BUCHANAN, Va.- – James River head coach Tim Jennings is an example of never giving up. The former Knights assistant applied for the head coach vacancy in 2015, but ultimately the position was given to Jake Phillips.
So when Phillips left after the 2018 season, Jennings tried again, and succeeded.
"This has always been a goal of mine, a dream, really. We can't stand up and tell our guys to pursue your dreams and pursue your goals and give up after your first chance," Jennings said.
He's also ready to push the Knights in the direction of winning. They went 8-3 in 2018 and their final loss was in round one of the playoffs. Jennings said that, in order to get over a few humps, you have to start with the little things.
"It's coach cliche. Every football coach, every basketball coach, every baseball coach talks about doing the little things. We've just had an aggressive mindset about attacking those things," he said.
But the Knights know success comes down to the closeness of the team.
"I think, it's the family aspect of football. He's really trying to mold us together, we've been molded together," senior tight end Kevin Austin said. "I think we will be a family this year, just like last year. I think we're a little stronger, little tighter this year, so I'm excited."
At practice on Wednesday, it was clear the Knights had bought into the family style culture. During a drill that required sprinting up and down the field, at the finish, Jennings said that those who felt as if they had performed 100% should move to the sideline. If they didn't feel like they did, he said they should stay put, and prepare to run again.
At that point, the guys who were on the sideline ran back over to the lineup and decided they were all going to run together, as a family.
"It's family. It was day one. When I got the job and talked to them up in the gym, it's family. We're a family day one," Jennings said. "We're at that point now, hopefully in a couple weeks, it's their team and not ours. We just got to stand on the sideline."