energy. He really is about what he say. You know one thing he says, "Don't worry about the pebble in your shoes. Well, don't worry about mine in front of you. Worry about the pebble in your shoe." So, that right there means a lot. It just means be where your feet are.
Hannah Goodin: So my last question for you, What do you think about Coach Sams here at Warner Robins?
Vic Burley, Warner Robin's State Championship Alumni: Well, to me, he was here when I was in eighth grade. So he has always been a rocking demon. But, he went on somewhere else, did his job there, now he came back to the real rocking R. That's I got to say.
Hannah Goodin: Oh, wow.
Shane Sams, Warner Robins' New Head Coach: Good to see, baby.
Hannah Goodin: Awe, awesome. So good to catch up with Vic. So cool. Well. Well, Coach, you coached him in eighth grade. Ask you a quick question about him. How proud are you of him at Clemson?
Shane Sams, Warner Robins' New Head Coach: Super proud. You know, I was around him when he was a kid when he was in middle school, we always had him around the program, ball boy and everything. Just to see what he's grown up to be and what he's grown up to be like is very special. And to see him come around and hang around just it means a lot to me. I know it means a lot to him to be back home, so it's definitely something special. There's no doubt about it.
Hannah Goodin: All right. Well, let's get to you and learning about how you are settling in. You take over the Demons program for Marquis Westbrook. You were his O.C. from 2017 into 2018. You're also a Demons alum. So, what does it feel like to be home?
Shane Sams, Warner Robins' New Head Coach: It feels amazing. I mean, it's definitely a special feeling. I mean, when I walk in every single day, I feel like I'm just at home. I walking into my house all the time. You know, not many people get that opportunity that they get to go back to the school that they went to, that they coach to before, and definitely the school that competes for state titles and has the history and the dominance that Warner Robins has. So, it's a rarity. I'm just blessed for the opportunity in the special feeling to be back home.
Jon Nelson: All right. So, break this down for for those that don't know, you and I've talked previously. You said that basically, I guess from maybe your desk or from the practice field, you could take a football and hit your grandparents house. How many legacies are we talking here and how deep are the roots for Warner Robins High in the Sams family?
Shane Sams, Warner Robins' New Head Coach: They're pretty deep. There's no doubt about it. So, my grandparents moved here from the Air Force, actually from West Virginia down to here. They got stationed down here. And so he walks into the office and introduces my uncle to Robert Davis in the late seventies. And then all of a sudden, my dad, who is the middle of those two, he plays at Warner Robins and wins the state championship in 88. My uncle was on that team in 88, he graduated 89. Then I, like I said, from there, I played in 2004. We won a state title. At that point, my sister's gone here, my cousin's gone here, my wife's gone here, so it's just a long family tradition. Like I said, it's just something special to be a part of. It's a rarity, and it's right outside of school. If I go outside of school, I turn right. Turn another left. I'm right in my grandparents house. And on top of their their bookshelf is every single one of our photos from us playing football and graduating Warner Robins. So, they're here every day at practice. They're a part, and it's an awesome fit.
Hannah Goodin: So then, you know, are you working something out, Jon?
Jon Nelson: I'm trying to figure out, okay, so if you're exiting the school from your office, you turn right, you're-.
Hannah Goodin: We don't need to give out exact coordinates of where they live, Jon.
Jon Nelson: But I just I'm try it's like, you know, the access road to get into the parking lot to the Mac I think is that left that he's talking about if I remember my math correctly. But now go ahead.
Shane Sams, Warner Robins' New Head Coach: Yeah, there you go. That's a good idea.
Hannah Goodin: Okay. So, you know firsthand, then what football means to Warner Robins. They've been to the finals the past six years in a row, won two state championships. You are this is your second head coaching gig. So what is that pressure like? And what is it going to take to maintain that excellence?
