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LongTimeSWVAFan

Akers Out at GC?

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There are four former head coaches out floating around ( Clark, Jones, Norris, Bill Houseright) that you could get for practically nothing since all are retired. I am not saying hire one of these but at least get some input from some of them on some suggestions. This job was Robbie Norris's until his staff became an issue, he is the current AD at Sullivan North. He is a poor man's Tom Turner he did more with less than anyone in East Tennessee. As a Blue Devil fan and even more than that a football fan I think we are seeing the microcosm of football starting to die on the vine, football just isn't cool at a lot of schools anymore. Some parents aren't letting the kids play and some kids don't want to anymore, they just don't love them game. I am wondering if maybe the football program at GC maybe just needs to take a break for a couple of years and start all over. There are so many fractures on so many levels that may be the best thing to do. Well I hope for better days for GC football but also realize it just isn't going to take a football coach but a community healer too!

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I think one of the biggest issues with the downturn of football at GC is the sensation of McClung and the rise in popularity of basketball in the youth.  At the small school level you have a limited number of top athletes.  When your better athletes focus on one sport then the other sports suffer.  McClung, Ervin, etc decided to focus on basketball and it brought great support to that program.  All the younger kids then start trying to be the next McClung instead of the next Houseright.  If they try to do all sports they run the risk of major injury like McCamis at Wise.  Plus, to perform at a level like McClung you have to devote to that sport year round.  Nothing wrong with that, just an issue that most small schools face.  That is why choosing the next coach is so important.  Their biggest obstacle isn't going to be just getting what you have in the weight room.  Success begins at the youth level.  You have to create interest to get as many kids playing as possible so you can optimize your talent when they reach high school.

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48 minutes ago, F@lcon said:

 Plus, to perform at a level like McClung you have to devote to that sport year round.  Nothing wrong with that, just an issue that most small schools face.  

This is one of the worst misconceptions out there in youth sports today. Devoting time to just one sport year round is not making players any better. I'd take an athlete from the 80s who played the big 3 sports over any kid today who focuses on just one. 

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You can play multiple sports and be really good.  But you won’t get to the mcclung level at one sport by just playing during the season.  You could possibly play 2 and excel but if you try 3 you will probably not reach a D1 level in any of those unless you are just born that gifted.  You could ask Mcclung, Thomas jones, Julius Jones, Heath Miller, shoemaker, Justin Hamilton, etc. 

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Just to clarify, I am not advocating specializing in high school.  I actually am not a fan.  But, you have to acknowledge how normal that is in today’s travel ball society.  Kids grow up in sports watching older players and trying to follow in their footsteps.  Right now, basketball is king at GC. if you have a stud team come through in football that will change the dynamic back.

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1 hour ago, F@lcon said:

  You could ask Thomas jones, Julius Jones, Heath Miller, shoemaker, Justin Hamilton, etc. 

Thomas, Julius, Heath, Josh, and Justin all played 3 sports in high school. If McClung had played football all 4 years he would have still received offers in basketball and Akers might still have a job. 

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I am not counting track.  I am talking football, baseball, basketball.  Sports that require offseason work.  Not sure I have seen anyone doing triple jump or shot put outside season. They will run and lift but that is the same for all sports.  If you give ample time to each sport, your best sport will suffer somewhat

 I watched every one of these kids in various sports over their careers.  Heath was a star in all football, basketball, and baseball but gave up basketball to focus on football.  Had he focused on baseball instead you may have been watching him in the previous World Series.  Thomas and Julius were mediocre at basketball but great athletes, Thomas is by far the best running back I have ever watched live.  Julius was quick as lightening and still holds state records in hurdles I think.  Justin could score in basketball but half a$$ed it on defense.  I only saw shoe in basketball but take away the 6’10” and he plays local college at best. Even according to mcclungs dad, had he not given up football to do the travel ball and offseason camps, there would be no Georgetown offers.  He would have possibly followed in Talfords footsteps and played small D1.  Calvin still is the best natural athlete I have ever watched.  Drafted by Phillies, D1 in basketball with multiple ncaa tournament runs, ncaa dunk champion, D1 track star, and a heck of a football player as well.  IMO, talford is the exception.  Mcclung would have still probably been able to dunk and encite crowds but the ball handling, jump shot, and overall game knowledge would have never made it to the level he was able to showcase.   

