Butler clinic teaches life lessons

Published 7:28 pm Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Some 120 local youngsters had the opportunity to learn valuable lessons of football and life Saturday morning at Centennial Field.

The occasion was the third annual James Butler Youth Football Clinic coordinated by Bearcats football and basketball coach Kelvin Cochran and Butler, who plays professional football for the NFL’s St. Louis Rams.

Butler, a former Bainbridge High School Bearcats All-Region 1-AAAA and Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets All-Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) defensive back, also played with the Super Bowl Champion New York Giants.

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The free annual clinic is part of the James Butler Dream Program which focuses on mentoring, education and youth leadership.

University of Arkansas Razorbacks offensive tackle Ray Domiguez, University of Georgia strong safety Nick Williams and UGA linebacker Darryl Gamble were among the collegiate football players who assisted Butler and Cochran with the clinic along with former Bearcats quarterback Patrick Riley, who plays for Benedict College in Columbia. S.C.

Many other former Bearcat football players, as well as current BHS coaches—even BHS basketball Coach Rickey McCullough—also came out to Centennial Field to lend their help and expertise. Several current Bearcat players also spent time with the young future Bearcats, including safety/receiver Shawn Samuel and quarterback/defensive secondary player Rohan Gaines.

Coach Cochran talked about the importance of charcter as the youngsters took a brief break from learning the fundaments of the game.

“Some of these youngsters will play football and some may not, but all of them will get the message of the importance of character in their lives,” Coach Cochran said.

Dominguez talked to the youngsters about the importance teamwork.

“A football team is kind of like a family,” he said. “Your teammates are just like your parents and brothers and sisters.

“They are like a family and will always be there for you.”

Following the clinic Beef O’Brady’s and Port City Deli provided lunch to the clinic participants.

The son of the Rev. James Butler Sr. and Nadine Butler of Climax, Butler’s clinic and camp are just one function of his Dream Foundation. He has also donated Thanksgiving meals to needy local families and bought free haircuts for needy children.

Butler’s Dream Program raises awareness and funds for literacy, low income families and healthy decision making in the community.