Tuesday, July 28, 2009

HS Football Coaches Survey

During End Zone/PPP Media Day, we asked the coaches to fill out a survey with a variety of questions. There were no names put on the answer sheets so no one can be linked to a certain answer, but the results were definitely interesting. Below are the results and I'll break down what my thoughts are on each subject.

Should High Schools test players for steroid use? 47 % YES 53% NO

This is a bit surprsing to me as it points towards a steroid problem at some area high schools. It would be tough to get the funding and guidelines for a steroid testing program at the high school level.

Do two a day practices in pre-season need to be adjusted due to heat concerns?
44% YES 56% NO

Over the summer, the national high school trainers outlined a highly reccomended schedule for starting high school football workouts in the preseason in an effort to avoid a heat related death. South Carolina has not adopted any policy, while the NCAA has it set up that you can not have two a day workouts on back to back days. It would not surprise me at all to see the NCAA policy trickle down to every high school. The hope is that it doesn't take a death of a high school player in the Palmetto State to force the issue.

Does South Carolina do a sufficient job of recruiting our area? 56 % YES 44% NO

In my ten years at WPDE, this has been an underlying theme. It seems as if the Gamecocks come into the recruiting game late when it comes to players from our area or they do not pay much attention to them at all. Right now, Cliff Matthews of Cheraw is the jewel recruit of this area who went to USC. It is unfair of me to be too critical of the Gamecocks recruiting staff - it seems to me that they are recruiting our parts just as much as everyone else, but they are usually on the short end of the stick when it comes to the elite players from our area.

Does Clemson do a sufficient job of recruiting our area? 79% YES 21% NO

All you need to do is simply scan the Clemson roster to see the success the Tigers have had in our area. From Derrick Hamilton to Anthony Waters and Michael Hamlin to current Tigers Quandon Christian, Jaron Brown, Jonathan Willard, Scotty Cooper, JaMarcus Grant and Malliciah Goodman, Dabo Swinney and his staff have been able to get our elite athletes to come to Death Valley.

Does Coastal Carolina do a sufficient job of recruiting our area? 70% YES 30% NO
The Chants have picked their spots well and have stolen some players from our backyard, starting with Aundres Perkins of West Florence in the first recruiting class. From there, All-Americans Quinton Teal of Marlboro County and Brad Poston from West Florence started a tradition that includes names like Racheed Gause, Chris Walls and Carolina Forest's Tommy Frasier. The biggest challenge for David Bennett and his staff is to convince the 'tweeners that they are better off playing at Coastal Carolina for four years than to sit on the bench in the ACC or SEC for two to three years. The Chants track record of producing 4 NFL players in six years should be sufficient in accomplishing that.

Is there a drug problem at your school? 32% YES 68% NO
I exepcted this number to be a little higher. It's encouraging to see that the majority of our schools are not dealing with this.

Do too many teams make the playoffs? 29 % YES 71 % NO
I would be giving a "Yes" vote to this. It seems as if the first round of the playoffs has too many lopsided affairs. I'd like to see region champs get a bye in round one and let 2 and 3 fight it out.

Are you pleased with the way the SCHSL governs high school football?
85% YES 8% NO 7% Undecided

I would have thought there would have been more "No" votes especially since some of our schools have been disciplined by the league over the years, but Jerome Singleton should be happy with this number.

Who is the coach in our area who you respect the most?
Chuck Jordan, Conway: 23.5%
Jewell McLaurin, Lake View: 11.7%
Burney Bourne, Waccamaw: 5.8%
Tim Renfrow, Socastee: 5.8%
JR Boyd, Lamar: 5.8%
Nate Thompson, Carvers Bay: 5.8%

I don't know this for a fact, but I assume that nearly all of Horry County and the beach area voted for Chuck and rightfully so. Beyond his ability to coach young men on the gridiron, Jordan has literally built the Conway program into something special. He was the catalyst behind the new fieldhouse and he has sent countless players onto college and given them an education that they might not have gotten if he wasn't there. There are so many outstanding coaches in the area who got votes like Jackie Hayes of Dillon, Darryl Page of Wilson and Jeff Calabrese of Hartsville who are worthy of being on this list as well.

Where do you think the HS football state championships be held?
Columbia: 79%
Doesn't matter: 9%
Coastal Carolina: 6%
Home site: 6%

No brainer here. The beach schools and even the Pee Dee have the longest trek to Death Valley. Williams-Brice Stadium is smack dab in the middle of the state and is the most logical place to play the state championships.

In one word, what is the biggest challenge you face as a coach?
Money/support: 20.5%
Attitude/commitment: 20.5%
Parents: 11.7%

I would have thought parents won this before we started, but both money and attitude make a lot of sense as to great challenges.

Our high school football previews begin on Monday, August 3rd and we are working on expanded web coverage as well as some new segments this season. Until then, Hags and I will take turns living in the edit bay and getting ready for the 2009 season.

Friday, July 17, 2009

The Way We Get By

Prior to coming to Myrtle Beach in 2000, I spent four and a half years in Bangor, Maine as the sports director of the ABC affiliate in town. When I wasn't scraping ice or dodging moose, I was working alongside a great group of people. The tin building we effectionally called "Circle 7" was far from a premiere broadcasting facility (we thought it could serve well as the center of a Stephen King novel), but there were so many talented folks who worked hard to get out of the snow and on to other stops in their career.

Two of my friends behind the scenes, Aron Gaudet and Dan Ferrigan, wanted to have a career in film making. I always thought the TV business was a tough racket, but go ahead and try and make a film and then figure out a way to get it to the big screen without the help and power of a Warner Brothers or some other big studio.

Aron and his fiance, Gita Pulapilly, found the subject for a documentary. Aron's mother, Joan, was living by herself in Bangor and was going around the clock to Bangor International Airport to greet troops as they were leaving and coming back to Iraq.

The Way We Get By took four years to make and is much more than the storyline outlined below. Three subjects are the focal point of the film and it's just as much about how the troops help keep them going as it is the amazing story of the dedication they have to saluting the armed forces and what they do for their country.

Here's what makes this film tremendous. There's no political agenda whatsoever and it gives a respect to the elderly that doesn't get enough credit in society.

Sure, I'm biased - after all both Gaudet and Ferrigan are 11 year members of my Maine Media Roti League and the round the clock promoting of the movie has Aron's Goodfellas in an uncharacteristic struggling season, but this is a great film. The photography and editing is top notch and weaves the story without the typical documentary that has the booming voice setting the table for each segment.

The Way We Get By will be airing across the nation on Veteran's Day on PBS stations and is continuing to work its way around the country winning numerous film festivals. I hope to get it to play at the Myrtle Beach Film Festival. Anyone with a military connection in their family will be touched by the movie.

Look - the next 50 blogs I write will be about sports. For me to step out of my universe and be genuinely moved by a non-sports documentary says something. On a personal note, Aron and Dan were behind the lens when we did a series of Sports Challenges in Bangor. It is amazing to see how far they have come. It's a great lesson to believe in something and see it through even though when things look bleak. I have so much admiration at the perserverance when lack of funding jeopardized the movie ever getting to the screen. Sometimes you get so immersed in a project you can stress yourself out wondering if anyone else will get what your trying to say. Aron and Dan and the rest of the crew didn't give up when times got tough and the result is a pile of awards with more coming.

To see trailers, reviews, etc check this link out: www.thewaywegetbymovie

To see trailers, reviews, etc check this link out: www.thewaywegetbymovie.com