Andrew Webb: Coaching, Teaching, Learning, and Improving

One of the new sayings that goes around is “you don’t ever lose, you either win or you learn.”

Andrew Webb, who is an assistant football coach/offensive coordinator at Saluda High School in Saluda, SC has sure had his fair share of learning the past year.

Webb is a lifelong native of Clinton, SC. He played high school football there at the football powerhouse and graduated from there. He then went and received degrees from nearby Presbyterian College and Georgia Southern. He has been in coaching for 16 years now, 15 of those at Clinton. He became the head coach in 2015.

On December 6, 2018, Webb was relieved of his duties as head coach after compiling a 14-28 record. His Clinton coaching career includes being on the 2009 staff that won the 3A state championship.

Fast forward to December 6, 2019. Webb is now the offensive coordinator for Saluda High and helped them win their first state title in 56 years. That’s quite a turnaround.

Here’s how Coach Webb went from the “lowest of the low to the highest of the high”.

First, he didn’t have much time to “lick his wounds”. He had a family and a coaching career to continue, so he had to get up and keep moving forward. Webb definitely had a chip on his shoulder following the termination. Although job offers came his way, he decided to answer the call from Coach Stewart Young at Saluda. They have long ties, dating back to playing against each other in high school to being teammates at Presbyterian. He chose to work and coach in a place where the program was ran the proper way, he felt comfortable, and he trusted the head coach he was going to be under. He knew the opportunity would help him to learn more and grow as a coach.

Webb saw from Spring practice drills that the team mirrored his journey: also having a chip on their collective shoulders. Saluda High was a hungry, talented team that had accomplished all they could except defeating the top two teams in Class 2A: Abbeville and Southside Christian. This was the goal going in 2019: to get over that hump and win it all.

The team did the right things in the offseason and throughout the regular season and things gradually fell into place. They finished the regular season with a 7-3 mark, two of those losses came to Abbeville and Southside Christian. Turnovers and mistakes cost them in both games.

Then the playoffs came and they were even more motivated. The team was filled with talent, including Mr. Football finalist Noah Bell. Bell and his teammates executed Webb’s ‘Air Raid’ offense well all season but only one player was invited to any of the postseason All-Star games (Shrine Bowl, North-South) and it was Dallan Wright. Saluda felt even more underrated and motivated.

They took out their frustration in the finest fashion: on the field. It was like a movie. They had to go on the road and play both Southside Christian and then powerful Abbeville with the state’s longest active winning streak. Saluda finished the job and beat both teams as an underdog.

They then went to the state championship even more motivated and had the community and town backing them. According to Webb, everyone that had Saluda blood in them was present those final three weeks of the season as they fought their biggest opponents and took home the ultimate prize against Barnwell. It doesn’t get much better than this.

Noah Bell showed his prowess those final three weeks of the season. He completed 72/92 passes for 1,008 yards and 9 touchdowns. Bell also rushed for 246 years and 6 touchdowns. This was a total of 1,254 yards and 15 TDs from one player!

Andrew Webb got verification that he could still coach a team to success. He also learned and improved along the way, as a coach and as a man. He says the biggest lesson he learned is what coaching should be: teaching young kids the game of football and how to be good people on and off the field.

Webb is feeling really blessed and grateful right now. He is having fun again doing what he loves as a coach and a government/economics teacher. He adds that nothing is greater than happiness and fun when coaching. He is open to pursuing another head coaching in the future but it would have to be the right place and right time. Webb is not concerned with chasing a job title.

Readers, as we end the year and decade, this is a good story for those making your resolutions and goals and the results it can yield. Coach Andrew Webb definitely had a roller coaster year but he did not give up. He simply “licked his wounds, got up and kept moving.” Now he is happier in his career, a success, and most importantly is having fun again.

It’s also important to note he learned to go with someone he trusted and to remain in a good situation. The power of connections is real. Well done Coach Webb and Saluda! I doubt anyone will overlook you or your team again!

#imjustdrew #fromdarktosunshine #scaredeyes

2019 Holiday Letter

2019 was good in many ways but of course wasn’t without its setbacks.

Things went really went career wise. In my fourth year with Amazon, I felt I got the respect and praise I was deserved. I received a promotion as a Learning PIT/TDR trainer and moved to a new facility, new city, new shift. It’s been quite a lifestyle change, an overall positive one.