Shane Sams, Warner Robins' New Head Coach: You know, there's love throughout, and there's pressure. I think any of these jobs that you take in, the coaches that you're going to talk to before and after me, there's a lot of pressure that comes with those jobs. And you take these jobs knowing the pressure. It excites me because you got to push to be the best. You've got to find better ways to do everything and understand to do that. So, I love the pressure. I'm excited about the pressure. You know, the biggest challenge is you've been to 6 to 8 state titles. This program has done good. Marquis is one of my good friends in life, and I got the most respect for him. We coach together. He's done a tremendous job, and I just got to keep that going. And what we're doing, our biggest thing we tell the kids is you've got to the top of the mountain. You've done a great job, but understand, everybody's chasing you. It's time to find the next mountain to start climbing that next mountain to get there. Because if you don't, they're going to catch you. And that's our thing. We we don't want to be complacent. We're trying to bring a lot of energy, a lot of excitement and a lot of physicality to Warner Robins football.
Jon Nelson: We all kind of take personalities and things from previous coaches and mentors and things like that. You mentioned the title. I guess. How much of Brian Way is in you and in your approach to coaching and everybody else is there? How much of Coach Davis is a part of your coaching, you know, mindset? Who have you adapted and adapted from to to kind of cull the pieces to who you are as a coach?
Shane Sams, Warner Robins' New Head Coach: You know, I think the first thing I'll tell you, growing up, my dad always used to take me to all the Warner Robins football games. We'd go home. We'd go away. We would eat with the teams on away games. And so there was always a part of watching Robert Davis and how he coached. And then also I grew up around Broadway, so it was a big thing for me to play for him and see how he coached. And so there's no doubt that I take little bit of aspects that they've done the tradition that they built here and bring that back to what we're going to do and how we're going to operate. And then also, I've been blessed to be at very good and special places and work for some really good coaches. There's no doubt about that. So, I think you take a little aspect from each one of those places and you put it together and you figure out from those things that you learn what's best for Warner Robins. What's best to operate? You mix in the tradition with some new stuff and you get it rolling of those things. So I think that, you know, to say to a specific coach would be very hard. I think there's a little, little bit tidbits from every single coach that I've been around that I can use. I've been around a lot of pretty good successful coaches, and I've been blessed with those opportunities.
Jon Nelson: So, you mentioned Brian Way. Does this mean that you're also teaching AP Calc there on campus?
Shane Sams, Warner Robins' New Head Coach: Look, that's not happening? You know, I always tell people of a funny story. I love Way, and I give them all the credit for teaching those classes. But I remember being on a film, you know, before he ever got onto you, he would ask you a calculus or science question. And you'll be like, "I'll just never find it. Coach. I don't know the answer to that." He's like, "That's right. You don't know anything. You gonna learn from me." You know, it's always joke around about that. It was always interesting playing for someone because he's a- I tell him. He's the genius of what he does, especially to teach those classes while he was coaching.
Jon Nelson: Well, Shane, thanks for hanging out with us here on the Football Fridays in Georgia podcast. Welcome back to wearing the Vick Burley endorsed "R" there over on the chest.
Shane Sams, Warner Robins' New Head Coach: That's correct. Yeah, that's it.
Jon Nelson: Thanks for hanging out with us.
Shane Sams, Warner Robins' New Head Coach: Thank you very much for having me.
Jon Nelson: Be good.
Shane Sams, Warner Robins' New Head Coach: Thanks for what y'all do.
Jon Nelson: We'll catch up soon.
Hannah Goodin: Thank you. We'll chat soon.
Shane Sams, Warner Robins' New Head Coach: Sounds Good. Y'all have a great day.
Jon Nelson: Great as always to catch up with Shane Sams and find out what's going on down there at Warner Robins. And yeah, I couldn't teach AP Calc either. No doubt about that, with one of his with one of his mentors and predecessors there at Warner Robins. Next coach up in the batting order is someone who multitask. And we get into that in the interview, and we mean that by his skill set has widened in the time that he has gotten to his new gig. It's time to catch up with new, AND NEW, head football coach in North Gwinnett, Eric Godfrey.
Hannah Goodin: Joining us now is North Gwinett new head coach, Eric Godfrey and I.T. specialist.
Jon Nelson: Yes.
Hannah Goodin: Coach, we were having some technical difficulties almost. Almost did the interview with you upside down, but you have figured it out. How are you? I am recovering from a laughing spell.
