Coach Metzger was hired on as the head football coach of Pinecrest prior to the start of the 2007 school year. When he accepted the position, he was well aware of the situation he was getting himself into.
During a six-year span before Coach Metzger's arrival, Pineville won only eight games and had not win a single conference game since 2002. The program was on the brink of extinction as school administrators almost cancelled the varsity program after the 2006 season. Coach Metzger, at the time a 15 year high school coaching veteran, jumped at the opportunity to rebuild a fading program.
Once on campus, it was apparent that Coach Metzger was not going to let the students, faculty or community dwell in the past. His theme for the first year was "Rip Off the Rear View Mirror." By this, Metzger wanted everyone to forget about the past and start focusing on today. Coach Metzger's impact was immediate. In 2006, there were 60 student-athletes in the entire football program. However, during Coach Metzger's first season, Pinecrest had over 200 students come out for football.
"More amazing than that," said Coach Metzger, "when my staff and I arrived at Pinecrest, over 50% of the student-athletes interested in joining the football program were academically ineligible. As of today we have over 50% of our program of 200 student-athletes with a 3.0 GPA or above!"
Assistant Principal Keith Davies said, "When Chris [Metzger] took over the program, it was dead; period. We had a total of 60 students in the program for all of our teams. We could not even field a varsity team without the risk of having our kids injured due to lack of participation. What a change he has made!"
Along with being a football mentor, Coach Metzger also places a huge emphasis on academics and community service. Not only do his players have on field goals, but they are also given personal goals. "We want to be ready to achieve all of our goals," said Metzger. "We expect all of our players to work hard in the classroom, in the community, and on the field. We want to get better every single week." Coach Metzger and his players take part in regular community service activities including Friday reading days at local elementary schools, helping with the upkeep of local youth sports facilities, and volunteering in multiple civic projects that benefit the town of Pinehurst.
Coach Metzger says, "My coaching philosophy is to utilize football as a vehicle for helping student-athletes become accountable, responsible, first class citizens. We focus on the total person with a huge emphasis on respecting others and giving back to the community. We are committed to young student athletes becoming champions in the game of life."
"Coach Metzger oozes with enthusiasm, good moral character and a positive attitude that is genuine and sincere," said Principal Joel County. "Since the day he stepped on campus in March of 2006, his personality has been catching on to everyone: coaches, faculty, students, parents, and the community as a whole. As a school, attendance and grades are up, and discipline problems are down."
This new philosophy, along with Coach Metzger's upbeat attitude, is also apparent on the football field. The varsity team went 3-8 in his first season, which may be subpar for most teams, but for Pinecrest, it was a great start. Building off of last season, Coach Metzger and his Pinecrest Patriots have started the 2008 season 3-0 and are definitely not looking into the rear view mirror.
Coach Chris Metzger is a native of Louisville, Kentucky. He attended Kentucky Wesleyan College where he played wide receiver. After graduating, he began his coaching career and for the past 17 years has brought his inspiring coaching philosophies to high schools across the county. He has coached in Kentucky, Maryland, Florida, and has finally found a home here in North Carolina with is wife Laura and three children: Lexy, Austin and Jadyn. When it comes to coaching, Metzger says, "I do not look at it as a job, as I do not feel I have worked a day in my life because of how much I enjoy what I do."
In addition to receiving this award, Coach Metzger and the Pinecrest High School athletic department will receive a $1000 donation from the Carolina Panthers and the National Football League. The Carolina Panthers would like to congratulate Chris Metzger and the Pinecrest Patriots and wish them continued success.