• 54°

Grant, Pike County football working

hard to improve attitude and facilities

By STEVEN G. WATSON

Sports Editor

Pike County head football coach Wayne Grant isn’t sitting around waiting for something good to happen, he’s getting his hands dirty to improve the situation and that kind of attitude has been contagious in Bulldog country.

In a fit of self motivation Grant and many others concerned with the facilities in and around the Pike County football program have taken on a number of tasks recently. Most of the work they are doing comes at their own expense, something Grant feels is right in line with the attitude he is trying to bring back to Bulldog football.

"You can either sit around here and hope and pray something is going to happen or you can put legs on your prayers – In other words you can go do it," Grant said recently. "It’s the same attitude we stress to our players – Don’t expect something from nothing. You’re not going to win any games by sitting around talking about what you’re going to do. You’ve got to get out there and work towards winning."

Currently under renovation is what used to be, for lack of a better term, a junk storage building located near the football field. The building was built way back in the early 1920’s or 30’s and was the old dressing rooms at one time.

Now, with the help of various coaches, players and friends to the program, Grant and his crew have gutted the inside of the building and rebuilt the structure with plans on using it as the seventh, eighth and ninth grade locker room. It will also be used as a locker room for visiting football teams.

"I asked permission to take the building and restore it and I was given permission to do that at no cost to the board of education," Grant said. "Everything that has been done out there so far has been done through athletic funds, booster club funds and donations from individuals. This will be a nice addition to our facilities and the board won’t have any money tied up in it.

"The coaches are pitching in when they can and the football players have done a tremendous amount of work," he continued. "The building looks 100 percent better than it did. It’s practically a new building."

The coach also likes the thought of his players and coaches "investing" themselves into something like this. He feels that it can only help their program in the long run.

"I kind of take the business approach with it," Grant said. "If you have a business and you don’t invest in your business then it’s not going to grow. I feel the same way about athletics.

"It also builds pride and morale," he added. "It’s a piece of them and they have a piece of themselves invested in it, therefore it will mean more to them. It helps them buy into our program. When they invest themselves in it we get a better return. And we’re going to see one next year, this is going to be a different place."

The new locker room is just the tip of the ice burg as far as Grant and the Bulldogs are concerned, however. Plans are in motion right now for a huge renovation job of the old "Doghouse" where they varsity team dresses out.

Former Pike County alum and current New York Jet tight end Fred Baxter has committed to come and bring some of his NFL friends to help in a couple of fund raisers, one in conjunction with Relay For Life.

"What we will have is an autograph signing session in conjunction with Relay For Life at Troy State," Grant said. "I understand what they’ll do there is take donations at the autograph session, but the athletes won’t receive anything. All proceeds will go to charity – 50 percent will go to Relay For Life and 50 percent will go toward our program.

"Following that we will have an NFL memorabilia auction at Sartain Hall. We’ll have items there from various pro players for auction. All those proceeds will go towards renovation of our building." he added.

The dates for the two events are on the weekend of May 20th and as an extra treat, Baxter and the other pro athletes will attend a picnic to be held that Saturday on Pike County High School’s football field. There they will interact with the youth of Brundidge.

Grant has the ball rolling now for the coming football season in Brundidge and the buzz that he is causing has come from the top where he says it has to start.

"This attitude we are building here has to come from the top," the coach said. "If I just sit around here and talk about winning and don’t do anything about it then we won’t win. We’ve got to invest in it and work hard to move forward or we won’t get better.

"That’s the same attitude we had when I was here before and we won two State Championships," he continued. "The players have adopted this attitude and are moving forward with it. Hopefully we’ll see simular results."