The core of the Pinewood Prep Football coaching staff returns this season, but there are a couple of new faces on the sidelines.
Michael Wright returns for his seventh season as the head coach for the Panthers’ program. Also back are assistant coaches Michael Latham, JW Myers and Chris Lemmons. Myers will work mostly with the offensive line while Lemmons will work primarily with the defensive line. Latham will serve as Wright’s right-hand man, floating between positions as needed.
“I call him the old guy because he was here before I got here,” Wright said of Latham. “He’s really good because he understands and knows the kids, plus he played college football.”
Thomas King has joined the staff to coach quarterbacks and Elvis Scott is a newcomer who will work with defensive backs and receivers.
Traditionally sports such as basketball and soccer have drawn more interest at Pinewood so the school has never been considered a football power. However, the Panthers have fielded some strong SCISA football teams.
In 2015, Wright led the Panthers all the way to the Class AAA football championship game but Pinewood lost and finished as the state runner-up.
The past few years the number of athletes coming out for Panthers Football has dropped, which led to some disappointing seasons. Wright is hoping to get the program back on track.
“While we didn’t last year, we had reached a point where we made it at least to the quarterfinals of the playoffs each season,” he said. “Last year we did not fulfill our expectations. I want people to understand we do have some roots that were here before I got here so even with low numbers that is the standard. The only way for us to meet that standard is to be consistent as a team and work together.”
Football teams also need experts to tend to injuries and health matters. Returning to tend to those matters is Pinewood athletic trainer Alecia Good.