My health is getting better but I have to become more consistent. I had some setbacks that stood in the way. My current schedule is set up to break these barriers down in 2020.

I witnessed several births and made more friends and connections. The strongest ones were through my coffee shop family at Wisefire and Con Cafe. Thomas Dover and Shane Trotter have been God sends for me. They have provided a quality product and even better company.

That said, it was also a year of betrayal. I had to fall back from some long time friends that weren’t as close or as honest as I thought. Just like with death, it hurts but one must keep moving.

I also saw 3 people close to me get married also, my oldest and best friend Bill got remarried, and two of my cousins, Laura and Tony. I wish them all of the best.

Death always hits me hard and often in quantities. I lost my cousin Darryl, my former stepdad Tommy, good family friends in Shine Camp, Nita (Needer) Westmoreland, Clint Fort, Nate Moore, Cindy Walker, Johnboy Walker, and David Hullet, my coworkers Mr. James King and Kris McKane, my high school teammate Mark Striewing, and my aunt Nellie Batchler.

There were many milestones and not just my career advancement. My aunt Aileen turned 80 and we had a great celebration for her in lieu of the family reunion, which I have decided to step away from, my uncle Darnell turned 60 and he allowed us to let him celebrate. Several of my friends and family reached the 4-0 age.

I also learned how to coupon and did pretty well. I plan on doing it more and achieving those huge hauls you see on the Internet and YouTube.

One of the biggest milestones was my mother. She is still ailing and struggling in some ways. However she is getting the help, medically and financially, that she needs. Plus she made the trip with me to Anderson twice to see her brother. That was very touching to me.

I see a lot of promise as we enter a New Year and decade. I see a lot of increase and more promotion in my life.

Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and overall Happy Holidays to all!!!

#imjustdrew #fromdarktosunshine #scaredeyes

Bullying story: the locker room

It all goes down in the locker room of any sports team: the trash talk, the teasing, unity, pregame talks, film sessions and even comfort.

Toby kept getting harrassed, not by the teammates as a whole but a rogue, jealous one named Gabe. No one really liked Gabe: he was hood, ignorant and simply jealous and a distraction. He would be banned from the game if times were different.

Well Toby got tired of the harrassment one day and asked Gabe to leave him alone. Gabe shoved Toby and in return, Toby kicked dirt onto Gabe. Gabe took a giant lop of dirt while Toby ran and shoved it into his head. By this time, the entire team was on the practice field, waiting on the coaches to arrive. Toby turned fire red. One of the teammates saw it and took his helmet. Toby then charged after Gabe, trying to get him with a rock. This when on for five minutes when Gabe pulled his helmet off and was about to hit him when the coaches finally came. We now know from the Myles Garrett mishap that this is not allowed at all. The teammate was smart to take Toby’s helmet. By this time, practice had started and Toby was still infuriated.

What followed was perhaps the best practice Toby had in his entire career. Not know for being athletic or even very aggressive, no one was safe with Toby. He was blocking, tackling, hitting. His aggression was out in proper fashion.

Afterwards, when Toby was getting dressed to leave, one of the team leaders didn’t think Gabe’s actions were cool. That’s when Toby broke down and literally didn’t stop crying until sometime that night. This leader was Austin. Austin did not think it was cool at all and even embraced and comforted Toby for about 10 minutes.

Toby approached that week and game with a lot more ferver. The coaches apparently knew what had happened but didn’t openly punish the players. The other teammates had and knew it wasn’t right though. Toby never knew but he was pretty sure Austin stood up and said enough is enough. The entire pregame speech was about Toby and his relentless efforts as a player and a student. Toby could not remember an entire speech being dedicated to one player but it was. Toby actually got to play an entire series late in the game and was voted Player of the Week.

Austin stood up for a lot of people and loved the underdog so much he wasn’t going to tolerate any foul behavior. Toby played another season and from that point on, no one ever teased or bullied him again. Gabe was also kicked off the team for academic reasons.

We could not only use more Tobys but more Austins also. Those young leaders that will protect the sanity of the locker room and not allow any player to feel unsafe or unwanted. If you’re an Austin in your locker room, I salute you. That man Toby is now salutes you and you will always be remembered.

#imjustdrew #fromdarktosunshine #scaredeyes