If you want to catch a glimpse at what Alcovy football coach Chris Edgar values most about his role in the Newton County community, go and check out some photos of him back around Christmas time.
That’s when Edgar, donning a dress, blonde wig and full face of makeup, played the role of Mother Ginger in the Newton County Arts Association’s rendition of The Nutcracker.
But it wasn’t just a bit of creative schtick, nor was it a one-time aberration. From participating in theatrical productions to rallying volunteers in and away from Alcovy High School to participate in Action Ministries’ feeding program for Newton County students, Edgar has carefully tried to carve out a reputation for being more than just a football coach.
“Covington and Newton County is a fantastic place to live,” Edgar said. “And my wife and I are invested in this community. Our kids go to school here, they’re involved in the arts. It’s really just an example I want to set for my students and football players. Part of a successful football program is being in tune with the community. I want my kids to know that life is bigger than just your high school football.”
Edgar’s eight-year-old daughter Blythe, he says, is equal parts young thespian and football fanatic. When he was on the stage during The Nutcracker, Edgar called it “so neat to see her from that angle, dancing and doing what she does.”
“But she’s a football girl,” he added. “Early in the season, you could see her over there banging on the bleachers when a call didn’t go right. God help some young boy who tries to date her. She’ll probably know more about the game than he will.”
Now, Edgar is an in-school suspension proctor. But before that, he spent 17 years in the classroom as a US History teacher, and then a physical education instructor. And for him, being in the classroom afforded him the same opportunities for student impact as being on the field.
“As a teacher, I never wanted the AP kids,” he said. “I wanted the kids that needed maybe a little help and guidance. I’ve been blessed to have that my whole career. I mean, that moment when you see someone learning something for the first time and you’ve been there helping them to achieve that goal, man that’s powerful.”
On the field, Edgar’s presence has been greatly felt. After just one year as the Tigers’ head coach, he helped Alcovy win four games in the 2016 season. That’s three more wins last year than the Tigers had in the 2014 and 2015 seasons combined.
He’s also seen five of his football players sign scholarship letters to play college football next season. But Edgar will be quick to tell you that his chest swells most when he sees his guys becoming well-rounded on and off the field.
“Whether teaching or coaching, it’s all about relationships,” Edgar said. “Just like in sports, you’ve gotta nurture students in the classroom to perform.”
That feeling is almost as good to the coach as when he bites into his favorite dessert, which is plain cheesecake with just a little topping.
“If it’s done right, with a little caramel or berry drizzle,” he said. “If you could choose how to die, bury me in a cheesecake the size of a stadium and force me to eat my way out, and I almost make it. It would be death by cheesecake.”
A guy who tries to stay away from spotlights, Edgar acknowledged it as “an honor” to be recognized for his work in the community.
“It’s very flattering,” he said. “I hope it’s always for the right reasons, about loving these kids, teaching them and getting them prepared to for good things and success on and off the field.”