Lance Fendley is set to build the Bethlehem Christian Academy football team in a successful program.
After serving as the offensive coordinator for the Knights in 2012, Fendley was promoted to head coach last week. Fendley takes over for Don Garmon, who started the BCA program from scratch.
With Fendley being a full-time employee of Bethlehem Christian Academy, school officials decided to promote him to head coach partly because of the time requirements necessary to direct a varsity football program.
“Coach Fendley has a passion to see our students succeed on the field, in the classroom and as young men,” BCA athletic director Mark Barth said. “I look forward to watching the program continue to grow under Coach Fendley’s leadership. We are excited about the future of athletics at Bethlehem Christian Academy.”
The new head coach is already hard at work preparing for the 2013 season.
“This is a great place to be,” Fendley said. When I first got here, I took a picture of our practice field. I look forward to seeing what it will look like in three years.”
Fendley, who was an assistant coach at Winder-Barrow High School in 2009, has also been a head coach at Valwood School as well as a graduate and full-time assistant at Valdosta State. Fendley is a native of Valdosta, known as Title Town USA.
“We took 18 players this year, most with only two years of football experience, and won three games and battled for the playoffs,” Fendley said.
“One of the most exciting things is that we return most of our players. We are also excited about our eighth graders moving up.”
A strong offseason weight program is in the works for the Knights.
“When we walked on the field at Thomas Jefferson, it didn’t seem like they had so many more athletes. but they had speed and power,” Fendley said. “You could tell they really work out.”
The new head coach said he has mapped out a six-month program for the football players including a mid-April boot camp conditioning program. Spring practice will be the second week of May.
“We will also have an expanded summer program,” Fendley said. “We are going to compete against anyone we can in the passing leagues. The more experienced we get then the more we can see how things work. Everything they do will put a step closer to being successful.”
Part of his goal for the program is to expand the coaching staff from three to six.
“If reach our goal of having 30 players then it would take that many coaches,” Fendley said.
Fendley said he plans to continue calling the offensive signals and work with the team’s quarterbacks.
The new BCA head coach said he has had the benefit of working with some quality coaches and will use that experience in building the Knights.
“(Former Winder-Barrow High School head coach) Ben Corley is one of the finest coaches you will ever see,” Fendley said. “My time as a graduate assistant and then assistant coach at Valdosta State is a time I won’t ever forget. It will help me in running this program.”
A University of Georgia graduate, Fendley’s passing offense helped BCA generate impressive numbers for a team playing a full varsity schedule for the first time.
Both Fendley and Barth praised Garmon for his work in starting the Knights’ program.
“You can’t say enough good things about which Don has done for our program and our school,” Barth said. “We expect him to continue to be involved. He means a great deal to our school.”
BCA will continue to compete in Region 1-A of the Georgia Independent Schools Association next season.