Lake Norman & Mooresville

Father-son duo lead 1st-year Patriot football

Davidson Day football coach Chad Grier knows family is important. That's why he wants to build a football program with that in mind.

It also happens that Grier's oldest son, Will, plays a large role in the first-year Patriots' JV program as its starting quarterback.

Grier said he enjoys having Will, a 6-foot-3, 180-pound freshman, around.

"On the field, I look at him as a player," he said. "But at the end of the day, I look back and I say, 'That's my son,' and I'm really proud of his leadership and the way he plays."

Although Grier said it's not hard for him to separate himself from his son on the field, he admits that this isn't always the case.

"We've been close since the day he was born," said Grier. "I hug him and kiss him when I see him and show my love, but sometimes when practice is over I forget where we are and sometime that probably embarrasses him. He indulges me and let's me be dad for a second."

Grier said that he holds Will to a higher standard than the rest of his players. And that doesn't stop when the Griers head home after practice or a game.

"I probably ride him harder than anybody," said Grier.

Will, who calls his dad "coach" on the field, said the extra pressure doesn't bother him, explaining that it actually has helped him become a better player.

"He's a great coach and knows what he's talking about," the 15-year-old said. "Having your coach at home to help you go through coverages and stuff is awesome."

Going into Friday's game at Westminster Catawba, Will had thrown for 767 yards, 12 touchdowns and only one interception.

Will has led the young Davidson Day team to a surprising 4-0 start in their first season.

Grier said he's proud of his Patriots, who have defeated the JV programs at football schools with strong traditions like Rock Hill South Pointe in South Carolina.

"It's exceeded all expectations," he said. "They've done everything we've asked of them on and off the field."

Will said he hopes to follow in his dad's footsteps and play collegiately. Grier played at the University of Richmond and East Carolina.

Grier said he's in awe of how much his son has grown in the past year or so.

"I used to give him a hard time and tell him that I was faster than he is or stronger that he is or that I could throw the ball farther, but I don't think I can keep up with him any more," he said.

Grier's younger sons, Hayes, a fourth-grader, and Nash, a sixth-grader, also attend Davidson Day.

Nash is the starting quarterback for the Patriots' middle school squad. Chad hopes to get the chance to coach all three of his sons.

"It'll be more special when it's over," he said. "It really is cool to see your kids grow every day and see them develop as players and as a person."