It would have been interesting for GC to have had Mac at power back, Ervin at TE or even QB, and Dean at receiver.  

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1 hour ago, Weatherman said:

When Akers was hired, who made that decision?  Who were the other candidates at that time?

Norris (Sullivan North)

Hilton (Sullivan South) 

Akers (Rural Retreat) 

J. Houseright (Gate City)

Tiller (Fort Chiswell at the time) 

 

Now you’ll have Houseright and Reed in the mix for sure. I don’t know which you give it to. The job wasn’t that popular 3 years ago before Akers took it. I don’t know who all will apply, I would be surprised if some high level coaches throw their name into the hat. I honestly believe it will be between Jeremy and Reed. The kids love Jeremy and will play hard for him. He is the type that can recruit the halls and always had energy, Reed has proven HC experience (despite what the whine and cheesers say) and knows how to run an off-season program. If Darren is named I hope Jeremy comes back to GC to be Reeds right hand man. If Jeremy gets it, he’s got a good assistant in Reed. Either way, I look for some Gate City guys who pushed the program aside once Akers got the job to be back in the mix. If another outsider is hired, it’s untelling what will happen. Whoever gets it, I hope they trash those ugly uniforms and get something different. Fingers crossed for blue helmets too. 

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Specialization may be beneficial to some just like playing a variety of sports is beneficial to others.  Had McClung played other sports at Gate City, he likely wouldn't have gotten the notoriety and attention from major college programs because he wouldn't have been on the AAU circuit nearly as often.  But he would still have been a tremendous basketball talent.

Chris Shreve played 4 sports at Grayson before becoming a football star at Virginia Tech and landing on the practice squad of the Green Bay Packers. 

Wes Self played 3 sports at Grayson before setting virtually every pitching record at Davidson University.  He was a two-time state player of the year in baseball as well as a first team all-state basketball player.  At one time, he was Grayson's all time leading scorer, rebounder and career leader in 3-pointers made.  He had more than 40 D1 scholarship offers for baseball and more than a dozen for basketball if memory serves.  His name still litters the Davidson University baseball record book.  

Jimmy Gobble played at least 2 sports at John Battle before being drafted by the Kansas City Royals.  My brother played basketball and baseball against Gobble for two years.

Josh Shoemaker played at least 2 sports in high school.  My brother played basketball and football against him for two years.  He replaced Tim Duncan as the starting center for Wake Forest as a freshman.  

Steven Peoples played 3 sports in high school before becoming the starting FB at Virginia Tech as a freshman.

Caleb Spurlin played 4 sports in high school before becoming the starting NT for Appalachian State.  He was a 3 time state champion wrestler and could have gone almost anywhere he chose to wrestle.  He was also a 1st team all-state baseball player and had opportunities to play D1 baseball.

For every kid who specializes, I can offer another who played multiple sports with great success!

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You could go on and on with that list of multi-sport athletes.

Ahmad Bradshaw was a heck of a basketball defender.

Heath Miller was a great basketball player and baseball player think he only struck out 1 time his senior year.

Both Jones Brother's played basketball and ran track.

Josh Warren was a heck of basketball player.

Calvin Talford was a great football player, baseball player, and broke records in track.

 

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Too much emphasis on single sport athletes. Personally, I much rather have a multi-sport athlete than a single sport one. Both have pros and cons. College coaches don’t care one way or the other, if they believe you are good enough to play for them they are going to recruit you if you play basketball 24/7, 365 or if you play basketball during the winter and soccer/baseball/tennis during the spring. If you can ball, you will get looks. Period. 

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I am not a fan of specialization.  Most kids aren’t gifted like the boys that we have mentioned.  Not saying that talent doesn’t get you noticed.  But the average player will remain average if they only get in season work.  It is a known fact that more practice will make you better (except to Allen Iverson).   Sport seasons carry over into other seasons more now than in the past and coaches get into pissing matches because kids aren’t fully devoted to their sport at the time.  Football runs into basketball if the team makes the postseason so that would always hurt teams like gate city in years past. GC was always perceived as a football team playing basketball.  Now with the Mcclung era, they are a basketball school who happens to have a football team.  Many baseball and basketball teams try to compete in the offseason at camps or travel tournaments and players have to decide in which one to participate.  It’s much tougher today than it was in the 80’s and 90’s.

