|Coach Miller sees some exciting things ahead for his football team.
September 29, 2009 - COVINGTON
If there's any truth to the saying "Good things happen to people who do things the right way," then the Covington football team has a lot to look forward to in the second half of the season.
That's because the 36 student/athletes who make up the Buccaneer roster have done things the right way, all the way through the off-season and into the midway point of the 2009 football season.
For those non-believers, consider the average GPA of the team is a 3.28 - a "B" average through the midterm reports of the first nine weeks.
"I'm very, very pleased with how the kids have performed in the classroom," said Covington coach Dave Miller. "That's why they put the word students first in student/athletes. I can't stress how proud I am of these kids."
Although Miller won't accept any credit (for the team's GPA), he was the spark plug that ignited the fuse in his players. He has stressed the importance of what it means to be a successful student/athelete and has rewarded those who have done things the right way inside and outside the classroom.
"We have implemented a thing we call the Champion's Club," said Miller. "To be in the Champion's Club the kids have to meet certain criteria in six areas."
Which includes at least a 3.0 GPA with no D's or F's; attendance in school, practice and summer workouts; integrity - as in no character issues; weight room benchmarks; attitude and effort.
Those in the Champion's Club receive extra perks, like receiving a steak dinner or entire donuts while the rest of the group gets the donut holes.
"It (being in the Champion's Club) is a source of pride for those who've achieved it and a motivation for the kids who want to be a part of that club," Miller said.
And the results have been amazing. Six kids earned Champion's Club status over the summer and that total has increased to 25 since the season began. Plus, there has been some impressive accomplishments as a team and by individuals who have previously struggled in the classroom.
Not mentioning names, out of 36 kids on the football team only one player has an "F" in one class at the midterm, which may be within a passing grade once a recent test result is announced.
Another player, who is currently academically ineligible due to grades from last year, is holding all "A"s this quarter.
The third big turnaround is a player who was academically ineligible a year ago. He has elevated his grades to a "C" average through the first quarter.
"Those are the things I'm most proud of," said Miller. "It's those kids who struggled academically - for whatever reason - that turn it around with effort."
Another thing the football team can hang its hat on for the second half of the season is the effort and work put in over the off-season as record numbers were in the weight room throughout the summer.
"Our summer participation and effort has been the best of any team I've had as a head coach," Miller said. "These guys worked hard this summer and their attitudes have been tremendous."
That commitment has transfered over into practice. Sure, the team has had its moments, but overall the consistency of maximum effort has improved by leaps and bounds from a year ago.
"It told the kids this just the other day, it's been a lot of fun to come to practice this year," said Miller. "It's fun because I know that when I get here these kids will give us a great effort and do what we ask."
The final thing the team can use to carry them through the second half of the season is the fact that they have not made the poor decisions that have plagued the program in the past.
"That goes back to integrity, not having character issues," Miller said. "Hopefully the kids continue to make wise choices because it not only affects them individually, it affects the entire team."
So far this season the Buccaneers have already faced its share of injuries and adversity. It has resulted in two unfortunate losses and a 3-2 record midway through the season.
"We've faced some things again this year that we'll have to overcome," said Miller. "I like the fight in these guys. I do think good things have already happened for the kids and will continue as well."
Like the old saying goes "Good things happen to people who do things the right way".
If that's the case, more good things are just around the corner for the Covington Buccaneers.