Whitley County Colonel County had its first opportunity to size up new Head Football Coach Jep Irwin Friday night during a meet-and-greet at the high school.
Irwin is very familiar with high school football in the area, having previously coached South Laurel, before moving to Alabama and then Georgia. He has spent the last nine seasons as the head coach at Lassiter High School in Marietta, Georgia.
Irwin told the crowd of approximately 200 people, including numerous football players and parents, that his goals are to develop well-disciplined and dedicated young men, explaining that those skills are essential to building a winning football team.
Irwin emphasized that instilling those traits will benefit the community as the players carry them into their daily lives and become products members of the community after football.
“I can’t do it alone. I need your continued support,” Irwin said.
Irwin opened the floor for questions, emphasizing that it included anything football related.
“When asked about the style of football, Irwin said he would let the makeup of the team dictate that from year to year dictate whether to feature more running or passing.
“I am not married to any one style,” Irwin said.
“Year in and year out, you have to be able to run the ball and stop the run to be successful,” he added.
Irwin said he met with his players for the first time Friday morning, explaining his goals and expectations for the upcoming season.
“There were at least 50 players, including freshmen,” Irwin said when asked about roster numbers.
“I would like to see that get to between 75 and 80 at all levels,” he said adding that he would welcome any players that are ready and willing to come out and put in the necessary time, effort work on and off the field.
Though Whitley County has been on the losing end every year since the annual game with Corbin was added back to the schedule.
Irwin said he would like to continue the agreement.
“They are our competition,” Irwin said of the Redhounds who defeated the Colonels, 36-7 in 2018.
Irwin said one of his proudest moments in coaching occurred in 2004, when he took his South Laurel Cardinals team to Campbell Field in Corbin and defeated the Redhounds on their home field.
“We are going to work very hard,” Irwin said. “There is not reason we shouldn’t compete.”
For additional coverage see Wednesday edition of The News Journal.