Can you tell me about your background in the local sports community?
We’ve been in Ponte Vedra since 2001. Our boys have grown up playing Pop Warner football, in the PVAA (Ponte Vedra Athletics Association), playing with the baseball association and rec league basketball with the YMCA. So, we've been plugged in sports-wise for quite some time having four boys. I also tried to help coaches as much as possible. I definitely don't know everything, but love being involved on the sidelines with the football and coaching their basketball teams throughout their years and assisting with baseball.
Can you tell me your sons’ names and where they went/go to school?
My oldest one is Noah. He graduated from Ponte Vedra in 2017. And then, Nic. He's 20. He graduated from Nease in 2019. Nathan is a sophomore at Ponte Vedra, and then Nehemiah is in seventh grade at Landrum Middle School.
Noah played basketball and baseball at Ponte Vedra, Nic went to Nease and played football and Nathan is at PVHS and playing basketball and football there, so you’ve rooted for both. Is that a weird position to be in?
You know what, it was very unique to say the least. It was a rivalry, but in a way it wasn’t because you were just rooting for your son. We knew so many kids that had grown up playing sports at Ponte Vedra then went to Nease, and vice versa, so we were more rooting that they would play well. We were just rooting for the kids. At the time when Noah had graduated, we wanted Nic to win and beat PV for maybe the second time in the history, but just growing up with all of those kids made for a fun rivalry.
That's like being an Auburn and Alabama fan, I think. Correct?
Correct. Yeah, so sometimes the house is divided, no doubt. Noah had graduated from PV but came back and rooted for his brother while he was at Nease, and they all root for Nathan. Now Nic comes back and sits on the PV sideline and cheers for Nathan to be successful. I mean, I don't know of anybody else who has that same connection. But, not to brag, but Nic was a pretty good football player. And his younger brother Nathan is starting to make a name for himself as well. So it's just an interesting, interesting dynamic, but we love both schools, which is probably something you don't hear often.
With Nic playing in college and Nate playing in high school, how did you all deal with the pandemic and its impact on being able to play sports?
Well, Nathan ended up doing home school this year. He's a very good student, so he just said, ‘Dad, I have to focus on doing home school.’ And he was lucky that we did it quick enough to where we've transitioned into FLVS, and then he was able not to miss any games. So, throughout the season, a lot of kids have gotten COVID, quarantined for COVID and missed a week or more, so he was very fortunate that he was home-schooled and he was able to not miss anything. He was the only student that didn't miss any basketball games, so he made the right decision. As for Nic (in his third year at South Alabama), it changed everything for them. You know, he only had one class in person. He had to get COVID tested every single Monday. A very unique situation as far as the college aspect of it.
Given all your involvement, you know, you've been involved basketball, football, baseball, do you have a particular sport that you enjoy the most?
I probably prefer basketball the most. But when you're watching, when you're watching one of your own, and you're watching one of your sons or daughters or your child, they could be running track, they could be playing badminton, they could be doing lacrosse, it doesn't matter. You just go there and support them and encourage them. Sports has taught my family so much, raising four boys, just how to be a teammate, how to lose, how to bounce back and character and persistence.
You still have Nate in school, and you have a younger son, Nehemiah, who is still pretty young, but after they've graduated, do you still see yourself maintaining your involvement in the local sports community?
Absolutely. You know, we're blessed with such great coaches. Todd Fordham over at the Landrum, he's really in it for the right reasons. It's just a really good small community where you know a lot of great people, a lot of great athletes come out of this area, and you just continue to give back and volunteer. Even if you're not coaching, just support them by going to high school games. We used to go to high school games before we even had anybody in high school, just to support the local community. We plan on retiring here, so we might go support them and root for them. And we root for Nease as well. We're blessed in this area to have two schools within five miles apart that are doing it the right way for the right reasons and trying to be competitive and successful at the same time.
The huge rivalry should have an extra element next season as PVHS and Nease will be in the same district. How do you see that going?
It'll be interesting to see to how the whole Nease-PVB rivalry plays out next year. It makes that game even bigger for the coaches. I think the coaches probably at some point will play the game down a little bit, but now with it meaning something as far as districts go. It’s more than bragging rights, more than the trophy of the Bridge. I think this game is going to be a really big event this year.
That almost makes it fun, more fun, but for you, is that going to create more family friction?
Yeah, I don't know. That just all depends. Fortunately, Nic won’t be home, so there won't be any strife in the household because he’ll be focusing on his game. But yeah, it's gonna be interesting. I think it's going to be on TV this year, so that'll be fun. I'll be announcing it.
What do you enjoy most about living in Ponte Vedra?
I think it's just the small-town community with such great amenities. You have the fantastic schools. You’re right by the beach. It seems like the sports side of the community is very close knit. Good former athletes who live here that like to give back, so youth here are getting some really good teaching and coaching and they've always been successful because of it. I think that's one of the reasons we like it so much.
What do you like to do in your free time?
During my free time when I'm not at the ballpark or the gym? I love pickleball and play golf. That’s my two things.
Pickleball seems to be picking up a lot in popularity. Have you noticed that?
Yes. It's so much fun. My aunt got me into it last year during COVID. She sent me a couple rackets in the mail, and I'm like, “What is this?” She said, “You got to go out and play,” and I just fell in love with it. I played a tournament and try to come up and play in Nocatee as much as possible. So, it's been fun.