To-do list grows for incoming Tigers coach

Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 28, 2006

Let the rebuilding begin.

When Bryant Vincent takes over as Greenville's new head football coach and athletic director, his to-do list will already be lengthy.

And Vincent knows that list will be long, but he's ready to begin chipping away at it.

Some of the first items he said that he plans on addressing is to revitalize the middle school football program as well as have a freshman football team and complete schedule.

&#8220The middle school is the blood line to the varsity,” he said Friday. &#8220I plan on having the varsity staff to take the middle school through spring training so that way these kids are introduced to coaches and that way they know who they will be working with when they get to the high school. It will also allow for our staff to form relationships with those players from the get go.”

Before Vincent took the job, interim coach Mike Williams had 60 eighth-graders sign up for football this upcoming season. Because of the lack of equipment, Williams said that he would have to split his time by holding a spring training session in February and then another in May.

Vincent said that he's not going to let an equipment problem stand in his way.

&#8220I'm not going to let an equipment situation determine whether a kid will play or not,” he said. &#8220Football is too important to the people of Greenville. That will be addressed when I get there.”

There is no doubt that Vincent has the recipe to make a successful program. Other programs in the Hoover area have done just that and it has paid off. You only need to look at Hoover's four straight Class 6A championships to verify that.

Valdosta (Ga.) High has done the same thing when it comes to developing a championship program by introducing the varsity playbook to potential varsity players at a young age.

Obviously it's paid off there too, since Valdosta has won more than 20 state championships and six mythical national championships.

The second item on Vincent's to-do list will be addressing weight room/locker room at Greenville High.

The locker room, for one, isn't even designated as such. When you get the entrance to the locker room, you are greeted by a sign that states the room is for storage.

&#8220They have six racks in the room and you get three guys per rack for time and safety reason 18 guys. That's not up to 5A standards,” Vincent said. &#8220So another priority is to improve the weight room.”

And Vincent believes that he can make a difference. He said that he feels confident that things can change for the better knowing that he has Greenville Mayor Dexter McLendon, Butler County School Superintendent Mike Looney and Greenville Principal Dr. Kathy Murphy backing him up.

It will take more than just three people backing Vincent to be successful though. In order for Greenville's program to revive and bounce back to the championship quality it once saw almost a decade ago, the support will have to come from the community as a whole and the students within.

&#8220I watched the kids during weight training on Wednesday; they are hungry,” Vincent said. &#8220I can tell they are ready to go to work and get it turned around.”

Let's hope so for a football program that right now seems to be on life support.

Kevin Taylor is sports editor of The Greenville Advocate. Call him at (334) 382-3111 ext. 122 or e-mail kevin.taylor@greenvilleadvocate.com.