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Coaches White and McGehee speak in ‘Sittin’ With the Supe’

MADISON – In “Sittin’ With the Supe” on Sept. 9, Dr. Ed Nichols, Superintendent of Madison City Schools, met Madison’s head coaches for high school football — Kelvis White at Bob Jones and Chad McGehee at James Clemens.

Nichols uses the podcast to delve deeper into MCS activities and initiatives. He wanted to show pivotal factors in the role of a high-school coach.

Kelvis grew up in a football family in Courtland. His father, who was inducted into Alabama Coaches Hall of Fame, coached Kelvis and his brother in high school and they now both coach football in North Alabama.

Kelvis played football at the University of Alabama. “My first coaching job was at Homewood High School, a great job to start and we won three state championships,” Kelvis said.

Kelvis’ career path headed to Russellville, Birmingham Southern, Dothan and ‘back home’ with Huntsville City Schools to establish a program at Mae Jemison High School. Then, a position opened at Bob Jones that Kelvis filled.

Chad grew up in Rainbow City and attended Southside High School. Like Kelvis, Chad played football for the Crimson Tide. His first job was Grayson High School in metro Atlanta.

Chad also coached at Elkmont and returned to Georgia at Park View, Kennesaw Mountain, North Cobb High School and another metro school. “I got a call, out of the blue, from Hoover. I was there three years and then the James Clemens opportunity came along,” Chad said.

“Your journeys were spread and then a commonality brought you to Madison,” Nichols said.

Nichols asked for the major difference in working as head coach today compared to when they were players. “When I was playing, we didn’t have cell phones, didn’t even have email at that time. Social media’s influence is the biggest difference that these kids have today,” Chad said.

“You’re always under a microscope now. The recruitment process has become a very large beast,” Chad said.

White agreed. “Coaches were a little more old-school. We have to be mindful of kids and parents today. (Madison City Schools) is such a transient school district. The kids that I graduated with were the same ones I went to kindergarten with,” Kelvis said.

“How much do you talk to each other?” Nichols asked.

“We bounce things off each other,” Kelvis said. Chad said they collaborate to see what they can do better. “We bounce ideas off each other, like what are logistics looking like? Coach White is a great resource,” Chad said.

Nichols wondered if the two former Alabama players go back to games. Kelvis goes to one or two games, especially for his seven-year-old and 16-year-old sons. “But not a lot. Traffic is such a hassle,” Kelvis said.

“We go once a year,” Chad said. “I let my son, who’s a senior at James Clemens, choose the game that we will go to. It’s not easy to get in and out of Tuscaloosa now. It’s difficult.”

Nichols asked for misconceptions about coaching. “The time we put in. We work seven days a week and are available for kids and parents if they call,” Chad said.

“We want our kids to be successful in life. It’s a 24-hour/7-days-a-week job,” Chad said. “Your phone is blowing up quite a bit. At the end of the day, it’s about the kids and relationships.”

By playing football, students can learn a valuable lesson, Nichols said. “They can learn that mistakes in life are really just speed bumps – they’re not walls. I appreciate both of you guys for the way that you work with kids. We’re blessed to have great coaches,” Nichols said.

Rachel Gibbs and Russell Johnson, who work with information technology for MCS, produced the podcast episode.

“Sittin’ With the Supe” is available on Apple Podcast, Spotify or the link media.rss.com/sittinwiththesupe/feed.xml.

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