ORDER THE PRINT VERSION AT
SHELBY (N.C.) HIGH SCHOOL
THE FRIDAY MORNING PRIOR TO THE SHELBY Golden Lions’ second-round playoff game wasn’t spent making last-minute adjustments to the game plan. Instead, coach Lance Ware dedicated the time
to enhance his program’s off-the-field efforts.
That November morning the Golden Lions donned their
jerseys and headed over to a local middle school to greet
arriving students. The players opened car doors for fourth-graders, kids who very may well be the future of Shelby
football. Smiles were everywhere, Ware recalls.
“It’s important for our guys that they know that they have a
A father of three, Ware’s practices are about more than foot-
significant role in other people’s lives,” the coach noted. “They
have to see that it’s about more than just wins and losses.”
Wins haven’t been a problem for Ware, who spent 14 sea-
sons as an assistant at Shelby before being promoted to head
coach in 2011. The Golden Lions won their second straight
state championship last season. He’s proven he knows how to
turn players into champions. But Ware strives for more.
ball. Sons and daughters of the coaching staff often attend. The
Golden Lions’ success proves the extra attendees are anything
but a distraction. They’re actually part of Ware’s master plan.
“As a coaching staff, we bring our kids around our team
as much as we can. We’re talking seven, eight, nine kids at a
practice.” Ware said. “It’s important for our kids to be around
them and to see how we interact as fathers. Hopefully, they’ll
all be husbands and fathers some day.”
The late Larry Ware inspired his son’s vision of a family
atmosphere for his program.
“He was very influential in shaping me as a man and as a
coach,” Lance Ware said of his father, who passed away in
2009. “He taught me to treat people with respect, no matter
their background. He approached life with a lot of humor and
always had fun. That’s kind of the way I am too. I don’t get
too stressed out about this whole thing. It’s more about the
relationships with the kids and the adults. You work too hard
and put in too many hours not to have fun doing it. There’s
not a day that goes by that I get up and go to work that I’m
not excited about doing it.”
So does he ever have a bad day?
“Very rarely. Very rarely,” Ware added.
YORK (S.C.) HIGH SCHOOL
BOBBY CARROLL’S CELLPHONE RANG IN THE fourth quarter. It was his wife. She was not happy. At the time, Carroll was coaching top-ranked South Pointe High School, a program he built from
scratch into a perennial powerhouse. South Pointe was drill-
ing York High School 56-7, when the call from his wife came.
York was quarterbacked by sophomore Spencer Carroll,
Bobby’s son. He was getting pummeled by his father’s South
Pointe defense that featured an unstoppable defender by the
name of Jadeveon Clowney. Spencer’s mom was not pleased.
“I finally answered the phone in the fourth quarter,” Bobby
Carroll recalled with a laugh. “She says, ‘Listen, man. You
all stop it or you need to find yourself another place to live.’
When we got to 56, we stopped.”
Carroll claims his dominant defense started out taking it
easy on his son and the overmatched Cougars. But Spencer
opened up by throwing an 80-yard touchdown pass and had
a few tricks for Carroll’s defense. Bad move.
“It’s fun to tell the story now, but at the time, it was a little
“We spun it around pretty quickly,” Carroll said.
scary,” Carroll said. “That’s kind of when I knew that I’d done
all that I can do at South Pointe.”
After developing South Pointe into a power in the
program’s first six years, Carroll decided to return to his
hometown and coach York. He’s quickly turned around the
Cougars’ fortunes. York reached the state championship
game last season and is 42-13 over the last four years.
The key, according to Carroll, is patience. In building South
Pointe as a first-time head coach, he admits he may have
rushed things a little bit.
“I wanted them to be able to power clean 250 the second
day we lifted weights,” Carroll said. “I wanted them to run a 4. 4
the second time we timed them in the 40 [yard dash]. I can
remember at South Pointe telling the guys that we were timing
them running in the 40 and it was actually 38 yards. Psychologi-
cally, they thought they were faster than they really were.”
He’s tried to be more patient at York, while also eliminating
“Sometimes coaches don’t have thick enough skin and are
sensitive to what people say and do,” Carroll explained. “I’ve
learned not to sweat the small things, and I used to. I used to
worry about the weather, but the longer I’ve been in this the
more I’ve learned not to worry about those things.”
Lance Ware has turned his players into champions in
Bobby Carroll turned around the York football program in only four years.
BY DAVID PURDUM