Eric Godfree, North Gwinnett's New Head Coach: That's right. That's what's good about sports, you know? We just find a way, you know? It teaches you to find a way.
Jon Nelson: How has it been in the transition going from one traditional power in Gwinnett County to another traditional power in Gwinnett County so far?
Eric Godfree, North Gwinnett's New Head Coach: Listen, it's been good. But to say that it's always just easy, as you know, it would be a lie for anybody to say. And as you said, going from one great place to another. Great place, you know, that very blessed to be a part of. But yeah, the first month was definitely drinking from fire hose, the bottom of the pool, you know, definitely trying to find your way. Find out what people who you got to meet that can do certain things. I want to get this done, so all of those transitions and all the stuff that nobody thinks of when it comes to running a football program has to be done first. And so after about we get to spring break, after doing it here for about a month. We moved the first time I got to sit down and think about a practice schedule for spring practice and start really doing some football. But that whole transition has been great. The community has been good: the school, our, you know, our coaching staff. So, they've all made it definitely as pleasant as it possibly could have been.
Hannah Goodin: Well, along those same lines, you're a Parkview grad. You built a huge program there. And I know that you have been asked several times, why did you want to leave? I'm not going to ask you that here. But what makes North Gwinnett so appealing to you? What did you see in that program that made you go? I want to be the head coach there.
Eric Godfree, North Gwinnett's New Head Coach: Right? Yeah, that's a great question. And at the end, because I wasn't looking to leave Parkview. And because it is a great place, and I went back to the semifinal baseball game last night after our practice here. So, I got to go catch the game too, and see a bunch of my friends, sport, Coach Brown, the team, a bunch of guys that I've coached and been around for a long time. And since I got there, one of the APs first came to give me a hug and said, "Welcome home.".
Hannah Goodin: Awe.
Eric Godfree, North Gwinnett's New Head Coach: So that was really special. Yeah, it was really special. Did you know, kind of sting a little bit, at the same time, I mean, it is still home, the alumni. And like you said, you spent a long time there. You know, all we did. And so that really is special. But then, like I said, you think of a place like North Gwinnett, and honestly North Gwinnett is a pretty elite school when it comes to just academics, when it comes to athletics of boys sports, female sports. Again, like the academic side of it you look at all our players GPAs. It really is one of the schools in the state that literally has everything. But honestly, again, I wasn't looking to go, and, Bill Stewart, he and I coached together before together. And he did. And because he and I actually got together at Parkview and he had said he told me, "you really need to take a look at his job. And, you know, from a little longevity standpoint and just support the community. And it's a pretty, very special place." And it really is. Like so, we got all this great kids at Parkview and staff and all that kind of stuff as well. And and there's also a lot of great staff and people here at North Gwinnett. And so it was a win-win for me for sure. And so but I definitely, definitely very blessed and happy to be here.
Jon Nelson: So, you mentioned that North Gwinnett is a school that has everything, and you've got a great athletic director there, Matt Champitto. What do you think your biggest challenge is working at a school that in your mind has everything? What's your big what's the biggest thing you think you have to tackle going in?
Eric Godfree, North Gwinnett's New Head Coach: Right. And that's a really good question because and also following a great coach like Bill Stewart, who, you know, had things and ran things right. And does things very well. And so me so honestly, this is one job I've gone into. The other two jobs I had really were go-fix-it jobs. You know, the program struggled before you got there, go fix them. And this job is not that way. You know, won a state champion five years ago, you know, of course. Coach Stewart done a great job in quarterfinals last year. So really wasn't a come in and fix it kind of job. To come in and okay, what can we do to elevate it to even the next level? What can we do to continue to sustain the greatness and take it beyond so that there wasn't a lot of like need to come in and revamp a booster club and revamp our work ethic and revamp, you know, the weight room. We got an incredible strength guys. That's one of the better strength guys I've been around, period. He's been here a long time. He was with Bob Sphire, has been all the time with Bill, and now with me. And I mean, he's you can see, you know, he's a big, big part of the success we have here. I'm big on development of kids and developing talent, developing players and making them better players. And he's a big, big part of that. You know, the reason why so. So for me, really, it is really drawing our community more together, grabbing our rec leagues, upon with our current high schoolers, and grabbing alumni. Something was easy for me, at Parkview because, you know, being that I knew so many people. This can be a little tougher here. But really reaching out and trying to, you know, meet some of those people as they come by and making them an entire community of that. That's something I'm very big on. I would say my mission life is add value to people's lives, and I wanted our football players to have a great high school football experience. And so that's really what I want to add to for our current high school players, but then want to continue to hopefully to add value to the community and, you know, former players and all the way around. So that really is my full objective. And then, of course, can't have a great high school experience if you don't win, so that's part of it, too, got to win.
