Justin Crocker showed up at Richland Northeast High School Wednesday with a blue and orange tie to match the school colors. Crocker was on campus one day after he was named the school's new head football coach.
Crocker made his way to the gymnasium for his first team meeting with his new team. Crocker says he will scour the halls to see if other students want to come be a part of his program.
"We're going to try our best every day to create a family culture," Crocker said before Wednesday's meeting.
"A family environment through loving on these kids and making sure they know their coaches love them and support them. We're going to be physical. We're going to run the football and play great defense and try to be great in the kicking game.
"Every day, when they wake up, they're in control of their attitude and effort. And if they worry about what they can control instead of what they can't control and focus on their attitude and effort, and they come to work every day, we'll get better day by day."
Crocker comes to Richland Northeast after one season as the offensive line coach at River Bluff. He's also worked in the same capacity at Ben Lippen and Lexington. He has left all three programs when they were winning and feels that experience, along with his stints in the Upstate have prepared him for his first head coaching job.
"I'd like to think so. Everybody thinks they are," Crocker said.
"I've always tried to take jobs that gave me the opportunity to prepare for a moment like this. I've worked for great head coaches who gave me extra responsibilities and allowed me some leeway in how we did things and some input. Yeah, I think I'm as prepared as I can be before you actually get (a head coaching position).
The last three head coaches Crocker has worked for are Blaire Hardin at River Bluff, Derek White at Ben Lippen and Josh Stepp who was at Lexington and is currently the tight ends coach at Georgia State University for another offensive line coach turned head coach in Shawn Elliott.