Pinecrest Names Metzger Football Coach
Fresh off of a successful four-year tenure of rebuilding a high school football program in Florida, Chris Metzger is eager to begin doing the same as the new head football coach at Pinecrest.
Metzger flew into the area Saturday morning. There were happy faces all around as he prepared to meet with Principal Joel County, Athletic Director John Buchholz and a number of other Pinecrest coaches and staff members at the school.
In four years at Lely High School in Naples, the 36-year-old native of Louisville, Ky., turned around a team that was 1-19 in the two years before his arrival, to make the state playoffs three times while compiling a record of 29-20.
Metzger, subject to school board approval at its Monday night meeting, will be taking over a program that garnered statewide attention last year when the Southern Pines school considered canceling its varsity season because of low numbers and inexperienced players. He will replace Larry Adams, who went 1-20 over the last two years. Adams was relieved of his duties as football coach in December.
Metzger found out about the opening from a coaching colleague he knows from the five years he has been attending a conference of high school, college and NFL coaches that is held at Black Mountain. He was told that this was one of the top areas to raise a family
He made his first visit to Pinecrest several weeks ago.
"What I know about the situation," he said, "is it's a chance to come in with a lot of energy and just boost the morale of the kids. And continue to make a difference like Coach Apple (Mike) and Coach Hewitt (Jeff) make a difference -- be a part of a community that wants its kids to get a great education.
"We came down and checked it out and felt that this is what the plan should be -- what was best for my wife and kids. We felt it was an unbelievable opportunity."
Metzger and his wife, Laura, have three children: Lexy, 7, Austin, 5, and Jadyn, 2.
Metzger has done some research and sees a similarity in the caliber of competition his teams faced in Florida and that Pinecrest faces in the Mid-Southeastern Conference.
During his four years at Lely, 57 of his athletes have gone on to play football in college, including the 25 that committed on the recent national signing day.
Helping provide that opportunity is a big part of his vision for the athletes he coaches.
"I want the young men to be proud to put on that jersey," he said. "I want them to walk away after their senior year still chomping at the bit to play football -- it doesn't matter whether it's Division I or Division III.
"I think you can bank on it for kids in this area, that if a kid has good character and works hard -- has the grades and a test score -- there are schools out there for him."
Metzger is a believer in the benefits of an athlete being involved in two or three sports, and has seen studies indicating that the more involved students get better grades.
County indicated that approximately 75 candidates expressed an interest in the job at the 4-A school that is the 25th largest in the state in terms of enrollment with more than 2,000 students. He said Metzger was a "good fit" for the school.
"The process has been very precise and deliberate," he said, "and it's been focused on doing what is best for our students and building the pride in our athletic program and all of our activities that our students and community deserve."
With the selection process completed, there are still many details involved concerning moving the new coach and his family to Moore County, and assembling a coaching staff. County said an effort is being made to get the coach on campus as soon as possible.
"This brings to completion one part of the process," County said, "but the exciting part is it's only the beginning. We got our top choice and we got a man suited for a good fit. He brings skills to the table and already has plans put together -- what to attack first and how.
"It's a complete vision and I don't know how long its been since we've had that."
County said arrangements are being made for Metzger to meet with students, parents, faculty and community members about his vision for rebuilding the football program at Pinecrest.
Metzger has served as assistant football coach, head football coach, assistant track coach, head track coach, head wrestling coach and strength coordinator during his career that began in 1992 at Pleasure Ridge High School in Louisville, Ky. He has taught social studies, as well as exceptional education and physical education.
A native of Louisville, he is a 1992 graduate of Kentucky Wesleyan College where he earned a bachelor's degree in communications. He was a three-year letter winner at wide receiver at the school. He earned a master's in teaching and social studies from the University of Louisville.
One of the plusses of the move for the new coach is that it will bring his family within driving distance of relatives in Kentucky.
"I'm excited to get here and hit the ground running," he said, "and build some excitement."
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