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