Hoover ready to rebuild
Attitude and effort.
Those are two things Brad Hoover wants to quickly instill in his football players at Marvin Ridge High.
The former Carolina Panthers fullback was introduced as the school's new head coach in front of players and parents on Monday evening.
The 37-year-old Hoover previously coached one season at Union Academy, where he led the Cardinals to a 6-6 record and a playoff win before resigning earlier this month.
"At the end of the day it was one of the toughest decisions I've had to make because it was against everything I kind of taught those kids, and they bought in with me," Hoover said. "I wasn't looking to move. The opportunity presented itself to where it at least enticed me a little bit, but I still wasn't convinced on leaving."
Hoover said his faith was key in the decision.
"I really prayed about it and wasn't sure if there was going to be another opportunity this close," said Hoover, who lives in Weddington and is raising two young daughters with his wife. "I just felt like this was where the Lord was pushing me."
Hoover, who was accompanied by his wife and daughters on Monday, was a football star at Ledford High before earning a scholarship to Western Carolina University.
Hoover played all 10 of his NFL seasons with the Panthers as an
undrafted free agent before retiring in 2010.
"Every coach I've played for, from my Dad with Pop Warner all the way up to the professional ranks, has stamped something on me," said Hoover. "How little or how big those are, only I know that, but those things are the driving force for me to coach. I look at it as now it's my opportunity to share the knowledge of the game and what I've learned along the way with these kids."
Hoover is taking over a program that is on its third head coach in three years.
The Mavericks finished with a worst-ever 2-9 record in 2013 under former coach Danny Bailey, marking the program's first losing season since the school opened in 2007.
Marvin Ridge missed the postseason for the first time in school history.
"I think the biggest thing is just being honest and upfront," said Hoover of instilling confidence back in the program. "It's the same approach I took with the guys at UA. Do I know everything? I'm not going to claim that, but I do know a lot of football.
"The biggest thing with kids is gaining trust. The more they trust you, the more I'm going to trust them in return. Building that relationship builds confidence, and then that relates to the football field and hopefully into wins."
Hoover said he'll have at least one other former NFL player on his coaching staff, and maybe more.
Former Panthers defensive tackle Damione Lewis will serve as an assistant and former NFL lineman Ted Washington is a possibility, according to Hoover.
Washington and Hoover played against each other in the 2003-04 Super Bowl.
Washington and Lewis were both assistants at Union Academy.
Marvin Ridge has had ex-NFL players on its staff in the past, including current Chicago Bears quarterback Josh McCown and former Panthers defensive end Al Wallace.
Hoover said he's spoken to McCown, who threw for 1,829 yards with 13 touchdowns and one interception in eight games with the Bears last season.
"I'd love to have him here, but I think he's going to be playing in the NFL for somebody," said Hoover. "He's played himself into a nice contract coming up."