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Ready to take football helm

After coaching the offense at Red Level for the past 12 years, Tony Ingram is ready to lead the team as the new head football coach.

Ingram was asked by RLS principal Johnny Odom to become the head coach after former coach Tim Grimes resigned last week.

Ingram has lived in Red Level all of his life and attended school there. He said one thing he can bring to the team is a deep “pride” in the community.

“I can bring a love of the game and a love of this place,” Ingram said. “I’m from here, I went to school here and I live here. I take a lot of pride in Red Level because being from here, the people are great and the people I work with are super.

“I know being from here it adds a new dimension on the coaching part of it because I know the losses will affect me more,” he said. “When you have to deal with that, I take it more personally I guess than if I was somewhere else.”

Ingram, along with leading the football team, is the head coach of the baseball team. He said his philosophy regarding football is not that different from baseball.

“I want to see these kids do well in all phases of their lives and not just in sports,” he said. “I want to see them excel in whatever they are trying to do. I want them to excel after they leave here. I think that’s what it’s all about and that is the kids.”

As the head football coach, Ingram said he will have to get used to being the leader of a team with many more players.

“In baseball you’re dealing with between 12 to 15 kids on the team with different personalities,” he said. “Now, I’m about to deal with 40 to 50 different personalities. You’ve got to get a good gauge and some of them are going to need you to come down on them and some of them need you to build them up and you’ve got to just find that balance.

“You can’t cater to one kid above another. You’ve got to find that balance to serve them both the best you can.”

Ingram said this season’s success would be determined on the team’s experience they have gained over the last two years.

“We’re a year older and so we’ve got more experience,” he said. “Two years ago, we were just decimated by graduation and we graduated 19 that year (when RLS finished with an 0-10 record). We graduated 19 kids and we had two transfer.

“In the second game of the season, we had eight that were injured. Some of these kids that are playing now weren’t ready to play then and now they are playing. We never prepared for having to fill that many holes.”

“Last year, we were a little better,” he said. “I thought we were a lot more competitive and we had a fairly good spring.”

Summer workouts for the RLS football team start Saturday.

Ingram has a wife, Ladonice of Red Level; a son, Tyler of Red Level that works at Vector Aerospace, and a daughter, Courtney (Derrick) Williamson of Red Level; and two grandchildren, Brody, 6, and Jackson, 3.