Interview with Anthony McClain
by Alex Fliss
LAFM: How long have you coached? Also how long have you coached at Southwood?
This is going to be my 19th year of coaching total. I am going into my 7th year at Southwood. I also coached 12 years at Huntington High School.
LAFM: How did you get into coaching?
Ultimately, I think when I was playing football in high school I saw how happy coaches were doing their job. How much they enjoyed the interaction with the athletes and trying to help people become successful. My coaches were a good influence on me, so I decided it was something I wanted to do for other people.
LAFM: What coaches have had a major influence on you as a coach?
I think all the coaches you work with and that you’ve been around influence you in some way. It’s hard for me to narrow it down to just a few because I’ve been around so many. Having said that, I have been able to work with one great coach in particular – Lee Hedges. After that, the list of coaches is pretty long so it is hard to single out any more. Really all of them had a big influence on me.
LAFM: Who are some of the best players you have ever coached and why?
Well athletically, probably Jarrett Fobbs from Huntington. He ended up going to LSU and had a lot of speed and just had a great talent for making people miss on the field. Another player I loved coaching was Elliot “Ness” Jones. He played quarterback for me at Huntington. I enjoyed coaching him because he threw the ball very well, but he also had to make up for the things he didn’t do very well. He was a big kid and not the fastest, but he was one of the smartest.
LAFM: What are some of your expectations for the upcoming season?
We had a lot of older kids that played last year and graduated, so defensively we are going to have some major holes we need to fill inside the box. Last year we actually did much better than our scheduled showed. We were competitive each week and stayed in all but about two games. We would be competitive for three quarters but then let one quarter get away from us. This year we hope to improve by playing complete games and getting some more wins.
LAFM: Who are some of your current players that you think could be breakout players this year?
We are definitely counting on Keytron Crowder to be a big time part of our offense. He’s our quarterback and a great runner. He’s improved greatly at throwing the football since last year as well. He’s also gotten a lot stronger which will give him a little more toughness. He has been a two-way starter but this year I believe we are just going to use him exclusively on offense.
LAFM: What is your advice to high school players regarding the recruiting process?
Well first off, I think everyone needs to understand that playing college football is a very rare thing. Obviously, not everyone out there will be recruited. With that being said, there are a ton of great high school football players that won’t go on to play in college but can still be very important to their team. I believe the kids should just focus on the team they are on now and let the chips fall where they may. If you perform real well in high school you are going to get plenty of offers from colleges.
LAFM: Who is your favorite college or pro football player of all time?
Maybe it’s because of my age, but I have come to just love watching players like Peyton Manning and Brett Favre. They just seem to be so competitive even at an older age. Those guys seem to just enjoy the competitiveness of it, which I enjoy watching. I probably would also say I like Favre a little bit more because he has a little more playfulness in him. I really enjoy watching both of them play football.
LAFM: What makes Southwood a great school and also a great football program?
Well first off , I think we have a lot of great kids. Our school has been improving for the past four years. Our school performance scores have been improving which is always a good thing. Also, at Southwood you are going to get the opportunity to play early which leads to our teams always having good experience. We have kids every year starting as sophomores while at other schools you may not get to play until you are a senior. I think if you are an 8th grader considering Southwood, one of the things that attracts you is definitely early playing time.