Some of the most important people in my life are football coaches, many of whom were players I coached in college. Some of my current favorites are Alabama A&M's Anthony Jones, a former Wichita State Shocker, and Columbia's Norries Wilson, a former Minnesota Golden Gopher.
My other favorite coaches are those I've had a chance to work alongside, such as Whale Branch High School's Rob D'Amato, who asked me to help him build the first-year Warriors program last season.
I'm delighted there is another coach to add to my list -- new Battery Creek High School coach Jim Shuman. I met Shuman two weeks ago, and we talked for a few minutes about the prospect of my helping him and the Dolphins.
Last week, I emailed Coach Shuman two pages of my thoughts on the option offense -- some coaches consider me the ol' option dinosaur -- and we plan to get together soon to talk about it.
I'm looking forward to getting to know Coach Shuman better and sitting down to talk Xs and Os and coaching philosophy.
When D'Amato was hired as Whale Branch's head coach, I was surprised a Beaufort County assistant coach wasn't selected. But, from my perspective, he was a good choice, and I feel the same about Coach Shuman after meeting him and trading a few emails and phone calls.
Shuman coached the offensive line at Battery Creek in 2006 and 2007 and was the Dolphins' track and field coach in 2007. That background will help him understand what the Dolphins need to do on and off the field to be successful, and he picked up four years of head coaching experience at Wade Hampton.
Shuman has been a football coach for 12 years, including time as an offensive and defensive coordinator, and has an ideal background to be the Dolphins' head coach. What's even more impressive is Coach Shuman is a science teacher who has been selected several times as his school's teacher of the year, so I'm sure he will do a good job helping many players academically.
I hope the Dolphins can recover from their winless 2010 season, but I also hope each player betters his GPA, which is certainly as important as winning games.
The best coaches help players in both regards, and I guess that's why they're so important to me.