Hannah Goodin: Yes. North Gwinnett had won state championship under Bill Steward in 2017. I know you're hungry for your first. At some point, we won't jump ahead, but what kind of coach are you? How are you different from Coach Stewart? What are you bringing to the team? When you said, you know, you've got to win, so what are your winning ways?
Eric Godfree, North Gwinnett's New Head Coach: Right. That's that's really good. And what's crazy is because Parkview has a legit chance to win state championship this year.
Hannah Goodin: I know. I know.
Eric Godfree, North Gwinnett's New Head Coach: I know, yeah.
Hannah Goodin: Some of the top players in the entire state.
Eric Godfree, North Gwinnett's New Head Coach: Right. The country. Yes.
Hannah Goodin: Yes. Yeah.
Eric Godfree, North Gwinnett's New Head Coach: Yeah. Best best team since 2002. Two hands down.
Hannah Goodin: Wow.
Eric Godfree, North Gwinnett's New Head Coach: Absolutely. So. So. Yeah. So, you know, so brings back North. And so, we are going to be good this fall.
Hannah Goodin: Yeah.
Eric Godfree, North Gwinnett's New Head Coach: We have some great pieces. We really do. Honestly, we will be a lot like what we were at Parkview last season. We don't have a lot of seniors, starting with very few seniors starting, but a lot of really good underclassmen. And the seniors we have starting our good. We have some good other good seniors are going to add to it and help add some depth. But, we really do have some really good underclassmen and the classes that we're bringing in and then continued development of those guys. So really that that's my biggest part to help win is continue to develop the talent here ultimately and then really bring the community together. So, I'd say that's what, again, you know, Bill's a phenomenal defensive guy and honestly, I'm really more of an offensive guy. So it's kind of a little different, different twist on that. So, I don't want to lose what, you know, what they've been able to accomplish here, especially on the offensive side of the ball. But then, you know, Coach Faulkner, Todd Faulkner, a guy who actually coached in high school at Parkview, he's the offensive coordinator and he was here with Bill this past year, does a phenomenal job andq will continue to do that. And then I get to add some wrinkles of some staff to add upon that for, you know, for offense and so forth. I just you know, Bill, does so many things great. And I'm hoping from what I hear, maybe I can order cloth better for our coaches, and I can run a computer better. That's what I hear.
Hannah Goodin: OOh, that's a little questionable.
Eric Godfree, North Gwinnett's New Head Coach: I'm the IT guy. That's right. Oh, I don't know if I can coach football better him, but I hear I can run a computer better than him.
Hannah Goodin: So that's all that matters, really. That's why you got the job, isn't it? That's what it was.
Jon Nelson: Yeah.
Eric Godfree, North Gwinnett's New Head Coach: That's right. That's right.
Jon Nelson: The IT skills. When it comes to speed dial, I know that you all have the coaches have all of the the coaches that they have as their sounding boards. If something is if you've got a question, if something is going sideways and you need to kind of pull the air brake a little bit and you've got a list of coaches when it comes to your speed dial, when it comes to you needing advice. And I would imagine that probably in year one of a program, you're probably asking folks for advice about being at year one and another program. Who's on your speed dial if you have to sit there and wave your hand in the air and go, you know, I've got a question, I've got a situation, who's on your speed dial these days?
