Rams Wilson talks first win, new turnover chain
By Jake Keator
The Daily Reflector
Friday, September 20, 2019
Greene Central head football coach Jason Wilson had a milestone achievement last Friday, on Friday the 13th of all days. While Wilson led the Rams to their first win of the season, it was also his first career victory as a varsity head coach. GC bested 3-A opponent Eastern Wayne, 8-6.
"It was a lot," Wilson said of the moments leading up to the win. "I told myself 'I'm not going to get emotional.' I said that in my head around the three minute mark in case something happened and we didn't win. It was just a culmination of a lot of different things."
Wilson has been coaching since he graduated from N.C. A&T in 1999. He has coached at all levels, from Pop Warner to middle school to high school during his 20-year career.
"You just want that moment," Wilson said. "You want to lead your team to victory. I thought about those times, I thought about the people who had supported and pushed me along the way that aren't here now."
While Wilson told himself that he wouldn't get emotional, one small, but highly important factor kept him from holding back his feelings.
"I blame my son," Wilson joked. "All he's ever known is that daddy is a football coach. He came out with me and learned how to wash clothes and things like that. So the clock hit zero and he came up to me an hugged me and said, 'Dad I'm so proud of you.' From there I just knew it was going to happen."
In the postgame huddle with his team Wilson said, "Since I was 21 years old I've been coaching football, and I just wanted one of these (a win). You and me, we're linked together forever!"
While the occasion marked a special moment for Wilson, the gratification of winning with his team, some of which he coached at the JV level, brought even more happiness to the occasion.
"I guess the most interesting thing is that as I've grown I've watched them grow," he said. "I watched Debo Pigford go from a guy whose name wasn't really out there, to this year he's leading the team, getting tackles, getting turnovers, being a leader. Same thing with Perry Tingen. He was on spot duty last year and he's one of our starting safeties now. Just watching them and more grow, and being able to have that moment all at the same time, it really means a lot. It's the bigger picture of coaching."
Adding to the energy of the sidelines was the Rams new turnover chain, handed out to defensive players who recover a turnover or fumble, or earn an interception. The chain got plenty of use last week, as GC forced five turnovers.
Debo Pigford earns the first Turnover Chain tonight and took it to the house for 6! pic.twitter.com/ZTRYTqTpby— Greene Central (@GreeneCentralHS) September 13, 2019
"Last year, one of our seniors, Jared Fields, said we needed a chain," Wilson said. "So I went down to the Ace Hardware and bought some chain. Of course we tried to spray paint it and it chipped. We started using it last season, not to as big of an extent, but we used it. We saw Miami kind of bling there's out a bit, so I went to my wife, who works at Lenoir Community College, and asked if they could make one up for us and improve the one we had. They sent it back over and the guys really love it."
Wilson joked that players who play on both offense and defense joke that they don't get their moment with the chain, which features an interlocked G and C filled in with the schools colors of blue and red.
After earning his first win Wilson had three pieces of advice for other coaches looking to work their way up the ladder.
"I would tell them first to never give up on yourself," he said. "Don't ever let rejections cause you to second guess your ability. I interviewed for five head coaching positions before I finally got a yes. Never let the no's or the not right nows or the your not ready's make you second guess who you are. Second thing would be keep learning, keep listening. Find guys who have been doing it for awhile and just talk with them. I appreciate going to college clinics, its wonderful, but the best stuff I've learned was from talking with guys who have just been around a long time.
"It's one thing to be able to go out and pick your groceries and put them on the table, it's another to be told, 'This is what we've got,' and go make a meal. The third thing is to be a great assistant coach. Be the best assistant coach ever. Learn how to wash clothes, learn how to drive the bus, just be the best that you can be as an assistant coach. I've seen guys saying they don't want to be a JV head coach. I tell them that that's right where they want to be. The only way you learn how to manage a tea is by doing it."
Wilson and the Rams will host rival Farmville Central on Friday night in Snow Hill.