As its first season of varsity athletics comes to a close, Davidson Day School is taking the next step with its athletic program.
Last week, the school named former SouthLake Christian offensive coordinator Chad Grier as its first football coach.
Next year, the school will field its first junior varsity team and first completely in-house middle-school team, coached by Dave Serepca. Davidson Day had a joint middle-school team with the Children's Community School last fall. In 2011, Grier expects to field a varsity football team.
Grier said a combination of the academics at the school and its commitment to football attracted him to the school.
"There's such a tremendous commitment from everybody, from (Head of School) Bonnie (Cotter) to everyone I've met here, that they want to do this thing right," he said. "It's not something that they're taking lightly."
With three sons, Will, 15, Nash, 12, and Hayes, 9, who will attend the school, Grier said that academics was a major consideration in taking the job.
"As a dad, first and foremost, I thought, 'Man, I'd love for my kids to go to school here,'" he said. All three sons play football, and Will and Nash will be eligible to play for the JV and middle-school teams, respectively.
This is Grier's first head coaching job at the high school level. The Charlotte native played quarterback and defensive back at Charlotte Latin under coach Larry McNulty before starting at quarterback his freshman year for the University of Richmond. Grier then transferred to East Carolina, where he finished his college career.
Grier, 42, has been an assistant coach at several schools around the state, including one year as the offensive assistant coach at Latin under McNulty in 2004; he spent the last two years at SouthLake.
The first-year coach calls McNulty one of the most inspirational men he has ever met, and he hopes to bring aspects of his coaching style to Davidson Day. Grier grew up around the sport; his father was a coach at Charlotte Catholic and his mom was a cheerleading coach.
"I've just played for some really great football minds and really great leaders of young people," said Grier.
The team will play in the South Piedmont Athletic Association next year. Grier said the middle school schedule has been finalized, but the junior varsity schedule is not finished. He hopes to play teams from the Charlotte Independent Schools Athletic Association like Charlotte Latin, Providence Day and Charlotte Christian.
Grier said he wants Davidson Day to eventually be on the same level as those other private schools. For now, Grier is just focusing on building a solid program that will continue to grow over the next few years.
"My expectations are that we're going to work hard and play the right way and play football," he said. "My goal is that we use football as a great tool to reach young people and help influence them to be better - ultimately better fathers, better husbands, better leaders, better businessmen - and football is a great, great tool to do that."
Grier also hopes to tap into the Davidson community, which until now did not have a high school football team.
"Davidson didn't have its own high school football team. Well, it does now," he said. "We want the whole town to be excited about what we do. We want the whole town and whole community to feel welcome to come out and be a part of the game."
A busy offseason
Davidson Day has been busy this spring hiring new coaches for fall and winter sports. In March, the school hired former Davidson College guard Jessica Mitchell as the girls' basketball coach and Josh Wagner as the boys' soccer coach.
John Tobias, director of public relations at Davidson Day, said the school is still looking for a volleyball coach and a track and field coach.