Eric Godfree, North Gwinnett's New Head Coach: That's a great question. And that's the number one is Chan Brown, who's actually the head baseball coach at Parkview. He- It's funny. I said "We've spent a lot of time together over the past nine years." And every day in the fall, he was my counselor in the fall, and I was his counselor in the spring. And just to really share and bump ideas off of and mean, he's a phenomenal football coach, too, and, you know, coached football for several years and just overall program building. There's probably not anybody does it better than he does. And so really you know it's not necessarily football head baseball coach, but he's my number one on my list and has been. He really helped me through the first year at Parkview. But, you know, it was a program that we had needed that we did need to change a lot at that time and some culture change and work through some things. And so, you know, he helped me greatly get through those years to where we get into the quarterfinals and semifinals, you know, pretty consistently. And so he is number one on my speed dial. And so we get other great coaches in Gwinnett that you know. Lovelady, I always try to, you know, steal some wisdom, still some wisdom from him. Yes, absolutely. Yeah. Very good guy. Todd Wofford, lots of other great guys here that do so many great things but Chan, the Coach Chan Brown is the number one on my speed dial.
Hannah Goodin: I feel like Coach Lovelady would just be full of wisdom and advice, like maybe I need to reach out for for some life advice.
Jon Nelson: Well did you go to the University of West Georgia, though?
Hannah Goodin: No.
Jon Nelson: See all those West Georgia guys, they have their own little group. And they have the group text. And they all go back and forth. So West Georgia, if you're going to go with Lovelady, if he's not on speed dial already, you've got to go to the University of West Georgia. I think for that to work.
Hannah Goodin: Well, I got one more question for you, Coach. So same classification 7A, you're just hopping over from Region 4 to Region 7. Tell me about your upcoming schedule. What's new? What's going to look different? Do things overlap? I see you start things off with Mill Creek.
Eric Godfree, North Gwinnett's New Head Coach: Yeah. Yeah. So that's where I hope they don't fire me after the first two games.
Hannah Goodin: We will have to wait and see.
Eric Godfree, North Gwinnett's New Head Coach: That's why we're going to scrimmage Langston Hughes.
Hannah Goodin: Okay.
Eric Godfree, North Gwinnett's New Head Coach: You know, they're pretty decent, so they won the 6A state championship. And then we go very next week and play Mill Creek for game one opener in the Benz, the 7A state champions. And so if we survive those two weeks.
Jon Nelson: Mhm.
Eric Godfree, North Gwinnett's New Head Coach: I know. Yes. Then you know, come on. We picked up a team from Alabama that I'm excited to play. They're just north of Hoover, and they made a quarterfinal team last year. So excited about playing those guys. And of course, we got to go to the Jungle.
Hannah Goodin: September 8th. September 8th.
Eric Godfree, North Gwinnett's New Head Coach: Yeah. Yeah. There you go. That's right. So we have an very early, tough early schedule, which is going to be good. Prepare us for region and get us ready for, you know, hopefully moving on for state playoffs. And so we're going to take some some inexperience and some youth and not a whole lot of seniors, but I'm super excited about what we what we do have here at North. I said the kids work hard. They do right, and they're very coachable.
Hannah Goodin: And so we'll bring you back on the podcast before September 8th. How about that?
Eric Godfree, North Gwinnett's New Head Coach: Oh Boy.
Hannah Goodin: We'll see how you're feeling before that game.
Jon Nelson: Hannah. Hannah is going to set everybody up here. It's just like, "Yeah, we'll bring you back before that." I mean, you're laughing, you're laughing at coaches who have IT proficiencies, and she's just getting the cases of the giggles, Eric.
Hannah Goodin: One on. I'm just on one, today.
Jon Nelson: Today. Yeah, she's definitely on one. Thanks for coming on.
Hannah Goodin: That's all I got.
Jon Nelson: Yeah. So, but thanks for coming on, especially with the new digs and everything going on there at North Gwinnett. Obviously, we'll be keeping an eye on stuff and yes, we probably will have you on in early September.
Hannah Goodin: See.
Jon Nelson: Before that particular match for that particular game. Thanks for hanging out with us here on the Football Fridays in Georgia podcast. Be safe. We'll catch up with you soon.
