Eagle alumni under Hurst
Class of 2009
Justin Wray (Transferred to Fort Valley) Will finish his eligibility this fall.)
*Kevin Agudo - Signed with Furman. Now serving in the Army
Carl Williams - Signed with Georgia State. Now running his own trucking company.
Class of 2010
Taylor Head - Signed with Lindsey Wilson College - Transferred to Fort Valley. On track to graduate this fall.
Jerome Ivey - Walked on at Lane College. Has lettered in 3 sports (Football, basketball and baseball)
Paul Hadaway - Started school at Georgia Southern, has transferred to Birmingham Southern and will be expected to start this fall
Chase Chancey - Signed with Pointe University has transferred to West Georgia
Bryant Johnson - Not playing football at Stanford University, but
Cameron Boyd - Signed with Berry
Cody Costley - Signed with Birmingham Southern
Colton Smith - Signed with Maryville College
James Russell - Junior College in Texas. I cannot remember the name.
Arthur Holmes - Rhinehardt University
When you walk through the doors of Eastside’s fieldhouse and look to the left you’ll see the Eagles’ wall of fame peppered with names and photos of football players like Justin Wray, Broderick Alexander, Anderico Bailey, Antarious Terrell, James Johnson, Kevin Agudo, Sheldon Rankins, Taylor Head and more.
Wall of fame
All of the players on that wall have made a major impact on the team during their respective stints at Eastside. Many of them have come back to Eastside to visit, watch games, talk to current players and participate in drills.
“That’s been a huge factor for us because it lets our kids see these guys are going on to play and then come back,” Rick Hurst, Eastside head football coach, said. “Not just make them better players, but make them better human beings. Make them better fathers, make them better husbands, make them better employees, and I think once you can do that your job as a coach is done.”
“It’s not just so much going on and playing college football. I think the things that you learn here or in any sports program, I think the things that you’ve learned you can apply them to whatever you do,” Hurst said. “Whether it’s college, whether it’s the professional world or whether it’s military. You tend to draw off the things that you learn from high school sports.”
Hurst says that former players keep up with EHS football. He added that he gets messages on his phone and social media sometimes after games congratulating him on a win. Hurst joked that sometimes he doesn’t know who it is sending him the message because players still have his number from when they played, but he doesn’t have their number.
Bailey and co.
For Hurst, the most important thing is that the kids get an education, but it adds gratification when players come back to speak.
“Now they know you can be an Eastside Eagle, go do other things and still always be an Eagle,” Bailey said about what it means he speaks to current players. “Like I tell them, I wore blue in college. Blue wasn’t my favorite color. It’s my college color, but at the same time I still wore my green. Even when I went off and played professionally in Florida I wore my green because it’s something that you’ll always remember.”
Many Eagles have graduated from college and went on to have careers, some have even began those careers back in Covington. Bailey, for example, is probably playing it the closest to the chest as he now coaches alongside his former head coach.
“I’m basically coaching with a staff that I played for and to give back to my own team, what’s a bigger honor than that? I grew up with half these guys that are on the team so I wanted to give back. That’s all it’s about,” Bailey said.
If you go to Eagle football or basketball games you might even see some of the players that played with Bailey like Terrell, Alexander and Wray.
“We’re a close group. All of us – me, Broderick, Jay-Ray, Antarius – our biggest thing has always been we were Eagles before we even left middle school,” Bailey said. “So when we come back it’s like the biggest thing ever. We call each other like, ‘Eastside got a game in basketball or football. We gotta go.’”
“We’re a group of guys, we don’t do anything on the weekend. So our weekend is coming to Eastside having fun. Most people say, ‘Why you keep coming back?’ We can’t leave. It’s like our blood. We talk about our kids are gonna be Eagles. It’s a great feeling,” Bailey added. “Other people don’t understand but the thing is, it’s a tradition. Eastside is gonna be a tradition forever. So once you’re an Eagle and you have that great Eagle experience, you’re gonna come back all the time.”
Bailey recalls that when he played for Eastside, he and his friends would go to Stevie B’s on Thursdays and eat for free.
“I tell these kids now – and they don’t understand because they didn’t know, but we used to go to Stevie B’s and eat for free every Thursday. The same group that comes to the games now is the same group that used to go to Stevie B’s and eat for free and eat all the pizza up,” Bailey said, laughing. “They hated us when we came back because we clean house.”
Bailey says that to this day he can go to Stevie B’s and people still remember when he and his friends would come and eat all the buffalo chicken pizza.
“It’s something that you can’t explain because it’s such a great feeling. It’s a great feeling. That’s basically the only way I can sum it up,” Bailey said about what it means to be an Eagle. “The passion and the community, the way they embraced us. We came to a program that wasn’t that great. Coach Hurst, it was his first year, it was our first year and we just turned it around. Now it’s such a big establishment. Eastside has history. It has meaning. Everybody wants to be an Eagle, although we have Rams and Tigers around here, but to be an Eagle is still the biggest feeling in Covington to me.”
Talking to freshmen
Bailey and his crew aren’t the only players who come back and visit. Others do too, and they usually always talk to the current players. When players come back as much as the Eastside alumni do, it projects a special relationship with the staff and the community. One that begins when they’re students.
“I think it’s just knowing expectations. There’s some that’s left and they don’t get back,” Hurst said jokingly. “I think it’s just the personality of the kid. I don’t treat any of them any different. We’ve always been very fair. We’ve always been consistent in how we treat ‘em. I think a lot of them get that relationship at a very young age. Some of them don’t get until they’ve already gone. So the whole time that they’re here it’s kind of a love/hate relationship, but I think once you’ve grown and you‘ve graduated when you get older you start pulling on things you’ve heard here at school and on that field...Things that you’ll never forget.”
“We always, always stress being accountable. If you’re not here, I need to know. I need to know why. One’s being courtesy. Two is it’s being accountable because you’re going to have to answer to somebody for the rest of your life. You might as well get used to it,” Hurst said. “You may not like it, but there’s always going to be somebody that you’re gonna have to answer to. I think they draw on that because once you see ‘em start going to be successful off the field, you know that they’re pulling from things that they learned on the field.”
Andrico turned that accountability into a career after he graduated from Presbyterian College. He credits his coaches for his growth and maturation.
“I still call coach [Frankey] Iverson my pops. That’s my father figure. My father was there for me, but he was that father while I was here at Eastside. Because your parents aren’t here so you can act up. A lot of these kids act up. You might think, ‘Ahhh man he’s not a good child.’ But they really are, and that’s my whole thing,” Bailey said. “I grew up with all these kids so I don’t have to listen to, ‘Well he doesn’t know his father.’ I know he knows his father so I get on to them. I let the teacher go and do their thing, but then I’ll go off and bring them separately. I’m like look man, you can talk to me regularly. You know I know you, I know your family. It’s that personal relationship that you have with them and they understand. As an athlete it’s a big understanding because to juggle from an athlete and a student-athlete, that’s a lot to deal with. Like I tell ‘em, ‘If you can’t get it here then college is only going to get worse.’ They understand. They buy into it.”
“Eastside has affected me a lot,” Bailey added. “I tell these guys, they think that, ‘Coach Bailey you’ve always been a good guy.’ I haven’t. I made my mistakes in middle school and I definitely made a whole bunch in my freshman year.”
Now, Bailey looks to impact those freshmen the way he was impacted by his coaches.
“When I first got here I was a young guy, nobody understood me. Had dreads, nobody understood me,” Bailey said. “But now, I’m more of one of the figures that everybody understands and I love it. That’s the reason why I’m coming back and I’m gonna keep coming back because it’s the best job that you can have, to give back to your community that you played for.”