Frank Barden, Stephens County
1. What is the most memorable game you’ve been a part of as a player or coach? “It would have to be the 1999 state championship game at Cartersville when we played Hart County. That was one of the last years that you got to play in your hometown [before the finals went to the Georgia Dome]. Being fortunate enough to come out with a win is exciting for your community. It was a special night.” [Barden was head coach at Cartersville from 1996 to 2013. The 1999 Cartersville team featured future Auburn and NFL player Ronnie Brown.]
2. Which high school coach would you want your son to play for, and why? “I was fortunate enough to play for and coach with Coach Rodney Walker [as a player at Habersham Central.] He was a little ahead of my kids’ times, and that would’ve been very special for them to play. He taught character and hard work and things like that. As a coach, he was very disciplined and sound in his offense and defense, just a good football coach.”
3. What is your pet peeve as a coach or favorite saying/motto? “One thing I’ve developed here lately is the idea of getting the young man to carry himself at a high standard each day. I’ll hold my hand up and say we’ve got to live up here. It’s really something that as you get toward the end of your years of doing this you realize that’s what it’s all about. When you’re younger, you’re chasing that rabbit, the scoreboard, the things that obviously are tangible. But it’s really about that young man and hopefully him getting a better way of life.”
4. Which GHSA policy or high school football rule would you most like to see changed? “Anything that protects the integrity of high school sports. It’s been so good to me, and it’s so good for the kids, good for the communities, good for the schools. We live in a me world, and sometimes that’s brought into sports. It should be a team game and be about the kids and developing character.”
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