Thursday, March 20, 2014
The inaugural Lowcountry Football Coaches Roundtable at Goose Creek High School earlier this month turned into a golden opportunity to pick the brain of three of the state’s coaching legends.
Headlining the event, current GCHS football coach Chuck Reedy, former Berkeley coach Jerry Brown and former Greenwood coach Shell Dula passed along immeasurable amounts of wisdom, organizer Rob D’Amato said.
“I did the numbers, 631 wins, 17 state championships (counting time as assistants) and over 100 years of football coaching experience between the three,” said D’Amato, an assistant coach at Goose Creek. “One theme that was common to all three was that they attributed their success to having good help and having great assistant coaches around them. There were some interesting contrasts in their approaches to running practices and game preparation but three things really stood out– be committed to the weight room, have quality assistant coaches and be able to run the football.”
D’Amato’s totals didn’t include Reedy’s national championship and numerous Atlantic Coast Conference titles as an assistant at Clemson. Also, one of Reedy’s teams at Baylor (1994) tied for the Southwestern Conference championship.
And Brown guided Batesburg-Leesville to a Class AA crown this past season after leading the Stags to three titles.
Dula coached for over 30 years and made stops at Ninety Six, Union and Greenwood before retiring in 2009 with 254 career victories.
“I think the chance for any future or current head coaches to ask these three about how they did it is truly a golden opportunity,” D’Amato said.
All three legends held hour-long question and answer sessions on anything relevant to running a high school football program.
D’Amato estimated that 40 high school coaches attended the Roundtable.
D’Amato and former Gators assistant coach Brad Bowles, now the top coach at St. John’s, discussed putting together a Roundtable a couple of years ago. It was modeled after similar clinics held at Greenwood, Landrum and Stephens County, Ga.
“The roundtable format is all about exchanging ideas on a given topic concerning high school football, rather than one guy telling you how to do it.,” D’Amato said. “The exchange of ideas leads to finding ways to do what you already do a little bit better, how to tweak it here or there.
It also serves as a great way to network within our profession. I think it’s a growing way to learn about coaching high school football and the key to a successful roundtable is understanding there really are no secrets.
It’s just about coaching correctly, finding a way to communicate the given skill or principle to the kids and being a good teacher.”
D’Amato said Goose Creek will host more Roundtable coaching discussions in the future.
“Those who were there were complimentary and said they’ll come back next time,” he added. “… I think getting started, making it happen and having our featured guests is a success in and of itself.”