Eric Godfree, Parkview
1. What is the real difference-maker in winning and losing in Georgia high school football? “Players always come first. They make the plays on the field. Nick Saban coaching a team without any players would have a hard time finding a win. I do believe he could make them more competitive, which leads me to why I think coaching comes in second. I do believe team chemistry or the buzz word team ‘culture’ has as much to do with winning as coaching, but team culture is heavily influenced by the coaches themselves. We have all seen different teams win championships with bad facilities, different administration, etc., although, in order to maintain winning over the years, all of those things do play an important role.”
2. Which player that you’ve coached is memorable mostly for his character or inspiration? “I have had the opportunity to coach so many great players who understand the meaning of Work Hard and Be Respectful, but one that really does stand out to me is Jeff Francouer. Being able to see him embrace everyone at school, not just the athletes or the ‘cool kids.’ He was a superstar in football and baseball and he made everyone he came in contact with feel important and valued.” [Francoeur was a member of Parkview’s 2000 and 2001 state-championship football teams.]
3. What is the best atmosphere for a high school game that you’ve experienced away from home? “I’ve had the opportunity to coach in two state championship games at home (Parkview), which were great, so to answer the question for great atmospheres away from Parkview, the two that come to mind are when we played Northside of Warner Robins at their place for state in 2001 and Norcross in 2002. For both games the stadiums were full, people standing all over the place, and the games were very competitive. I can specifically remember the crowd noises making communicating a challenge.”
4. As a player or coach at any level, which game do you wish you could play again? “As a coach, I wish I could go back to the state championship game at Parkview vs. Brookwood in 2002. I was calling the offense in that game and was so consumed with my duties that I didn’t take in all of the great experiences going on that week or at the game. While I appreciate a player and coach’s focus, we shouldn’t forget why we do this, and we should enjoy every moment and every experience. Maybe I was too young to realize that you can be well-prepared and embrace the moment all at the same time.”
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