When the Friday night lights turn on, there isn’t anywhere for coaches or players to hide from scrutiny.
For the 10 area coaches whose teams are participating in this week’s 28th annual CNB Kickoff Classic, Tuesday’s luncheon ahead of the event did not provide much cover either.
“I’m amazed every time I come here and everyone still looks the same as 13 years ago,” Aynor football coach Jody Jenerette joked. “(Carolina Forest football coach Marc Morris) has been here for three years and he’s already ‘The Godfather.’”
The only instance each season in which a large share of area coaches are in one place at the same time, the group dipped into their bag of jokes before the bright lights flick on for Friday’s jamboree at Conway High’s Wall Stadium.
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“Any time we are able to get all those coaches together, and we have a good group here that likes to joke around, have a good time,” said Myrtle Beach football coach Mickey Wilson. “I like to joke with (Jenerette) and (Morris) and some of these guys. It is great to be in the same room with them and have a good time. This kind of brings home the fact football season is here, we’re right around the corner from kicking off.”
A common theme at this year’s luncheon was the number of fresh faces leading area squads.
During the offseason, Green Sea Floyds (Donnie Kiefer), North Myrtle Beach (Matt Reel), St. James (Joey Price) and Waccamaw (Shane Fidler) hired new football coaches. However, most were curious as to what Conway interim football coach Carlton Terry would have to say, particularly with the future of longtime Tigers head man Chuck Jordan currently unknown.
You hear a lot about ‘Beach kids.’ Kids are kids, kids want to work, kids want to win. Conway has a great tradition because of their community. Myrtle Beach has a great tradition because of the community. Loris also has a great tradition because of their community. If we are going to build a tradition at St. James, we have to be like the rest of them.
St. James football coach Joey Price
Following an on-campus altercation with a 17-year-old Conway High student, Jordan was placed on administrative leave with pay. A few weeks later, he was arrested for third-degree assault and battery — charges that were dropped last week by a Conway municipal prosecutor.
Though his legal matters have been settled, Jordan is not yet cleared by Horry County school officials to return to work. Until then, Terry — a 25-year assistant of Jordan’s at Conway — will run the show.
“In year’s past I only had to concentrate on offense. This year, I’m accountable for the whole team,” Terry said. “Our focus is on football, nothing else. … We tell our players to do their jobs. And us as coaches, we will do ours.”
Characterized as an intense football coach, St. James’ Price showed he can also have fun with the best of them at Tuesday’s luncheon. However, the five-time state champion in North Carolina also made it clear he is here to turn St. James into a winner — even if it takes a little time.
“(St. James High principal Vann Pennell) told me I may have to be patient, and I’m not all that patient of a guy,” the Sharks football coach said. “But he told me between him and (St. James athletic director Paula Lee) that we are going to get some things in place.
“You hear a lot about ‘Beach kids.’ Kids are kids, kids want to work, kids want to win,” he said. “Conway has a great tradition because of their community. Myrtle Beach has a great tradition because of the community. Loris also has a great tradition because of their community. If we are going to build a tradition at St. James, we have to be like the rest of them.”
Fidler agreed with the notion, pointing back to a conversation he had with Myrtle Beach’s Wilson shortly after being hired for the Waccamaw coaching job.
“(Wilson) suggested that I make weight room a priority and to draw a line,” he said. “Our numbers may be low (in comparison with other rosters), but those are the ones that bought in. One thing we will not to do as a program is lower our standards.”
28th CNB Kickoff Classic
When: Friday, Aug. 11 at 6 p.m.
Where: Wall Stadium, Conway
Matchups: Loris vs. Socastee, Carolina Forest vs. Waccamaw, Green Sea Floyds vs. St. James, Myrtle Beach vs. Aynor and North Myrtle Beach at Conway