First Presbyterian Christian Academy soon will kick off its second football season in the school’s history, but it will be new head coach Jamie Sharp III’s first year. He was hired last week to take over the team.
Sharp, who was an assistant coach at Liberty County High School the past few seasons, said it is an opportunity that literally just fell into his lap.
Sharp was not aware that former FPCA football coach and athletic director Andy Yanzetich had moved away from the area.
The former Panther football player and class of 2001 graduate said he recently reconnected with another Panther alumni, current FPCA baseball coach Ryan Harmon, when the topic first came up.
“We were reminiscing about high school … later that evening, he called me back and explained to me how the school no longer had a coach and asked me if I was interested in the job. This wasn’t something I was out searching for; it just kind of fell on my lap — came out right out of the blue,” Sharp said.
He plays as a linebacker and defensive captain for the Hinesville Hurricanes, a semi-professional football team that represents the community in the United Spring Football League.
Sharp’s father, James Sharp II, is the Hurricanes’ head coach. Jamie Sharp’s long-time friend, Michael Jones, is the Hurricanes’ assistant coach.
“And his father and Michael Jones are coming on board to assistant him in any capacity they can,” FPCA Principal Shannon Hickey said.
“When they gave me the job, I smiled from ear to ear. I couldn’t believe it. That was Monday and by Tuesday, I met with the head of school and the principal, and this week we had our coaches meeting. Honestly, this came out of nowhere,” Sharp said of the new opportunity.
In addition to his father and Jones, several coaches from last season will help Sharp get the FPCA boys football-ready.
Hickey said Reginalde Castille and Mike Fitzgerald will assist, and Sharp said David Linderman also offered to help.
Many of Sharp’s potential football players are in Orlando this week, playing basketball in the National and Super Showcase tournaments, but Sharp said he did get a chance to meet some of his players.
“This is a whole new aspect of football for me — interacting with the players, having meetings and conversations with the parents, talking to the kids about their academic performance — this is going to be pretty cool, and I welcome the challenge,” he said.
On Friday, Sharp tackled one of his first tasks and ordered new uniforms, provided by Under Armour.
Last year, FPCA won the Under Armour Finding Undeniable Challenge and is slated to receive $140,000 worth of uniforms and athletic equipment for different sports programs throughout the year.
“I am currently in contact with Under Armour and they are planning to unveil the new uniforms and everything at our very first home game on Sept. 13 at 7:30 at Long Bell Stadium,” Hickey said. “Under Armour has indicated, at least from my understanding, it’s going to make it a big production.”
The boys will have an extra week to prepare as their schedule starts with an open week Aug. 23. They hit the road to Bethesda on Aug. 30. Their Sept. 13 home game is against Curtis Baptist.
Although many of his players are completing their AAU season, Sharp said he will begin conditioning workouts at 5:30 p.m. Monday, July 22.