After retiring from the Carolina Panthers in 2009, Brad Hoover tried his hand in the business world, briefly co-owning a small company and then trying his hand at selling medical supplies. Neither enterprise was for him.
“I was too honest for corporate America,” he said.
So Hoover, the Panthers’ starting fullback for nine seasons, is returning to the football field, where he is the new coach at Monroe’s Union Academy.
“My passion is the game of football,” said Hoover, who spent his entire career with the Panthers. “I’m going to get a chance to teach the values and skills I learned over my career.
Union Academy is a charter school that plays on the 1A level in the N.C. High School Athletic Association, making the playoffs each of the last four seasons.
“The first thing I need to do is earn my players’ trust,” said Hoover. “Then I’ll start to understand their strengths and weaknesses. But we’ve got to get to know each other first.”
Hoover said he will draw on what he learned from his coaches, including the Panthers’ John Fox, Bill Bleil at Western Carolina and particularly his high school coach, Dickie Cline at Ledford High in Davidson County.
“I’m almost giddy about this, I feel like a child I’m so excited,” said Hoover, 36. “But I don’t want to let the kids down. I know I won’t. There’s so many unknowns for me going into this. But I’ll be prepared for it.”