Brad Calcote is entering his first season as the head football coach and athletic director at Forrest County AHS. Calcote, the Aggies’ third coach in as many years, spent the last decade as an offensive line coach at his alma mater, Stone County High School. The 34-year-old also called offensive plays late in his tenure with the Tomcats.
Calcote recently sat down with Sports601 for a Q&A as his Aggies prepare for the 2018 season.
Q: Your hiring was announced a little over two months ago. What’s the experience at FCAHS been like between then and now?
A: It’s been awesome, I’ve enjoyed it. The kids are eager and want to win. I’m really tying to get them here. That’s been my focus because numbers were a little down when I got here. We’ve been trying to work them and get them to understand the importance of hard work. People can show up Friday night and get up for a game, but that’s not reliable. We wanna hang our hat on working hard because you can rely on that.
Q: What was your first day on the job like back in May?
A: My first day here, the day I was introduced, I came in and got a super warm welcome. The same kid might’ve shook my hand or patted me on the back four times.
Q: What’s been your message to the team?
A: I feel like we’ve got the tools to win. There are things we need to improve on and get better at. I tell them, ‘If you have the tools, come get sharp, man’. If we can get sharp, we’ll be fine.
Q: How would you say the team has responded?
A: I feel like they’re open to that and have been taking it in. It’s not going to happen overnight. I wanna wake up in the morning and it be awesome. That would be perfect, but that ain’t the case and I don’t expect that from them. As long as they’re working, we ain’t gotta be good at anything. Just come and you fight it. We’ll get better on accident if you just come fight it.
Q: What’s been your first impression of the community here?
A: The people here are awesome. I’m very familiar with Forrest County AHS because I grew up 15 minutes down the road. I’m very familiar with it and have a lot of respect for the program. This place is very special to people. Immediately when I came in, you can tell. Where you’re from, it’s supposed to be important to you, and I like that. Day one, it’s Aggie pride and more Aggie pride. That’s a real thing, man.
Q: You’ve inherited a program with a rich tradition of winning football. So the foundation and expectation of excellence is still alive and well, right?
A: They’re five years removed from a state championship, and that is not far. Some schools are 30 years from it or have never won one. They expect you to win here. That’s huge, believing in what you do. Like Picayune right now, they’re riding a 30-year belief that they’re going to run power and iso, and believe there’s nothing you can do about it. It works for them because they believe in it. It can be done here because it has been done here. That’s just what we want to get back to.
Q: This is your first head coaching opportunity. How long have you been dreaming for this chance?
A: I don’t guess I ever had a plan laid out to be a head coach at this age. It just happened. It’s one of those deals where you show up and do what you’re supposed to do, and this opportunity came along.
Q: Early in your coaching career, you were a student coach at Oak Grove under Nevil Barr. What was that experience like?
A: Just an awesome, awesome guy. He’s humble, down to earth and a great football coach. I was very fortunate to have that opportunity.
Q: What’s the transition been like going from being an assistant coach to a head coach?
A: I really don’t like to ask people to do stuff, and I know now I have to. It’s just about trusting people to do stuff. I got some good coaches, I think. I’m going to let them coach. I know some coaches are micro-managers, but that ain’t me. Somebody let me coach, and I appreciated it and loved it. And I plan to do the same thing. I just want you to be excited and work hard. If you do that, you’ll be fine.
Q: Will you call offensive plays at FCAHS?
A: I will. I wanna run the football and be good on defense. Nothing fancy. I’m not smart enough to have six reads on the same play. I don’t want there to be any guessing or confusion; I just want us to be good at what we do. We wanna run the football but also take advantage. If you got a kid that can go get it, throw him the ball and let him go get it. If you got a kid that can fly, hand him a speed sweep. I did learn as a play caller your best player can’t touch the ball enough.
Q: You’re also the school’s new athletic director. Has that been somewhat of a challenge early on?
A: It’s very new to me. I like to be in the weight room and the back end of the football field by the sled and boards. So having to send emails and make phone calls and do paperwork, it’s all new. I’m trying to stay on it. I don’t have it all figured out. I do love the football part of it and the opportunity to do this. Everybody has their strengths and everybody has their weaknesses. If you know what your weaknesses are, you gotta work at them. So that side of it has been a little stressful this summer. But I’m excited about it because these are both huge opportunities I’m super thankful to have.