Atkins accepts coaching job

Published 12:00 am Monday, June 28, 2004

Bullock County is best known for high school basketball.

Sylvester &uot;Sly&uot; Adkins hopes to change that.

The 37-year-old Greenville resident and 1984 graduate of Greenville High School was recently hired by the Bullock County Board of Education to serve as Bullock County High School ‘s head football coach. Adkins has anxiously awaited a head coaching opportunity for over 10 years.

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&uot;It feels great,&uot; he said. &uot;I’m very excited. Even though I didn’t have the chance to go through spring training with these guys, it’s something I’m looking forward to. I love coaching football and I love my players. I’m a players coach, I take care of my players.&uot;

Adkins also played football for the Tigers where he played receiver and defensive back. Following prep football, he went on to attend Troy University and was a member of the Trojans’ 1984 Division AA National Championship team.

After two years of college, Adkins joined the United States Army where he served four years. He later returned to Troy University and received his bachelor’s degree in physical education and driver’s education.

Current Greenville High School Coach and Adkins’ high school teammate said he is thrilled for him.

&uot;Anytime someone from Greenville or I know or played with can get a head coaching job is remarkable,&uot; Briggs said. &uot;I real excited for him. He’s a real, real remarkable young man. Sylvester is a good student of the game, and he’s only going to get better as a head coach. He’s first and foremost for the student athletes.&uot;

After college Atkins worked as the assist secondary and strength and conditioning coach at Troy State University for two years before taking the secondary coach job at Greenville High. After one season, Atkins left Greenville and became the secondary coach at Smiths Station High School. He later became the defensive coordinator and assistant head coach at Tallassee High School where he stayed for four years. He left Wilcox-Central where he served as defensive coordinator for two years to take the job at Bullock County.

Atkins said he doesn’t have a lot of big plans in store for his new players. He just wants to cover the basics.

&uot;I’m a fundamental-type coach,&uot; Adkins said. &uot;I like to handle fundamentals first, take care of the basics. I want to get to know the players, get a feel for the team and hopefully we can do something with them. I want to first get a feel for the team and go in and have a good time.&uot;

Atkins also plans to build a good relationship with his players. He hopes that will help unite the team and help build a winning tradition.

&uot;I want to show the players that you care about them and that you’re there for them even after they graduate from high school by keeping in touch with them and making sure that they’re doing something with their lives,&uot; Adkins said. &uot;As a coach, you’ve got to let them know that they’re not just there for football, but to get an education and to make something out of themselves.&uot;

Atkins’ main goal in his first year at Bullock County is to advance to the Alabama High School Athletic Association’s Class 4A state playoffs.

&uot;I hate losing,&uot; Adkins said. &uot;I know I’m going in blind, but we’ve got to make the playoffs. That’s what I feel is very important. We set our goals too high because I don’t know what we have. I also want us to be competitive.&uot;