Change can be a scary and unsettling at times. But for the Bradwell Institute football team, a new head coach has sparked excitement among the potential players and drawn onlookers to the spring-practice sessions that started last week.
The Liberty County Board of Education in February declined to renew the coaching contract of Jim Walsh, who spent 19 years at the helm. That opened the door for a new regime at Bradwell Institute. Adam Carter was tapped for the job, and last week he started spring training and a new BI era.
The parking lot adjacent to the practice field recently was lined with cars as parents watched their kids participate in spring practice. Others broke out chairs to sit outside the fence to catch a glimpse of the new coach and his training methods.
What many curious eyes saw was a fired-up group of players rallying around a coach who still looks young enough to be playing the game.
Carter knows the road ahead is tough but welcomed the long stretch before him.
“I like a challenge,” he said. “I was the defensive coordinator for Camden County and I was looking for my next step, and this is it … the next step in the career is head coach …. Bradwell is giving me the opportunity to experience this for the first time, and I am very grateful.”
Camden County’s reputation for winning football games, region titles and state championships is what has many in the community buzzing about the newly hired coach. Carter began coaching in 2007 as a graduate assistant at the University of West Georgia. He was the varsity coach at North Paulding High School in Dallas, Ga., and then moved to assistant secondary coach at South Carolina State University. From there, he moved to Camden County, where he started as an assistant coach before being promoted to defensive coordinator and secondary coach.
After seeing their team post an overall record of 6-24 the past three seasons, Tiger football fans are looking to Carter to bring back some of the football glory Bradwell once was noted for.
Carter said they are taking the first steps necessary to move in that direction.
“Our vision is to build a successful program, not necessarily all about wins and losses right now,” he said. “We want to field a quality product that the community and we are proud of and these kids can be proud of.”
The transition has been smooth for Carter, who added he is thankful for the support he has received.
“The community has been awesome. They welcomed me with open arms,” he said. “They’ve been here and are trying to do everything they can to help us to be successful. It feels great to know that we have the community behind us in what we are trying to do and accomplish.”
The Tigers lost 22 senior players to graduation, but Carter said about 120 potential players have been assigned equipment, and of those, at least 100 have participated in spring training.
When the players are on the field, Carter demands they give it their all. If one player slacks off on a drill, the whole group pays the price. Despite the grunts and groans, the incoming group of seniors and juniors have been quick to bring the younger players up to speed. The entire coaching staff and players are expected to be on time for spring practice and, other than water breaks, each group goes full throttle until the end.
Carter said the facilities are comparable to what Camden County has.
“The only difference is one has turf and one has grass,” he said. “We have a beautiful facility here, and now we have to get people in the seats and get people out here watching Bradwell football.”
Careful not to give away too much information, he said the offense will have multiple looks and will rely on speed. And while stating that wins and losses are not necessarily the top priority, as the new head coach, it is definitely in Carter’s mind.
“And we will do everything we have to do to win,” he said.