OAKBORO — Just as he thought when he was a wide receiver at Richmond Senior or Catawba College, Eric Morman knew practice made perfect.
So when he was talking to some of his mentors about whether he should apply for the vacant West Stanly head football job, they all told him it would be a worthwhile learning experience. They all said it would be good practice for the next time he interviewed for a head coaching position.
Morman just didn’t know he might not have to practice for an interview again for a while. West Stanly officials liked what they heard from the 25-year-old because Morman was named as the Colts’ head coach last month.
“I really didn’t know what to expect. I was very calm, I just wanted to go through the process,” Morman said. “It’s been a dream of mine. It’s mind-blowing. I feel like I’m ready. I’m very excited about it.”
Morman joined former coach James Johnson’s staff last season as the wide receivers coach. Johnson, the former Richmond defensive coordinator, stepped down to accept a position with West Montgomery. The Warriors are led by another former Richmond coach Nick Eddins.
After graduating from Catawba in 2012, Morman said he reached out to several high school coaches across the state looking to start his coaching career. He narrowed down his choices to A.L. Brown and Middle Creek. He elected to join the staff of former Butler coach Mike Newsome. Current Richmond coach Mike Castellano was the head coach at Middle Creek at the time.
“I enjoyed working there, I left because they didn’t have a teaching position,” Morman said. “I saw James was at West Stanly and they had a teaching position.”
Morman admits being a little behind his opponents of getting his team prepared for the upcoming season because he was hired “so late in the process.”
“I know I have a lot of work to do,” Morman said. “I’m ready to get to work. I know the kids and I’m going straight to work.”
Morman gives a lot of credit to Johnson for changing the environment at West Stanly. The year before accepting the job, the Colts were 0-11 in 2012, scoring 54 and surrendering 525. In Johnson’s first year, West Stanly went 2-9 before posting a 3-8 mark last season.
“James built a solid team, I’m wanting to maintain it,” Morman said. “But we will do things a little different.”
Morman said during the summer workouts he will begin installing his offense and defense, but added he will “keep some things James did.” He has retained four assistant coaches from Johnson’s staff and is in the process of hiring two more.
There is one assistant coach in the state Morman admits having his eye on, but isn’t sure he will be available to pry him away from his current job. But he says he keeps trying to convince his older brother, Charles, to join him at West Stanly. Charles is currently the defensive backs coach at Lexington.
“I keep trying to get him, but I’m not sure if it will work out,” Morman said. “He has always been there for me and helped me out.”
In addition to getting West Stanly ready for the 2015 season, one of Morman’s first tasks as head coach has been trying raising funds for uniforms, equipment and other neccessities. To assist in that goal, Morman created a GoFundMe account for the Colts. He stresses that “no amount is too small.”
To donate, visit www.gofundme.com/weststanlyfootball.
Reach managing editor Shawn Stinson at 910-817-2671 and follow him on Twitter @scgolfer.