There is a definite buzz around the Winder-Barrow High School football program.
It’s not unusual for there to be a level of excitement when a new coach is hired. There is enthusiasm as fans are eager to see how the new head coach will do.
However, in the case of the Bulldoggs, there has been such a lack of success for so long, one would have to wonder if anyone would even notice. New coaches have been brought in before but there seems to be something different this time.
Heath Webb, since being hired in recent weeks, has been a busy man. That really is an understatement as the new head coach has been overseeing offseason workouts, hiring a coaching staff and even speaking to groups such as the local Kiwanis Club.
In many ways, when a new football coach is brought into a community, he is as much sales person as he is someone who draws up Xs and Os on the chalkboard.
Currently, players are working Monday, Tuesday and Thursday after school in the offseason program. This includes rising ninth grades.
Approximately 70-80 players have been in attendance and this doesn’t include those who are involved in spring sports.
“When you factor in everyone we are going to have, the number is around 130,” Webb told me this week. “We are pleasantly surprised. The interest in very high and the kids keep coming back and working their tails off.”
Spring practice has been set for April 28-May 9. Webb said there will be a varsity and freshman spring game and the new WBHS head coach is putting a high level of importance on the event. He is looking to have things to bring back alumni (perhaps a BBQ) and make it “a good night out for the fans.”
Webb is still in the process of finalizing his coaching staff. He has retained assistants Devin Allison and Van Samples for the varsity team and will continue to have Elton Lynn and Russell Spicer working with the ninth grade program, which has enjoyed success in recent seasons. Brian Evans, a WBHS graduate who already helps with the basketball program, will be a community coach and help with the freshman Bulldoggs as well.
So why has there been such a high level of excitement from players and fans alike concerning the future of a program which has been limited in terms of success? Webb said he believes he knows the answer.
“The biggest thing is that the community is hungry for success,” the coach said. “That is fueling everything for us right now on a number of notes. The Booster Club has been great. The kids are working hard and there is excitement in the community. Everyone here is hungry for a winner.”
Chris Bridges is sports editor of the Barrow Journal. You can contact him at email@example.com.
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