Folks looking to catch a glimpse of Bradwell Institute’s new football coach, Adam Carter, got a chance during an informal meet and greet Thursday evening at the home of George and Babs Holtzman.
In turn, Carter thanked supporters, talked about a new booster club and introduced the coaching staff which has familiar faces mixed in with new arrivals.
Since his hiring, the energetic coach has gotten attention from many of the Tiger alumni and football fans. Some even went out to watch spring training and as word spread about his dedication and methods a renewed sense of Tiger pride has emerged.
Through sips of tea and lemonade and bites of catered food, Carter mingled, taking time to speak with everyone. Nearly 120 people attended the event which also served as a membership drive to the new Tiger Touchdown Club.
Among the attendees was legendary Tiger football coach Clifford Johnson who coached the Tigers from 1970 until 1987 and amassed a career record of 131-60-3. He called Carter a fire ball of pure football adrenaline.
“I am really excited for Bradwell,” Johnson said. “The times I’ve been around him…he is an outstanding young man and one of the hardest workers I’ve ever seen. You can barely slow him down long enough to talk to him...We are just tickled to death. We certainly want to support him and we know he is going to do well.”
BI Principal Scott Carrier talked about the importance of athletics on the school and students.
“Our goal is to improve all our programs. Our focus, of course, is our academic programs but the extracurricular programs are the ones that enhance the academic programs,” he said. “We’ve had a lot of improvements in our academic programs and now our focus is improving athletic programs.”
Carrier then formally introduced Carter.
“The person I’m about to introduce is going to be the man who is going to lead the charge on the football field and from what I’ve seen already he is going to accomplish great things,” Carrier said. “…he has been at the fieldhouse from early in the morning until late at night…you will not be able to doubt this man’s dedication to building a quality football program.”
Carter said, “I am excited, I really am… the opportunity to become a head football coach has been a dream of mine for a long time… And I will not be outworked by anybody… We are changing things around at Bradwell Institute and my energy will hopefully help our football program and in turn help our school. Bradwell is a great place…the kids are awesome and they have been nothing but welcoming and excited and the administration has been wonderful.”
Carter introduced his coaching staff: Jeff Miller, quarterback coach Frank Troup, Chris Reed, Quille Jones, Mike Stanford, Casey Phillips, Duane Johnson and Joseph Smiley.
Former Liberty County Panther coach Samuel Richards will join the BI staff this year as is former Panther and Camden County coach Brian Griggs. Chris Reese is also coming from Camden, and Ron Murray and Brent Nobles are also new.
Carter said they plan to run a structured organization, managing from top to bottom. He said he told players he wants them to do the right thing and wants to restore the community’s faith in Tiger football.
“It’s my job to put something on the field that you are proud of and want to see,” he told the crowd. “I know there is a lot of tradition at Bradwell Institute. There are a lot of faces out here that have played or coached here and my goal is to make you proud of Bradwell Institute again.”
Former BI coach and Liberty County School Superintendant Ed Edwards said he was enthusiastic.
“He is full of energy…I’ve been out to the practices two-three times and he has them working hard. I’m looking forward to the season this year,” he said.
Pat Edwards hasn’t missed a Tiger game in 43 years, adding he can’t wait to see how the program develops.
“I think he brings new energy…and as you can see it has the whole community buzzing,” he said.
Craig Stafford also spoke about the new Tiger Touchdown Club. The booster club specifically targets the football team. He called it an updated version of the former Harvey Overton Booster Club that had faded the past few years.
Among the directors are Stafford, Kenny Howard, Melissa Carter Ray, Karl Riles, Elise Stafford, Shane Smith, Ricky Gilliard, Ron Darby and Pat Edwards.
“We are here to support the Tiger football program and we have a very dedicated group of board members who have been getting together…and this is one of the functions we put together,” he said.
Stafford said there are different levels of membership and the club plans to hold periodic meetings. They are finishing a new website. The club hopes to generate funds to provide meals for the coaches and players, help players attend training camps and host an annual recognition banquet.
Carter said a few people have already joined with significant donations, enabling the purchase of weights and bars for the weight room.
“We need the community’s support, we need that and the kids need that,” Carter said. “It’s hard to look up at the stands on a Friday night and see 20 people…that’s not high school football.”