Tiger Pride is alive and well.
Several former Conway Tigers are planning a June football camp for local youngsters hoping to improve their knowledge about the sport, as well as teach them some important lessons about life.
“I think sports is one of the last places where there’s a definite consequence for your life,” said Everette Sands, who played football for the Tigers before graduating from CHS in the summer of 1989.
Sands went on to play four years of college football at The Citadel, before signing on as a free agent with Baltimore. After leaving that training camp, he embarked on a coaching career that has included stints with the South Carolina Gamecocks as well as N.C. State, Elon and Ohio University. He currently coaches the running backs at the University of Texas in San Antonio.
Sands believes football is the greatest team sport ever, teaching participants the importance of teamwork, cooperation, dedication, discipline and more.
A big advocate of the football camp and admirer of Sands is Conway Mayor Barbara Blain-Bellamy, who successfully encouraged Conway City Council to donate $750 to the camp.
She says organizers are expecting as many as 300 campers, and Sands plans to bring along 15 to 20 of his former fellow coaches and players.
She expects the city’s donation to be used to help offset the cost of travel for the camp’s staff and free lunch for the campers.
Sands has been interested in holding a football camp in Conway for several years, and has finally been able to work out the logistics necessary to bring it to fruition.
The free camp will be held June 24 at the Conway Recreation Center. Registration will be held from 9 a.m.-10 a.m., and the camp will run until 3:30 p.m. or 4 p.m.
Rising third through eighth graders are invited to participate.
“We’ll work on a bunch of fundamentals for all the positions,” Sands said. “We’ll have a little bit of quote unquote competition time. We’ll finish the day off by giving them some positive reinforcements for their every day lives.”
Sands hopes to make the camp an annual event.
“For me, it’s an opportunity to give back,” he said. “I grew up in Conway. I love the community there. I know how important sports are in young people’s lives. Volunteer coaches will be former Conway players and some of the guys who have played for me through the years.”
One of the former Conway players who will work the camp is Schizo Sherman, who played collegiately at East Carolina before playing professionally with the Toronto Argonauts of the Canadian Football League and the Frankfurt (Germany) Galaxy in the NFL Europe League.
The Charlotte, N.C., resident has worked in the banking industry for the past 18 years.
Sherman credits participating in football when he was growing up with developing in him many of the qualities that serve him well in his daily job.
“We’re trying to do something positive for the community,” he said. “We want to give something back. Many of the things I learned as a player about being able to work together with different people and different cultures and being coached by different people has carried on to where I am now as far as being a leader, coach and trainer in my position with the bank.
“Sports is one heartbeat when it comes to putting people on the same page and being successful in any team setting. It helped guide me in a lot of ways.”
The camp is open to kids from all across Horry County.
Participants will be able to register online beginning several weeks before the camp.
Conway High School football coach Chuck Jordan is delighted that some of his former players want to do something positive for today’s kids.
“When I have people I know and trust working with kids and guiding them with what they teach, I’m all for it,” Jordan said.
More details about the camp will be released later.