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The rule of allowing all year practice in sports shy of a few weeks of dead periods is a contributing factor as well. I know of many cases where coaches have discouraged playing other sports and missing their workouts. It’s another added pressure to student athletes.

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18 hours ago, sixcat said:

Specialization may be beneficial to some just like playing a variety of sports is beneficial to others.  Had McClung played other sports at Gate City, he likely wouldn't have gotten the notoriety and attention from major college programs because he wouldn't have been on the AAU circuit nearly as often.  But he would still have been a tremendous basketball talent.

Chris Shreve played 4 sports at Grayson before becoming a football star at Virginia Tech and landing on the practice squad of the Green Bay Packers. 

Wes Self played 3 sports at Grayson before setting virtually every pitching record at Davidson University.  He was a two-time state player of the year in baseball as well as a first team all-state basketball player.  At one time, he was Grayson's all time leading scorer, rebounder and career leader in 3-pointers made.  He had more than 40 D1 scholarship offers for baseball and more than a dozen for basketball if memory serves.  His name still litters the Davidson University baseball record book.  

Jimmy Gobble played at least 2 sports at John Battle before being drafted by the Kansas City Royals.  My brother played basketball and baseball against Gobble for two years.

Josh Shoemaker played at least 2 sports in high school.  My brother played basketball and football against him for two years.  He replaced Tim Duncan as the starting center for Wake Forest as a freshman.  

Steven Peoples played 3 sports in high school before becoming the starting FB at Virginia Tech as a freshman.

Caleb Spurlin played 4 sports in high school before becoming the starting NT for Appalachian State.  He was a 3 time state champion wrestler and could have gone almost anywhere he chose to wrestle.  He was also a 1st team all-state baseball player and had opportunities to play D1 baseball.

For every kid who specializes, I can offer another who played multiple sports with great success!

 

17 hours ago, Blue_Crue said:

You could go on and on with that list of multi-sport athletes.

Ahmad Bradshaw was a heck of a basketball defender.

Heath Miller was a great basketball player and baseball player think he only struck out 1 time his senior year.

Both Jones Brother's played basketball and ran track.

Josh Warren was a heck of basketball player.

Calvin Talford was a great football player, baseball player, and broke records in track.

 

Billy Wagner was a good starting quarterback for Tazewell. That's always my go-to when I hear a Tazewell kid say they wanna concentrate on baseball. But from speaking to college coaches before, one of the first five questions they ask is what other sports does this kid play?

 

The list is endless as far as athletes having success in multiple.

Also many of you probably have not seen it but I have, Cam Allen at Graham is known for his football and basketball, but I will tell you that baseball may have been his best sport.

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I agree, there are many great multiple sport stars.  The only point I was trying to make regarding specialization is that you become better at the individual sport because of it.  I would rather see a well rounded athlete any day.   

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2 minutes ago, who? said:

Any names coming to surface besides reed and houseright?

I am hearing rumblings that Graham Clark wants to coach again...........

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7 minutes ago, Unionguy_2017 said:

Stop the madness!

Didn't say he was interested, just that he wants to coach again! I was told this morning at breakfast that Robbie Norris has no interest in job now that he is an AD. 

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It will be interesting to see Gate City's schedule for next year.  I don't see a good quality coach that is in his right mind wanting to step into a rebuilding situation with the same non-district schedule GC has had during Aker's term.  If GC had had a little lighter non-district schedule the past few years, we might not even be having this conversation today.  A little confidence goes a long way.

As for coaxing these retired coaches out of retirement, I'll just say that the reason they retired is that they probably didn't want to coach anymore!

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54 minutes ago, SXSW said:

Didn't say he was interested, just that he wants to coach again! I was told this morning at breakfast that Robbie Norris has no interest in job now that he is an AD. 

I get the feeling that Norris has been promised something with the consolidated school. May be why he stepped down as North's coach to start with.

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51 minutes ago, Union_Fan said:

I get the feeling that Norris has been promised something with the consolidated school. May be why he stepped down as North's coach to start with.

Robbie hasn't been promised anything, the new school will have South people all across the board IMO. The new coach there will never do anything in football, they will be 6A in football. All ot the round ball sports will be fine football will struggle!

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