New Marvin Ridge head football coach Brad Hoover has never been one to back down from a challenge.After an all-state senior season at Ledford High in 1995, where he led North Carolina rushers with 2,662 yards and 34 touchdowns, he wasn’t heavily recruited by colleges. He signed with Western Carolina University.After working his way up the ladder at Western Carolina and rushing for 3,616 yards (second in school history) and 28 touchdowns in his career, he was overlooked in the 2000 NFL Draft. He then signed a free agent contract with the Carolina Panthers.Hoover proved himself in the NFL with a strong 10-year run with the Panthers, where he was starting fullback for most of his career.Last year, Hoover took on another challenge as he began his head coaching career at Union Academy, where he tied the Cardinal’s best season in school history by going 6-6 overall and leading the school to its second playoff win.Hoover then accepted the next challenge in his coaching career by taking the Marvin Ridge football head coaching job in January.“I’d be lying if I said I didn’t get a lot of motivation from proving people wrong as a player – and now I’m doing the same thing as a coach,” Hoover said. “I learned a lot about myself as a coach last year, about how I can relate my experiences as a player to the my team. I made some good decisions and some bad decisions, but the key is that you learn from those mistakes. As a coach, I try to improve every day just like I did as a player.”Hoover has put together a strong coaching staff around him, adding former Sun Valley assistant and Western Carolina teammate Andy Rodden as his offensive coordinator, and retaining Marvin Ridge assistant Mike Nahum as his defensive coordinator. Former NFL players Damione Lewis and Ted Washington will also make the move with Hoover from Union Academy to Marvin Ridge to help guide the Mavericks’ defensive line.Hoover believes he and his coaching staff will help re-energize a team that struggled last season, going 2-9 after winning 41 games from 2008-2012.“I am constantly preaching attitude and effort to our kids,” Hoover said. “I want our guys to go 100 percent all of the time and have the proper attitude while doing that. If we can do that, I think the wins will come.”“Brad is exactly as he seems to be: A very down-to-earth, low-key guy who is all about the team,” said former Marvin Ridge athletic director Kevin Allran, who hired Hoover before moving to Central Academy. “He assimilated into the team and the coaching staff right away. At the same time, he has also done a great job of putting his stamp on the team from Day One.”Hoover will employ a modified spread offense that will feature multiple formations.The Mavericks have a three-way competition at quarterback between Austin Colonna, Kevin Dobos and Jackson Hyman.Whoever emerges as the starting quarterback will be trying to get the ball to senior tailback Devin Adkins, 6-foot-5 sophomore wide receiver Emeka Emezie and senior tight end Hunter Colonna.Hoover’s offensive line includes senior left tackle Josh Snapper and sophomore right tackle Dmitri Emmanuel. On defense, the Mavericks’ base formation will be a 4-2-5 “nickel,” look, which will allow them to move people around.Junior defensive end John Wells (14.5 sacks last year) will be the leader up front; Adkins and senior safety Turner Schwartz are expected to lead the secondary.Hoover is excited about getting the season started.“In the coaching world, this is a big step up,” Hoover said. “As far as I’m concerned, no matter what happened, the past is the past. I’m only looking forward to what we do in the present moment. My expectations are always going to be high and we will strive to meet them.”Hoover knows it won’t be easy with a nonconference schedule that includes Ardrey Kell, Davidson Day and Victory Christian before the Southern Carolina Conference slate, where county rivals Cuthbertson, Piedmont, Sun Valley and Weddington loom. “What defines a player, a coach and a team is giving maximum effort on every play,” Hoover said. “I always believed in hard work and dedication, and playing with a chip on your shoulder. That’s the way I played, and ultimately that’s the way I want my teams to play.”
Tuesday, Aug. 05, 2014
Brad Hoover looks to prove himself again at Marvin Ridge
Jay Edwards is a freelance writer. Have a story idea for Jay? Email him at email@example.com.
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