‘You’re going to be held to a high standard:’ New Bearcat head football coach Jay Walls meets with players, coaches

Published 4:03 pm Friday, March 8, 2024

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Newly hired Bainbridge High School head football coach Jay Walls stood in front of 60-70 freshman, sophomore and junior football players and told them what he plans to do as their new leader. 

He talked about scheme, culture and a want to connect with them. Most of all, Walls said his mission is to “build men.”

“You’re going to be held to a high standard,” Walls said, addressing the team. “We’re going to build men. Because here’s what I know, real men understand family. Real men understand team. They understand brotherhood, alright, and the winning takes care of itself.”

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Walls said the first thing on his agenda is to form a relationship with his team. He said he is going to schedule home visits with each player to go out to their home, sit down with them and their family, and get to know each other.

“I want to make a connection with you and your folks,” Walls told the players. 

Walls started the home visits in 2005 when he began his first year as the Tifton County head coach. He said forming relationships with his players and their families is important to the teams’ success.

“It absolutely makes a difference,” Walls said. “I’m so excited now, coming here to Bainbridge, to meet the parents, meet the kids, talking with them, just making a connection.”

Walls stressed a strong culture in the weight room and a dedication to the program.

“we’re going to do what other people can’t do, don’t want to do, ain’t willing to do,” Walls said. “The Bearcats are going to do that, we’re going to be uncommon.”

He spoke for around 15 minutes and spent time after shaking players’ hands and introducing himself one-on-one. Freshman wide receiver Javeen Breedlove said he was happy to meet the new head coach.

“I’m glad we got a new coach,” Breedlove said. “He’s cool… I’ve got much respect for him. I’m just ready to have him as our coach, man, just ready for football.”

Junior linebacker Braylon Phillips said he’s looking forward to the season with the hiring of a new head coach.

“He seemed pretty cool,” Phillips said. “He seemed like he knows what he’s doing. I’m just hoping for the best for this season… we just got to keep working.”

Before meeting with the players, Walls met with the coaching staff to get to know them and talk X’s and O’s. He stressed to the coaches and players that Bainbridge will outwork any opponent. Defensive Coordinator and assistant coach Joe Dollar said he feels Walls fits well with the standard set by the Bearcat football program.

“In the end, you can be successful with anything,” Dollar said. “It’s just the culture and working hard. Sounds like that’s what we’re going to be doing once again, so, I’m looking forward to it.”