“It’s about competition,” he said.
Hamby and his new/old team are on the same page about that. Coming off an 0-10 season, the Bearcats want to be better competition for the teams they play.
It wasn’t hard for Hamby to find a theme that will resonate.
“These guys don’t like being everybody’s homecoming game,” he said.
Hamby knows what it’s like to be on the other side. He enjoyed winning while serving as an assistant coach under Larry Ginn at Alexandria from 1991-99.
He also experienced winning as Weaver’s basketball coach and as an assistant football coach during Roland Houston’s later years and Paul Farlow’s early years on the job. From 2002-05, the Bearcats went 39-9.
But some of Weaver’s better athletes either graduated or fell out of the picture for different reasons, and Weaver fell on hard times. Farlow’s struggles last season were owed in part to quarterback Matt Craig transferring to Piedmont, and running back Quinnata Jones was academically ineligible.
It probably didn’t help that Hamby wasn’t around. He left Weaver for a year to serve as an assistant basketball coach under Todd Ginn at Gadsden State.
Hamby said he needed a break from almost year-round coaching.
“Last year was the first time I had ever gotten a fall break,” he said. “I really enjoyed it with my family. We went to Washington, D.C., and had a real good time. And my time with Todd up in Gadsden was fabulous.”
Hamby said he had planned a two-year break, but Farlow was let go. Weaver principal Frances Shipp asked Hamby to come back and coach football.
His players noticed the change.
“He told us he wasn’t going to take no crap,” senior tight end/linebacker Drew Dunn said. “He’s going to come in, work us hard, and we’re going to win some games this year, simple as that.”
Jones is eligible this season and projects as a big cog in Weaver’s offense.
“He makes sure we get our workouts in,” Jones said earlier this month. “... You try to skip practice, and he’ll come to your house and get you. He came to my house today and got me.”
How will the change translate into results in the first year?
Tough to say.
Realignment put Weaver in the same Class 3A region with Saks, Hokes Bluff and Ashville, all having bumped down from 4A. There’s also defending 3A champion Piedmont, up-and-comer White Plains, plus 2009 playoff participants Glencoe and Susan Moore.
Hamby said the goal is to get better each game, but Jones is more specific.
“We’re going to do pretty good this year,” he said. “We’re going make it to the playoffs.”
Joe Medley is The Star’s sports columnist. He can be reached at 256-235-3576.