July 28, 2010 9:59:00 AM
Bubba Davis and Aaron Lee are excited to be part of the Immanuel Center for Christian Education''s growth.
For Davis, it''s only natural he will work in his role on the football field.
The former football coach at West Point and Columbus high schools recently finalized plans to work as an assistant coach to Shawn Gates on the ICCE football team. Davis already has begun work with Gates and assistant coach Daniel Merchant and Lee, who also will work as an assistant football coach, girls track and field coach, and a Spanish teacher at the school.
"It''s football and it lets do what I enjoy doing," said Davis, who retired earlier this summer after going 4-18 in two years as Columbus High football coach. "I am excited about being able to help them. At practice Monday they seemed pretty excited about trying to learn and they gave good effort. The coaches are a good bunch of young coaches, so I am just happy to be a part of it."
Davis remained interested in coaching after he left Columbus High. He said conversations he had with people led him to contact Bob Williford, a former coach at Lee High in Columbus and the administrator and athletic director at ICCE, and ask if there was a way he could help at the school. The men talked and quickly discovered Davis and ICCE would be a good fit.
"He is a great guy, and he has always been interested in the kids and wants to do what is best for them," Davis said of Williford. "I don''t think he has changed since he started coaching years and years ago. Like I said, I am excited to be able to go out there and do what I can to be a part of what they have going on."
The decision to work as a paid part-time coach helped Davis start his 41st season as a football coach.
Williford said the school was ecstatic about being able to add a man who has that much knowledge.
"Through his work with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and what he believes in and what I believe in, I thought this would be the prefect situation for him to help out," Williford said. "We have a couple of good, young coaches, and I expect his experience to help us and to help the coaches grow. It is a win-win situation because our student-athletes are going to get the benefits and our young coaches are going to get the benefits."
Davis will work with the offensive line and special teams, while Lee, who is in his first year as a coach, also will work with the offensive line.
Lee, a 1995 graduate of ICCE, worked for two and a half to three years as a missionary in Chile teaching English. The opportunity to work at ICCE came about when the school changed a job for a Spanish teacher from part time to full time. He will replace Joe Studdard as girls track and field coach. Studdard volunteered in that position for the past two years.
"It''s a great opportunity and I am really excited about it," said Lee, who played linebacker and guard on the football team at ICCE. "I have always enjoyed working with young men. I think we have a good program that has a good chance to win a good many games."
Williford said the coaching additions coincide with the school''s continued growth. He said the school should add 10-15 students for the 2010-11 school year that would push its total enrollment just under 300. This will be the third year ICCE has an 11-man football team.
Davis, who won four state titles as football coach at West Point High, knows how to grow and to build programs. Gates, who is in his second year as football coach at ICCE, is excited about what Davis has added and will bring to the program.
"He is what this school needs to help," Gates said. "He is helping m understand the game a little better. He is a good role model, and the kids are looking up to him. Coach Davis is getting along well with the kids and it is really working out well."
Davis will work at ICCE In the afternoons. In the morning, he said he will work in the area for the FCA. He said both things will help him stay active with kids.
"I was impressed with how hard they were working and how they just seemed like they were trying to absorb everything the coaches trying to tell them," Davis said of the players at practice. "Football is football. There may not be as many of them out there, but they are all young men want somebody to help them. I am proud coach Williford and coach Gates gave me an opportunity to come out there and be a part of what they''re doing."
Adam Minichino is the Sports Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.
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