High School Hysteria Blog
Lee McClain was a teacher and coach for 35 years at Forest Hill until he retired this summer. While at Forest Hill, he was an assistant coach for JV and varsity football, assistant coach for boys and girls track, assistant coach for wrestling, head coach for boys and girls track, also head coach for wrestling. McClain was also a math teacher and the Assistant Athletic Director for several years. McClain spoke to our Chris Kokell:
Chris Kokell: What makes this the right time for you to call it a career as a teacher and a coach?
Lee McClain: I did not feel it was time for me to quit. My choice was taken away from me.
CK: Proudest moment as a coach?
LM: When I was asked to be the best man at a wedding by one of my ex-football players.
CK: When did you know you wanted to be a coach?
LM: When Mr. Bobby Riggs, the Principal at the time for Forest Hill High School asked me to.
CK: When did you start playing football?
LM: In middle school at Howell L. Watkins.
CK: Where did you play your college ball?
LM: At Georgetown College in Georgetown, Ky.
CK: Did you play other sports?
LM: In college, I also participated in wrestling and track.
CK: Favorite moment as a player?
LM: I received a standing ovation from the fans from the other team during my last game of the season.
CK: What is the best advice for a young coach starting their career?
LM: To have patience and to listen to your players.
CK: What does post teaching life have in store for Lee McClain?
LM: Traveling and a lot of golf.
CK: Coaching takes up so much time, how hard was this commitment on your family?
LM: Coaching probably was the cause for me not having a family at an early age.
CK: After 35 years at Forest Hill, what would you say were the biggest changes in the school over the years?
LM: The school pride and spirit.
CK: How special was to come back to coaching and be a part of Forest Hill’s turnaround these last two years?
LM: It was fun ending my career as a coach again. I was surprised that the athletes responded so well to me, due to the fact that I had been out of the game for a while. But I have always said that students can tell when you are real and that you care.
Favorite Movie: The Avengers
Favorite Football Team: Pittsburg Steelers and Oakland Raiders
Favorite Sports Team (non-football): Miami Heat and Marlins
Off the field hobby: Fishing, golfing, and photography
Favorite Food: Pizza
One of the area's top signal callers is heading to the Ivy League.
Suncoast senior quarterback Matt Dame verbally committed to Columbia University on Thursday. Dame, who also considered Harvard, Yale and Dartmouth, announced his decision live on ESPN 106.3's West Palm Tonight.
"I went up [to Columbia] on a visit," said Dame. "Me and my family fell in love after the visit. The head coach [Al Bagnoli] is great. I love everything about it. I love the way they're taking this program and turning it around. I want to be a part of that."
The 6-foot-2, 175-pound quarterback is entering his third season as the Chargers' starter. Last year, Dame threw for over 1,800 yards and 17 touchdowns.
In addition to Columbia's academics, Dame cited the Lions' offensive system as a key factor in his commitment.
"Their offense is exactly what I'm looking for," said Dame. "It's pro-style with spread concepts. It's just like what you'll see in the NFL and it's exactly what I was looking at when I was choosing a school."
While verbal commitments are non-binding, Dame says he's shutting down his recruitment. Dame admits that he's happy for the recruitment process to be over and is ready to focus solely on the upcoming season.
"I can't complain, but it has been stressful," said Dame. "Listening to some coaches say some stuff that really they don't mean at the end. Ultimately, it's finally over and I'm glad where I'm going. I'm happy at Columbia. It's a great fit."
"Now, I can just focus on training with my teammates, getting back to work and hopefully making a playoff push this year."
It may be summer, but football players are still putting in plenty of work. On Wednesday, quarterbacks coach Eric Kresser, who now serves as the Offensive Coordinator at Benjamin, was out working with some of the area's top high school and college QBs.
Jupiter High School alum Tyler Cameron is heading back to Palm Beach County.
The former Wake Forest quarterback is transferring to Florida Atlantic, after spending the past three seasons with the Demon Deacons. Cameron, who graduated from Wake Forest, will be eligible to play in 2015 since he will be taking graduate school classes at FAU. The 6-foot-3, 220 lb. dual-threat QB will have two years of eligibility with the Owls.
"It's exciting and motivating," said Cameron of playing close to home. "My family is down here. It's where my heart is."
After being approached by Cameron about the idea of being at FAU if he took grad classes, Owls' head coach Charlie Partridge conferred with his staff and came to a consensus...having Cameron would be beneficial after backup Greg Hankerson opted to transfer out of Boca earlier this month. He has since signed with Norfolk State.
"[Tyler] approached us and asked if he could join the team if he went to grad school," said Partridge. "It made sense with Greg [Hankerson] deciding he wasn't going to be with us any longer."
During his high school career, Cameron was a highly sought-after recruit with the Warriors. He initially committed to South Florida, but later switched course and signed with Wake Forest. Cameron, however, was never able to make an impact with the program.
After redshirting his freshman year, he served as a backup the ensuing season behind senior starter Tanner Price. Cameron competed for the starting job this past year, but new head coach Dave Clawson elected to go with freshman John Wolford. The Jupiter graduate played in just three games this season, finishing 10-16 for 55 yards.
In November, Clawson announced that Cameron, who had previously injured his shoulder, was no longer part of the team. Clawson said at the time it was a mutual decision, since Cameron had already told him he planned on transferring after the season.
During his three-year tenure in Winston-Salem, Cameron appeared in just six games, going 17-40 (42.5%), for 140 yards, 0 touchdowns and 3 interceptions.
Cameron now turns his attention to FAU, where he'll have just three months to learn the Owls' playbook. FAU's spread-style offense, however, should suit Cameron, an athletic, physical runner, fairly well.
"Tyler is admitted to school and he's able to start working with us right away," said Partridge.
The Owls have a crowded depth chart at the QB position as they return three scholarship quarterbacks, including last year's starter Jaquez Johnson. In 2014, Johnson completed 182 of 315 passes (57.8%) for 2,215 yards, 17 touchdowns and 5 interceptions in his junior campaign. He also rushed 120 times for 513 yards and 7 scores.
Redshirt freshman Jason Driskel and Dwyer graduate Daniel Parr, who enrolled in January, are the two other scholarship quarterbacks on the roster.
"There have been no promises [made to Cameron]," said Partridge. "We told him our starter is returning and we feel good about Parr and Driskel. It's fine with Tyler. He just wants to go to work. It's good."
Marlon Eugene will be heading to the Pac-12 next year.
The Royal Palm Beach wide receiver/linebacker verbally committed to Oregon State on Monday. The 6-foot, 190 lb. rising senior says the Beavers' coaching staff is recruiting him as a wide receiver. Last year, Eugene helped lead the Wildcats to the District 13-7A Title.
Oregon State has made a big recruiting surge in Florida over the past year. Under new head coach Gary Andersen, the Beavers signed four players from the state of Florida in February.
Eugene cited his relationship with running backs coach Telly Lockette as one of the reasons for his commitment. Lockette is well regarded in Florida. From 2008-2012, he served as the head coach at powerhouse Miami Central, helping guide the Rockets to two state championships. Prior to Oregon State, he spent two years as an assistant at South Florida.
VIDEO: Eugene's junior highlight tape: