Today, our Four Questions feature is answered by Ed Pilcher, who retired from Berrien last season after 30 years and 250 victories as a head coach. He is best remembered as the coach of five state-championship teams at Thomas County Central in the 1990s.
1. What is the most memorable game you’ve been a part of as a player or coach? “The one that sticks out is the 1992 state-championship game here at Thomasville when Central played Thomasville [at Central’s Jackets’ Nest]. It was a big rivalry game and still is. We’ve always talked about what in the world we’d do today if they made us come to Atlanta for that. Both teams were very competitive, and there were no problems whatsoever on the field with the players or with the fans. We had 50 state troopers there to help with parking and everything. It was just a great atmosphere and game. It came down to the last play. We had a goal-line stand in the last minute, and we took a safety with about 11 seconds to go to secure the 14-12 win. It helped springboard us for years to come.” [The schools are 3.5 miles from each other, and 3.5 hours from the Georgia Dome. Thomas Central went on to win Class AAA titles in 1993, 1994, 1996 and 1997.]
2. Which high school coach would you want your son to play for, and why? “I could say one of my high school coaches, Dwight Thomas. I played with him some years ago [at Cocoa Beach High School in Florida]. He was our defensive coordinator. I was taking an anatomy class and he was next door, and he’d get me out and we’d discuss what we’d do for the game that week. I always wanted to coach, but that helped get it in my blood. He would be one. I had a lot of assistant coaches too, and I really liked the guys we had on the staff for that run in the 1990s with Larry Green and Dennis Cain and Ken Harper that had been at Central before. We also had Bill Wilhem. And Bill Shaver came along at that time. Then we picked up Tommy Flowers. Those were the backbone of those teams, and those are just good people.”
3. What is your pet peeve as a coach or favorite saying/motto? “‘Never get tired of doing the right thing.’ It goes back to a quote out of Galatians 6:9. ‘Do the right thing, and in due time, you’ll reap the benefits.'”
4. Which GHSA policy or high school football rule would you most like to see changed? “I think the game is better, no question, as far as the athletes being bigger, faster, stronger and coached up better than they were 30-40 years ago. But for a coach who is not from a community that keeps your kids, it’s hard to deal with losing kids that go to other schools. That’s one thing about coaching in a small community. You get those kids from the time they were in the seventh grade through varsity and you can build better relationships that way. It’s all about relationships. Some miss out on that. I think [the GHSA] should look at something so that [transferring] doesn’t penalize the kid too much but has enough teeth in it so that a family thinks about whether it’s worth it. Maybe sit out three or four games before they can play.”
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