Camp should have been in Greenville

Published 12:00 am Thursday, June 29, 2006

Last Saturday at Oak Mountain High School, Greenville head football coach Bryant Vincent held his 2nd-Annual 7-on-7 Camp QB/WR.

So, why was the camp at Oak Mountain instead of Greenville?

Well, the reason is simple: Greenville does not have the athletic facilities to hold such a camp.

While the beautiful, new Greenville High School sitting off Interstate 65 would be an ideal place to show off great athletic facilities, Greenville's dilapidated football field is hid away at the elementary school, where it probably should be.

During the Greenville Booster Club steak dinner last month, Vincent spoke about the great additions that have been made to the football program, namely video equipment and tower upgrades, to help the Tigers catch up with the rest of Class 5A powerhouses.

The equipment upgrade will help the Tigers learn what they're doing wrong and right by actually seeing it, but what would help the most is having an updated, onsite facility where people can come and actually see the Tigers at home.

Following the Camp QB/WR at Oak Mountain, Vincent said he was so encouraged by the response of the players that he felt this camp could develop into the best quarterback/wide receiver camp in the Southeast.

Better yet, he wants that camp here in Greenville one day.

&#8220My vision and goal is to have the top quarterback and wide receiver camp in the Southeast,” Vincent said. &#8220My dream would be to have it in Greenville and bring the names and publicity to Greenville.”

Those names he speaks of include Auburn quarterbacks Brandon Cox, Neil Caudle, Alabama quarterback John Parker Wilson, Clemson receiver Tyler Grisham and Rendrick Taylor.

Vincent had coaches from top schools like Hoover, Homewood, Oak Mountain, Mountain Brook and Hewitt-Trussville.

Joey Jones, former University of Alabama player who left as head coach of Mountain Brook to start Birmingham-Southern's new football program, was even there.

News stations and newspapers from all over Alabama were there and so were players and coaches from Butler County, including Greenville and McKenzie High.

Wouldn't all that exposure be great for Greenville High, the players of the Greenville football team, the city of Greenville's economy and people?

During this recent camp, players learned in the classroom and on the field, which required large facilities near the school.

Having the camp at Oak Mountain High allowed the players to be able to walk from the inside athletic facilities to the outside athletic facilities.

Last year at Vincent's camp, which only featured quarterbacks coaches, 48 players showed up.

This year, with the addition of wide receiver coaches and more high profile name collegiate players, the camp grew to 168 players.

Imagine just how many players will attend next year.

Too bad for Greenville those

players, parents and coaches won't be staying in Greenville's hotels and eating at Greenville's restaurants while enjoying the beauty of Greenville's school.

Will the camp ever be held here in Greenville?

&#8220Without the facilities, it just can't happen,” Vincent said.

Austin Phillips is The Greenville Advocate sports editor.

You can contact him by e-mailing austin.phillips@greenvilleadvocate. com or by calling 382-3111 ext. 122.