Coaches Campus Cleanup

George Walton Academy coaches, from left, Scott Jackson (lacrosse), Noah Elam (soccer) and Cody Brown (soccer) clean up limbs around campus during a campus cleanup day earlier this month.

With sports canceled due to COVID-19, many coaches have some extra free time on their hands. For some, passing the time has been easy thanks to streaming services, while others feel like teaching from home may just be harder than teaching in person.

In an effort to continue creating sports content in a world with our sports, Tribune Sports Editor Brett Fowler texted 10 local coaches with a request: Please shoot a quick little paragraph about what you’ve done to pass the time since there’s no sports going on?

“I feel like I am doing more from home than at school,” Social Circle head wrestling coach Randy Prater said. “Not a lot of spare time, but I have been working out a lot.”

Prater’s colleague and Social Circle head baseball coach Kevin Dawkins echoed a lot of what Prater said.

“I’ve been focusing on trying to finish up the school year at SC but I’ve also been working on finishing my Specialist Degree at KSU so those have taken up a lot of my time,” Dawkins said. “The Social Circle coaches have also been helping throughout the week at the high school preparing meals to be given to our students to help our community during this time. To check on my players and their families, I’ve been contacting players either through text or Zoom meetings to not only stay in touch but to encourage them to make sure they are finishing up the school year strong. The Social Circle coaches have also been sending workouts for our players to complete at home to help them stay active so I check in on their workouts too.”

Like Prater, Dawkins has also tried to workout a good bit in his free time.

“I’ve also been trying to find ways to try and stay active, so I’ve created a mini-gym in our garage and have been going on runs in our neighborhood.”

Another popular answer was coaches checking off items on their honey-do lists.

“I’ve kept busy working out in our yard. We’ve laid two pallets of sod, put out 3 truckloads of mulch, planted flowers and bushes around the house,” Walnut Grove head softball coach Steven Foster said. “Most importantly I’ve been able to spend a lot of quality time with my wife and our 4-year-old son.”

Loganville head baseball coach Jeff Segars has been in the same boat.

“Of course, my wife has had me doing all kinds of things here at the house,” Segars said. “It’s amazing the things she has came up with for me to do.

“Outside of that I’ve been able to finish next year’s baseball schedule, listen to podcast and watch Zoom conferences about baseball, look into a drainage system for our field and talk to a lot of college coaches about our players.”

George Walton Academy’s coaches all got together last week for a cleanup day around campus in Monroe.

“That’s about all we have been doing for now,” GWA head boys soccer coach Cody Brown said. “Between that and having some zoom meetings with the guys to make sure everything is going OK. That’s about all we have been able to do.

One of the biggest television hits over the past two months has been ESPN’s documentary on the 1998 Chicago Bulls called “The Last Dance.” Nearly every coach The Tribune spoke to mentioned watching he series regularly.

“I have been watching the “Last Dance” every Sunday night with the family,” Loganville head basketball coach Josh Grayson said. “And I will say that me and both of my boys have watched so many classic NBA and college basketball games.  I watched all of Georgia Tech’s Lethal Weapon 3 1990 NCAA tournament games on YouTube.

Grayson, along with fellow Loganville coaches Mike Humphreys, Joe King and Chad Luther have gotten together for a weekly golf foursome at various courses around Walton County.

Monroe Area head football coach Kevin Reach has picked up some extra hobbies while at home with his family.

“I enjoy paddle boarding, also I get into wood working,” Reach said. “I have had my kids around most of the time. Still running and working out at the house.”

But for Monroe Area head basketball coach Kevin Strickland, whose team made it to the Elite Eight this past season, it’s been all about recruiting, scouting and getting better for next season.

“I’ve watched at least half our season on film (breaking it down in detail), held some Zoom meetings with our players, keep up with their school assignments. I’ve watched 10 plus online coaching clinics, and have had several virtual meetings with coaching buddies of mine to talk shop,” Strickland said. “I also read a book written by a college roommate of mine, Thaddeus Bullard, called There’s No Such Thing as a Bad Kid.”

Brett Fowler is the sports editor of The Walton Tribune. He is a 2016 graduate of the University of North Georgia and a 2010 graduate of Monroe Area High School. Brett has been covering Walton County sports since 2011.