Eric Godfree, North Gwinnett's New Head Coach: Absolutely. Thank you so much. Thank you, guys. Thank you, y'all.
Hannah Goodin: Thanks, Coach.
Jon Nelson: You survived there.
Hannah Goodin: Awesome. Thank you. I'm not trying to give you a hard time. It's going to be an awesome game.
Eric Godfree, North Gwinnett's New Head Coach: I know what. I hope it's an awesome game, not hate on.
Hannah Goodin: It will be. It will be. It's going to be a-it's going to be a close one.
Jon Nelson: Oh, man.
Eric Godfree, North Gwinnett's New Head Coach: There we go. There we go.
Jon Nelson: Thanks again. Dude, we really appreciate it.
Eric Godfree, North Gwinnett's New Head Coach: Yeah. Thanks, y'all. Love y'all. Enjoy your job. Love see it.
Jon Nelson: All right, be good.
Hannah Goodin: We'll talk soon.
Eric Godfree, North Gwinnett's New Head Coach: You too. Alright bye bye.
Jon Nelson: Two coaches down, one to go and it's time to go to Lowndes. And it is one of the toughest places to coach in the state of Georgia and a guy who is not afraid to back down from any challenge, any place, anytime, anywhere is their new head coach, Adam Carter, going from Gwinnett County to the county school in Valdosta.
Hannah Goodin: Joining us now is the new head coach for Lowndes, that's Adam Carter. Coach, you have 16 years of coaching experience the last four years at Grayson. Now, Grayson is 231 miles from Lowndes. That's what I was looking up before we got started. How are you settling into South Georgia?
Eric Godfree, North Gwinnett's New Head Coach: It's been really good. The transition has been good. You know, we've spent some time in south Georgia previously and actually here in Valdosta. So my wife went to college here for six years and so we have some friends and families not too far away. And so transition has been really good. Everybody has been really, you know, bending over backwards to help us get going and getting coaches here and all those things. So, I got zero complaints right now for sure.
Jon Nelson: Coach, one of your mantras that we have experienced over time is compete. And I wondered where the Viking logo was going to be in your compete your compete logo. I thought it might be the "M", but you put it on the "O."
Hannah Goodin: Of course he put it on the "O."
Jon Nelson: And so you know, how has, how has it been for the implementation so far of your mantra of compete into what you want to accomplish there at Lowndes.
Adam Carter, Lowndes' New Head Coach: Well, here you go. I need to send you guys one of these.
Hannah Goodin: Nice! Oh, yes, We do need a new shirt. That looks awesome.
Adam Carter, Lowndes' New Head Coach: I need this. I need to send y'all some stuff. You know what? So, you know, the whole deal with that is it's just a mentality, you know? And we break the word down. So it's it actually has a lot of meaning to us and how we go about our business and, you know, I spend our character in actually breaking that word down and what it means and and try to get into more detail with the kids. But, you know, again, it's just been the mantra and the mentality of just trying to compete every day and everything. You know, I think that that's what our world is, is that you're always going to competing is somebody I told our kids just the other day, like," you may not be just competing against the guy that's in your group right now." There's eight college coaches standing around on that indoor right now watching you. You're competing against everybody in the state and around the country. And you don't even know it. And so, you know, it's the same thing up in the building. You know, we're we're trying to compete every day for our kids to to be the best that they can be. I know that sounds cliche a little bit, but, you know, down in South Georgia, you want college coaches to know where they spend their time and they come down here. But our kids have done what they needed to do in the classroom in order to to be able to go to those universities. And so it means a lot, you know, in our community, we're trying to make sure that we're examples the community. And, you know, it's character, opportunity, mental toughness, effort, teamwork, excellence, all those things go into kind of what we want to do here as a program. And so it's been good. Obviously, you got to get into it, bits and pieces and all that stuff. But our kids understand and we do it in the weight room. We start out with competition, period. So they're having to compete against each other every day in practice. And so we try to get that meaning into it. And once it adds meaning, and they really believe in it, it helps you for your whole program to buy into that.
Hannah Goodin: So your mantra is compete, but you are the fourth Lowndes head coach in five seasons. What is your coaching style? What makes you different?
