STEENS — It’s the time of year when excitement for football season is ramping up, but the season itself remains far away. As summer workouts get underway, Columbus Christian Academy players needed to be introduced to their new head coach, Jeremy Brock.
His words might be looking to the future, but he was firmly in the moment and embracing the opportunity of a first impression with his new team.
“Words can’t explain how excited I am to finally get here with these boys and see what they got,” Brock said Thursday night as CCA players gathered for the first time. “First thing I like about them is their attitude. You know there’s a kid out here with a cast on for a broken arm, and he ain’t making excuses. Anytime people give you effort and don’t make excuses, that’s something to be excited about.”
The team did some warmups and route running before a seven-on-seven scrimmage. Brock and his assistant coaches shared the enthusiasm of the players and were encouraged by the turnout at the voluntary workout.
“It means a lot to see these guys show up,” Brock said. “It’s a good opportunity to see these guys together so we can see what we’re working with, and I’m really excited about the turnout we have.”
Brock has been playing or coaching football since he was 5 years old. He played at South Lamar High school in Millport, Alabama, where he worked as an assistant coach for the past five years. He’s also the pastor of St. James’ Baptist Church in Sulligent, Alabama, and credits one of his congregation for first putting him on CCA’s radar.
Brock appreciates the communal aspect of his work on and off the field, and it’s a path that he believes led him to this job, and has prepared him well with all of the people who have contributed to his growth as a person, a player, and a coach.
“Football is a sport that gives a lot of life lessons,” Jeremy said. “I’m blessed to have all of these coaches that have poured into me, and every day I’m just trying to increase my knowledge of the game and help put a good product on the field on Friday nights for CCA.”
Billy Thomas, the school’s athletic director and basketball coach, was at the workout and said he couldn’t believe his luck in finding the kind of coach he wanted in Brock, a coach who was a fit not just for the football program, but for the school and its community.
“We talked about the kind of coach we wanted, and the football boys went out there and prayed amongst themselves, and after that the pressure of finding a new coach kinda left us,” Thomas said of the process, which included students as well as staff. “A couple weeks later Jeremy just kinda landed in our lap. He’s full of excitement and energy, and that’s exactly what the young guys want. They want someone who is gonna put in some hard work and effort, and we all believe he’s our guy.”
Thomas took over as athletic director this year at CCA and has already had his hands full bringing in new coaches. While he wants coaches who have a deep knowledge of their sport, he also wants coaches who can be mentors and can build up the players as well as the team. Brock’s experience as a pastor and man of faith, as well as his experience as a football coach, made him a perfect fit.
“This was a year where we had to revamp a lot of things,” Thomas said. “We hired a new baseball coach, new softball coach, new assistant in basketball, and the first thing I look for in a coach is someone who is gonna mentor our kids.
“Winning is very important to me. It’s important to our school, but the biggest thing we want is someone who is gonna mentor our kids, be an example to our kids, teach them how to work hard and fight for what they want, and someone who is going to speak wisdom into our kids.”