Vincent promises to #8216;Bring it Back#039;

Published 12:00 am Saturday, May 13, 2006

The Bryant Vincent era officially began Thursday night as the Greenville High School football program kicked off the 2006 season with a steak dinner and guest speaker Larry Blakeney, head football coach at Troy University.

Vincent, who officially began his first season at Greenville with Friday night's spring game against Highland Home, said he not only wants to bring back the winning ways of Greenville High football, he expects to.

&#8220Our motto this season is ‘Bring it Back'; bring back the intensity, the tradition, the winning and the class,” Vincent said. &#8220We want Greenville to be first class on the field, in school and in the community.”

Before the dinner was served, Vincent talked not only about what he expects from his players, but he also spoke about what he expects from the community.

Since his arrival in January, the football program has upgraded the video towers on the practice field, video equipment, home and away uniforms, helmets and several other items Vincent felt were needed improved upon in order to compete at the Class 5A level.

He spoke about the dedication of the coaches' wives and how important his assistant coaches are to the program. One of the assistant coaches, offensive line coach Matthew Wells, drives back and forth everyday from Mobile to help out with the Tigers.

&#8220That's (the dedication) it's going to take,” Vincent said.

Following the dinner, Vincent introduced Blakeney as a &#8220genuine person” and one of the people he wants to be like.

If Vincent turns out to be like Blakeney that should be fine with the citizens of Greenville because, as Vincent pointed out, Blakeney is the winningest NCAA Division I head coach in the state presently coaching.

During his speech, Blakeney spoke about academics, character and most importantly: football.

&#8220I see the fire that is already there (to win),” Blakeney said. &#8220Hopefully, it will continue to grow into a flame.”

When mentioning the desire to win, Blakeney pointed out, just as Vincent did, that it must be a community effort, not just the effort of the kids on the field.

&#8220It is not a one man job, or a five or six man job. It's not a senior's job,” Blakeney said. &#8220It is a community jobŠ you've got to be staunch loyal.”

While at Troy, Blakeney has turned a Division II team into a Division I team, while also winning some huge games in front of national television audiences. He said such transformation doesn't start on the football field.

&#8220You can not have a great football team without a great faculty,” Blakeney said. &#8220Academics are the key to the world.”

Following Blakeney's speech and the dinner, Vincent invited all in attendance to join the newly formed Tiger Pride booster club and to come out to the spring game against Highland Home. He also made a bold promise.

&#8220The days of letting people come into Greenville and run over us is LONG gone,” Vincent said.