Adam Carter, Lowndes' New Head Coach: I think everybody, you know, their own style is kind of is an interesting question. Honestly, because I think we all we're all football coaches. We're all going to try. You know, if you ask any football coach on your show across the state of Georgia, they're going to say, well, we want to work hard, you know, And like so everybody wants that. And I think it just comes down to the relationships you had to build, right when you walked in the door. You have a is very similar to the situation I walked into in '19. If I was the same thing, it was bandwidth. A coaches '16 or Coaches '15, coaches '16 a coach, '17, '18th then me. And so I was the third head coach for that senior class. I'm the third head coach for this senior class. So the relationships you build in the trust factor. You know, I tell them at the parent meeting right out of gate and when I met then, I'm like "Your coach is a coach, you tell your kids 'it's hard to play until we can trust you.'" Well, when you end up with kids in this situation, it's hard for them to jump in with both feet until they trust me. And so that was a part of that building. And I'm one of those guys. If you've ever been to one of our our practices, our weight rooms, our coach position. I help run the weight room like I'm in there with them. And I think that that helps when they know that I've got the the same skin in the game as they do. You know? And I'm right there beside them. I'm coaching hard in the weight room at practice, but I'm also, you know, right there with them. I think that the guys I've brought in have definitely helped that transition. I'm really, really excited and proud of the staff we got and, you know, so all those things go into helping in that transition for the kids, you know, and even the community, you know, they just those guys want somebody they can go and talk to and those kind of things. And so we try to do that the best we can, and we're still working on it daily for sure.
Jon Nelson: You've never been one to back down from any any kind of a challenge at all of your locations that you've been at, whether it's been an assistant coach or a head coach. Your current challenge now and I'll go ahead and say it. I think that Region 1 7A is one of the toughest regions, if not in the state, in the entire Southeast, and probably ranked top five in the country.
Hannah Goodin: No shocking.
Jon Nelson: I know shocking. I know. But when it comes to Region 1 7A, and you look at everyone else that you're going to be competing alongside, when you look at this region in this challenge, what do you see?
Adam Carter, Lowndes' New Head Coach: It's going to be tough, man. It really is. It's a, you know, everybody's like, well, we don't play tomorrow. No, but tommorrow get's here quick, and we got to get stuff done. Right? Right now we start out with the Christ school out of North Carolina. And I don't know if anybody knows them, and I didn't really know them until I started looking them up. And then I felt like every kid I found on Twitter was a four star or five star. I'm like, What are we doing right now? So you got those guys. East Coweta is coming into town. We play three teams out of Florida, which is going to be tough. Obviously, everybody knows that this is year two of the Grayson Lowndes deal. So we're going to Grayson this year with that one. I'm not looking forward to very much. You know, those kids up there at Grayson are really, really talented. Those coaches are really talented. And so but and then you go into Region 1. I mean, what Coach Calhoun has done over there at Colquitt in a short period of time is really impressive. At Valdosta, Coach Felton got them in in a situation to where he was the right guy for that spot. And he's done a heck of a job with those kids over there. You just know the battle between Lowndes and Valdosta knew when you got a coach like Coach Felton and the job he does over there. You just know and obviously Coach Aaron, my mentors over there, I just talked to him earlier on the phone and, you know, he's got some stuff, but and then Richmond Hill, so very tough. You know, we're excited about it. But it's going to be tough week in, week out as the SEC of high school football.
Hannah Goodin: What's going to be even tougher, I think, is the pressure of South Georgia in the community of Lowndes. So Lowndes is a program that's won five state championships the last in 2007. But Coach, you won a state championship in your fourth year as a head coach. How tough is that and how do you handle the pressures of a community that surround lives and breathes Vikings football?
Adam Carter, Lowndes' New Head Coach: It's going to be a-it's a challenge. I think everywhere is a challenge. I mean, Grayson was a challenge. Creekview was a challenge. I think that's what we wanted. A football coach, right? You want that. But feet to the fire. If you don't like your feet to the fire, you don't come to South Georgia. And that's just the way we live. That's the mentality. It's going to be really tough, the expectations here to win and a win now. And so that's kind of what the mindset we have. And, you know, and that's the goal. The goal is to be playing in the Mercedes-Benz. And and that's every year here at Lowndes. And that's the work you got to put in year round in order to try to reach that goal.
