First-year Booker T. Washington head football coach Kelvin Chatham knows that a stable football program can energize a school, a community and its supporters.
That is exactly what he hopes to bring back as he embarks on his maiden voyage with the Golden Eagles, who were 1-4 last season, which kicks off on Aug. 27 against KIPP Northeast.
“One of the main things I’m looking to do is get the community back involved,” he said. “I want to get them back involved, and bring the excitement back to this area and this historic school, and get everybody excited about having a program and seeing what the program’s doing. We’ve got to get the community back involved with what’s going on.”
Part of that, he said, begins before his players even step foot on the field.
“It’s about being consistent with the kids, showing up and being the same person every day, giving them someone they can see and believe in, and a leader who’s going to stand by them whatever they’re going through on a day-to-day basis outside of football,” he said. “I feel like that will trickle down to the football play. Since I got the job I’ve talked about ‘winning the day.’ That’s winning in the classroom, in the hallways and in the community. If we can win in all three phases of those, then we’ll win some battles on the field.”
Once the Eagles take the field, there are several players to take note of as the season gets under way. Leading the charge for the Golden Eagles will be Jaaden Matthews and Samauri Washington, according to Chatham.
Both players have spent multiple years in the program, he said, and will be the leaders Chatham looks to in order to set the tone for his squad as the 2021 season gets under way.
“Jaaden is a student of the game. He shows up every day, is very reliable – he’s a leader, and the kids look up to him. Samauri just gives you 100 percent of what he has from the time he walks in the building. And he’s here every day,” he said. “They’ve been with the program, and they show up every day. They want what’s best for the team and the community. They want to be here.”
It can be a tough transition when any new head coach takes over a slumping program – the Golden Eagles have not had a winning season since 2011, and have made the UIL playoffs just three times in the last 10 seasons.
But Chatham said fans will see a different product on the field this season than they have in some time.
“They can expect to see a football program that’s organized, ready to go and up tempo, with kids flying around and having fun,” he said.