School: Northwoods Park Middle in Jacksonville
Sports coached: Boys soccer, basketball and track
- Graduated from Lejeune High in 1989
- Teaches Health and P.E.
- Also serves as assistant athletic director
Q: What was it like playing soccer for Coach Francisco Blanco at LHS?
A: He is just a great mentor, a kind-hearted man. He knew the game so well and taught us all how to play the game the right way. He was always a guy you could go to with anything.
Q: Would you say that your teachers at Lejeune were more than teachers?
A: Yes. They were always looking out for your best interest. I don’t think I had a single teacher at the high school who I thought was there just to collect; I thought they were there to invest in all of us … They understood what being a military dependent is like, and it definitely paid off.
Q: What’s something you try to teach your students and players?
A: I want my players and my students to know that being a good person is going to benefit them more in their life than just being a good athlete or being a good student. To always do the right thing is the biggest thing that we teach in our P.E. department. It’s all integrity. We want the kids to do what they’re supposed to do when nobody else is looking.
Q: Who are a couple of the standout athletes you’ve coached?
A: Cjay Sparks, a Jacksonville graduate who played soccer at N.C. State, and Tymir Brown, a current Jacksonville High School football player.
Q: Are there any up-and-coming athletes you expect big things from?
A: Amaree Barber, an eighth grade basketball player who will be a freshman at Jacksonville. He played in the FAB 40 Showcase with Derrick Benbow Jr. from Brewster Middle and was the third leading scorer … He is just an unbelievable court leader. His vision is great. If he saw something in a game he would come say, ‘Hey, Coach, they are giving me this. Can I take it?’ So he wants the coach’s input, and I think that says a lot.
Q: How did being a military child help you?
A: It taught us to be adaptable to different situations. It’s discipline. We were taught discipline coming up, at school and everywhere. It just taught us to be able to adapt to different situations.
Q: What’s your favorite sports team?
A: Maryland Terrapins.