Coach speak

Published 8:48 pm Monday, December 1, 2008

When Rob Pearson was a second grader at Demopolis Academy, he served as a manager for the high school football team. Some of his fonder memories are of Saturday mornings spent with the old Coaches’ Corner radio show.

“It was just a big Saturday morning get-together, have a coke and talk about the game from the night before,” Pearson said of the now defunct program.

In 2007, Pearson decided that such a show was one of the few things missing from the landscape of West Alabama high school football.

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So he ultimately took the idea of resurrecting and reshaping the program to Sean Parker, sales manager at Win 98.

“I got to talking to Rob and I said, ‘You know, Win 98 covers 20 counties,” Parker said of the station’s ability to cater to wide-reaching audience.

The pair then approached the station’s general manager, Amy Ward, with the notion.

“She thought it was a fantastic idea,” Parker said of Ward’s reaction to the proposal.

From there, Pearson set out to contacting the schools that he hoped would provide the foundation to the program.

“We contacted some 30 schools last year,” Parker said. “Rob wrote them a letter.”

From there, the Pepsi Cola Coaches’ Show was born.

The show, which initially started with Pearson and Jim Stanford as co-hosts, has seen some slight changes over the its first two seasons in its brief existence, but has maintained the integrity of the format.

“The formula from day one was that we invited seven to nine coaches every week depending on the big games of the week,” Parker said. “Immediately, there were a few coaches that just came every week.”

“None of it would go without the cooperation of the coaches,” Pearson said.

The show, which reaches out to coaches from all over the western portion of Alabama, features Demopolis High head coach Tom Causey, Linden head coach Andro Williams, Sweet Water top man Stacy Luker and Sunshine’s lead vocalist, Jonathan Jenkins on a weekly basis.

“We try to let the coaches tell their story,” Pearson said. “They have really looked at it as an opportunity to promote their team.”

While the show still indirectly pays homage to its predecessors, such as the broadcasts from Pearson’s childhood, it has taken on an identity of its own over its first two seasons.

“I think we have a little better formula now,” Pearson said while comparing the show from his youth to the one he now hosts.

“Couldn’t do the show without Rob whatsoever,” Parker said of the vital role Pearson plays in the organization and implementation of the weekly broadcast. “Rob really does it out of the goodness of his heart because he loves West Alabama high school football.”

To Pearson, the show seems to come naturally.

“When you’re a fan of high school football,” Pearson said, “I don’t know how to get much closer to it.”

The show emanates from Batter Up in Demopolis each Tuesday evening during football season.

“We couldn’t do it without Batter Up. It has been such a great facility for us,” Parker said of the show’s weekly remote location.

While both Pearson and Parker praise the work of first-year host Stanford, each can scarcely cease gushing over the contributions of new co-host, Jenkins.

“Jonathan has stepped in there and I think it’s been wonderful to have a coach’s perspective on the Pepsi Cola Coaches’ Show,” Parker said of Jenkins.

“Jonathan is just first class,” Pearson added.

While the various components of the show certainly feed into its success, perhaps the greatest underwriter of the venture’s achievements is its very intent.

“The purpose of it is to really promote high school football in this area,” Parker said. “I think it has been so successful partly because high school football in this area has been so successful.”