Prior to 2011 the small town of Grayson, GA wasn't known by too many in the state, let alone the nation. Being a quiet, southern town Grayson was known for it's friendly, neighborly people and its annual Grayson Days festival and 5K and Fun run, but one night in the early winter of the late high school football season changed all of that.
On December 10th, 2011 the Grayson High Rams defeated the Walton Raiders in 24-0 shutout at the GA Dome in Atlanta, GA sealing the school's first Football championship. Player's like Robert Nkemdiche (the #1 Defensive Recruit in the Nation according to ESPN) helped lead the team to the convincing win. Having played football myself I know what it takes to play the game as an athlete and I know that behind every athlete is a coaching staff that knows how to get every competitive ounce out of their players. Were it not for the coaches constantly training and motivating the players, the end results wouldn't be possible.
Grayson's football team is blessed with a coaching staff that is willing to go the extra mile for these kids so that they will leave Grayson prepared and equipped for the next level in life, where ever that may be.
I approached Head Football Coach Mickey Conn for an interview concerning the important elements of Football, Family and Community and he graciously granted me that interview.
Q1) First of all, I want to congratulate you and the entire Grayson Football team and staff on such a successful year in 2011. Can you describe what it means to you as an individual as well as your school on such achieving such an accomplishment?
A: We put a lot of time and work into building a successful program. It is very gratifying when all that time and hard work culminates into a championship.
Q2) When it comes to coaching young student athletes, what are some things you try teach/coach/instill in them other than being successful academically?
A: We do our best as coaches to teach character through the sport of football. Every kid is different and every team is different. It is important to understand the personality of your team and plan lessons that will help these kids grow as individuals as well as a team.
Q3) In your opinion, what is the best trait or coaching method of yours that seems to receive the best response as far as high-output on the field? In other words how do you get your athletes to respond to you with such high athletic and mental output?
A: To me consistency is the key, if players are not consistent in our program they do not last very long. I am looking for a huge commitment from my players. When we train we train extremely hard so that when these kids do compete they understand how to compete at a high level. We do our best as coaches to make it second nature for the kids we coach.
Q4) If you could ensure that your athletes leave the Grayson High School Football program with one attribute, what would it be and why?
A: It is my goal to develop our players physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. I want them to mature and be positive citizens with in the community they reside.
Q5) Lastly, other than last year’s championship season, what has been your fondest Football memory to date?
A: Every day is a new day and I do my best to enjoy the moment. We have had many great moments in our young football history. Winning our first game at Chapel Hill, winning our first region championship in 2002, beating Lowndes County in 2008. I always look forward to the hug I get from my wife Halie and my boys Brodey and Spencer after each game win or lose.
Q6) Some people are unaware of the preparation it takes to prepare for an opponent on a week in and week out basis. Can you walk us through how you do that and balance that with your family time?
A: God, Family, Football is supposed to be the order of priority to keep balance in the life of a coach. Unfortunately that is not always reality. I do my best to balance it all out. The first of the week is Sunday. As a family my wife and kids and I get up and go to church together and eat lunch together as a family. I then report to work at 2 pm and usually get home around 9 pm. Monday we are all in school and then I have practice until 6 pm at which time I switch hats and help coach my sons youth league teams. I do this 2 times a week with Brodey and once a week with Spencer and then I coach both teams on Saturday. This is time I get to spend with my kids. On Wednesdays I get to spend time with the whole family after practice. Thursday is JV games and Friday are varsity games. I have a very patient wife that takes care of everything. Halie (wife) is an angel.
Q7) Do you use those fatherly teaching moments on the field as well as at home?
A: Every moment is a teachable moment and I do my best to teach my boys right from wrong in every situation.
Q8) Is your family involved in any way with your team other than just support for you?
A: Brodey and Spencer help with ball boy duties. Halie helps feed players as needed and keeps up with all the players birthdays and will bring them a treat to celebrate their birthday.
Q9) What was the community response to you, the staff and the team after winning last year’s championship?
A: Everyone was very excited and complimentary. The community was extremely proud
Q10) Other than vocal support, in what ways do the local community show support for the Grayson Rams?
A: Many companies will give money to help with the program, when you come to a Grayson game you will see signs on the fence from our local sponsors. I have parents that volunteer to serve on our touchdown club board and they do a tremendous amount of work throughout the season. Rob Langston with Gwinnett Rental Company helps us out a ton.
Q11) If you could tell your neighbors and surrounding community anything regarding the Rams, what would it be?
A: That we work hard and we care about the kids we coach. That our players play as a team.
Q12) What specific values do you try to help instill in your players and why? (religious or not)
A: We take our players to an FCA camp each year voluntarily. We hope to teach values to our players that our country is built on. We hope that our players build their lives on a solid foundation.
Grayson, we are lucky to have such an invested coach that has great core values and is willing to coach and teach our kids in such a way that will have a lasting impact on their lives. May God continually bless the Conn family and as always, GO RAMS!