New coach looks to ‘Reclaim the North’

The Vikings of North Forsyth have chosen Jay Blair to replace Pete Gilchrist as head football coach. The decision was announced in late January and Blair is ready to go to work turning the Viking program back into one of prominence.

New coach looks to ‘Reclaim the North’
February 14
00:32 2019

The Vikings of North Forsyth have chosen Jay Blair to replace Pete Gilchrist as head football coach. The decision was announced in late January and Blair is ready to go to work turning the Viking program back into one of prominence.

Before taking over at North, Blair was an assistant coach at his former high school, R.J. Reynolds. He is looking to turn around the fortunes of the Vikings since they have gone 1-21 over the past two seasons.

“I don’t do anything without praying about it and I saw the job posting and it is something I always wanted to do, which is run my own program and be a head coach,” said Blair.  “It’s not about what I want, it’s about what my faith leads me to.

“My wife and I came to an agreement on it and I put my application in. Unknown to me, it was a plethora of people that called, sent emails and personal letters to the school supporting me. I was fortunate and blessed enough to get an interview.”

Along with being a Reynolds alum, Blair also starred at East Carolina University and spent time in the NFL with the Cincinnati Bengals and the Cleveland Browns. Blair also played for two franchises in NFL Europe before returning home to become a coach.

After interviewing for the head coaching position, Blair received the call he was selected as the head coach. He says his first thought was to call Bernard Williams to be a part of his staff.

“When Sean Vestal called me, of course I was happy and humbled, but the first thought that went through my head was, I need to get my brother Bernard Williams back to his alma mater and coach with me,” he said.

“It was just one of those things that fit and I know he has tremendous pride in his alma mater. It wasn’t just that though. Bernard is a heck of a coach and what I look for in a coach is not just Xs and Os people. What I look for are people that are like minded as I am and people that understand that when we reach these young men that come through our program, the wins will come.”

Blair acknowledged he is aware of the sports tradition the Vikings have and says he wants to “bring back that tradition like it was in the glory days.” 

“I don’t talk wins and losses to parents or players, what they will see is a coaching staff that is dedicated to helping their child reach whatever it is they want to do,” he said.  “I am not saying every kid is going to go DI or DII, I am not saying the kid is going to play college football at all, but once they realize as a parent that my coaching staff is invested in their child individually and collectively as a team, the word of mouth will spread and kids will stop leaving to go to other schools and we will reclaim the north.”

With his impressive resume, including playing football at the highest level, Blair feels the kids will admire that, but insists that he will not hang his hat on that, but prefers to hang his on his credibility and character as a person, he said.

“Initially, me playing in the NFL will get their attention, but once you have their attention then what,” he continued.  “If you don’t have any substance, you have lost your kids, no matter how long you have played professional sports.  You have to have a vested interest in the individuals who you are coaching.”

Blair’s time as a coach at Reynolds was invaluable, he said. It allowed him to build some patience with the kids and realize that every kid is not the same. He says it made him realize that he needed to take a step back and come back to the game teaching fundamentals and technique.

As the assistant head coach for Reynolds the last two seasons, he felt that time prepared him to lead his own program. He dealt with many of the day-to-day duties of a head coach because the Demons head coach was not on campus during the day.

Blair feels he has brought together the perfect coaching staff. He says he will let them do their jobs, because he believes in enabling his staff to do their jobs.

When asked what a successful season would constitute, Blair said, “I don’t like talking in wins and losses. So, what would constitute a successful season for me would be to increase GPAs, 10 or less off the field incidents, implementing a 500 community service goal for my guys, because those are the things that I am measured by.

“Winning is going to come, but success for me is when my guys walk across that stage and get their diplomas and they have the opportunity to go on to post secondary education. I want to win every game, I am not going to lie to you or tell you winning is not important to me because I hate losing more than I like winning, but the record is not what is going to define this program.”

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Timothy Ramsey

Timothy Ramsey

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