Entering his 13th season as the Yellow Jackets head coach, Ed Pilcher's expectations for 2003 were quite high for the team. Before the opening kickoff, his focus quickly switched to himself. "Any time you have some kind of setback", says Pilcher, "you appreciate the normalcy of things when you get back to them."
On the first day of class, Pilcher felt sick at school. At 2 p.m. he saw a doctor. By 3:30 he was in the hospital. At 7 he had surgery. An infection had spread from a blister on his toe to his knee in a matter of weeks.
"When you experience health problems, your focus goes from football or your job to getting better.", says Pilcher, "You want to get better so you can do the things you enjoy doing."
Pilcher wears a protective sleeve at practice to keep the swelling down in his knee. Nearly back to 100 percent, his only side affect is from antibiotics. But he realized immediately after returning to practice that he'd have to take it slow.
"I tried to jump out and do my coaching bit. I realized that I have to pick my spots. That's what i've done."
Most importantaly, his players understood the situation and welcomed him back with open arms.
"That makes you feel good when your kids are concerned, the same way you would for them."
That's why his players give all they have for a coach that provides so much in return.
Thomas County Central is back home this Friday night against Tift County.