0

Humphrey ready to make a difference as new A.D. at Southland

Photo by Danny Aller

Photo by Danny Aller

AMERICUS -- Walk into Clint Humphrey's office, and in just a couple of glances you can see what's important to him.

On his desk is a Bible opened to the book of Proverbs. Off to the side of his desk is a photo of his children. And on his wall is memorabilia from his favorite college, Florida State, including a collage of one of Humphrey's biggest inspirations, former FSU head football coach Bobby Bowden. There were also a pair of football helmets on his bookshelf, one of the Seminoles and one from his new home at Southland Academy.

Faith. Family. Southland -- those are the new priorities in Humphrey's life as the Raiders' new assistant headmaster and athletic director.

"This is a good opportunity for our family to come and make a change," said Humphrey, 39. "I feel like God opened this door for us, and we're excited to be here."

Humphrey has experience in coaching, administration and ministry. He has coached at Deerfield, Sherwood -- where he was the head football coach for one year almost a decade ago -- and Westfield before becoming principal at Westfield for 3 1/2 years. He most recently served as administrative pastor at Cross Point Baptist Church in Perry the last four years.

"We were just praying what would be the best situation for our family," Humphrey said. "I know there's an opportunity for ministry here as well."

Humphrey then added: "We're still affecting the lives of children. I want to be a good steward of the gifts God's given me and use them here at Southland -- and not just the church anymore."

Humphrey attended John Milledge in high school, and all his experience is in the GISA. And it was that experience -- as well as his overall character -- that made Southland headmaster Billy Stubbs feel like Humphrey was the best man for the job.

"I've known him for quite some time when he was at other schools in the GISA," said Stubbs, who enters his fourth year as the headmaster. "That's one reason I felt like he would be a real asset to our school. He is a good role model, and his character and reputation is the type of person we want. We want someone to do a good job in a particular area, but we're really concerned with his character and him as a role model that he would portray to the community."

Humphrey is joined by Rick Scruggs as the newest members of Southland's athletic department. Scruggs was hired to coach the boys basketball team last month.

Humphrey said God opened the door for his family to come to Americus, which seemed like the perfect fit for more reasons than one.

"My parents are in Milledgeville, and my dad is not in best of health," he said. "It's funny -- when we were praying, we said, 'God we will do what you want, but we'd love to be closer to either set of parents.' Americus is exactly 2 1/2 hours from Tallahassee (which is my wife's parents' home) and 2 1/2 hours from Milledgeville."

Humphrey said he already knew some of SA's coaches, including Mike Smith, Rob Ivey and Bobo Short, who has been the A.D. Humphrey will be Stubbs' first assistant and the first full-time A.D. in several years, but unlike previous Southland athletic directors, he won't coach any sport.

"I think having an A.D. that's not a head coach of a sport will help the community show all sports are as equally important," Humphrey said. "We want all sports and students to be supported and encouraged."

Humphrey hopes he can be as effective in his work in Americus as his hero Bowden was during his tenure at Florida State that helped turn Bowden -- who won two national titles as coach of the Seminoles -- into a living legend.

"His Christian character -- he's a guy that was very honest and straightforward," Humphrey said of what he admires most about Bowden. "He wanted to make a difference with his players, regardless of the background they came from. He wanted to teach them more than football. He wanted to teach them how to be a man and know that their relationship in Christ is what's going to take them to whatever they do in life and not just football. That's how I'm trying to raise our own family.

"I told the school board when I met them that -- first and foremost -- my loyalty will be my relationship with the Lord. If that's not first, I'm not going to be a good husband, I'm not going to be a good father, and I'm not going to be a good employee for you at the school. That's how it's going to be for me."

The last state championship appearances for Southland, in any sport, came in the 2006-07 school year when the football team lost to Tattnall Square and the boys basketball team lost to North Cobb Christian.

Humphrey thinks more appearances are on the horizon for his programs and he is excited about the future of Southland athletics.

"I'm pleased with the attitude of the coaching staff, and I think they're going to work hard and hold the kids accountable," he said. "Wins and losses, that's not what's most important. If you have character and hold kids accountable and show them you love them and are investing in them, I think the wins will happen."