Jon Nelson: Well, Adam, thanks for hanging out with us here on the Football Fridays in Georgia podcast in both audio and video form. We're going to be keeping an eye on you down there at Lowndes. And we will be checking in at the concrete palace sooner because there's always football to talk to talk about. But thanks for hanging out with us here on the show.
Adam Carter, Lowndes' New Head Coach: Thanks for having me, guys. Appreciate y'all.
Hannah Goodin: Great to catch up with Coach Carter. He also inherits a fancy new indoor practice facility that you can see from the highway.
Jon Nelson: That he does.
Hannah Goodin: You might be taking a tour of it soon, right?
Jon Nelson: Yeah, a couple of months away from Southern Swing. So we'll take a tour and see what it looks like. But yeah, in our various years of going down through Southern Swing, we've gotten to see it being built, and it was close to being completed last time we were down there for Southern Swing. Now that it's completed, now that everybody's using it, we're going to take a tour and see how GPB can use it when we're down there on the Lowndes campus.
Hannah Goodin: Yeah, he said that all the spring sports have already used it while we were talking. Flag football was in there.
Jon Nelson: There you go.
Hannah Goodin: So, so really cool. I love that. I was trying to pop quiz you with how many high schools have an indoor practice facility, but I didn't even know the answer to that.
Jon Nelson: I mean, this is I mean, it's a handful. Yeah. I mean, because I know Colquitt has one, Glynn Academy has one, Lowndes has one. Valdosta still practices outside and it literally I'm trying to process this as I'm going through. I mean, it literally is like a half dozen that I can think of off the top of my head. And most of them are in South Georgia for obvious reasons.
Hannah Goodin: Yes, hot and crazy rainy weather. So that was-.
Jon Nelson: Crazy Rainy Weather.
Hannah Goodin: That was a podcast. We certainly will have more coaching changes and more coaches to catch up with. My blog post, I think maybe next month I'm going to catch up with Marquis Westbrook over at-.
Jon Nelson: He's been warned.
Hannah Goodin: Peach County, Marquis, I'm calling you. So, so that'll be fun to talk to him, and I can maybe ask him what he thinks about Shane, too. They're obviously close friends.
Jon Nelson: And what it's like for Marquis to go west out Georgia 247, what he thinks of the new guy in charge who's who's a legacy. Very, very cool stuff from Shane Sams today and very cool stuff from all three coaches.
Hannah Goodin: What's your next blog about?
Jon Nelson: That's a good question. We got to talk about it.
Hannah Goodin: Jon doesn't know. So coming to a-.
Jon Nelson: Coming.
Hannah Goodin: Social media near you.
Jon Nelson: Coming to a website near you and all of our social media platforms, Jon's going to write about something considering he's already written about the coaching carousel. So, we'll see what happens. I'll write about something. It's an amazing topic.
Hannah Goodin: So our monthly blogs are out for Jon and I monthly podcast. Still just getting through the off season, barely surviving.
Jon Nelson: Now, but you know, it's always football season. There's always stuff to talk about. So go, go drink your soda and get your caffeine in your system and I'll say goodbye. All right. See, there you go. She's not-.
Hannah Goodin: I'm not going anywhere.
Jon Nelson: No, but I mean, we got it. We got to end the show.
Hannah Goodin: Wrap it up, Jon.
Jon Nelson: For Hannah. So let's see who's here. All right, so for Hannah, for now, I'm going to turn to my right, so I can look in the big camera.
Hannah Goodin: Oh, boy.
Jon Nelson: So let's see, Jake, the Snake, Ambassador Jeremy, King James, and Governor Reagan, and Commander Sandy cameo. So for everybody there behind the glass, for everybody here on this side of the glass, that means me that means. Hannah. Thanks for hanging out with us here for another round of the Football Fridays in Georgia podcast. Play it safe. Everybody will see you next time. It'll be sooner than you know.