First, the backstory on this post. A few years ago, I read an article in Wired Magazine about a small town newspaper in Indiana called the Jasper Herald. They covered their town with photography in a detailed way telling the stories in their community. That led me to learn about the Mountain Workshops, one of the premier storytelling workshops for photojournalists, which takes photographers from around the country to tell the stories found in one county each year in Kentucky. The Mountain Workshops was one of the main inspirations for ILNH. For our second year, we wanted to introduce more stories here on ILNH and so many of you helped send me to learn how the Mountain Workshops does storytelling and bring back that knowledge to ILNH. In Kentucky, we picked our assignment from a hat, and I was fortunate enough to have picked Coach John Edge and the Owensboro Catholic High School football team. Meet Coach Edge. . . .
|John Edge, Head Coach, Owensboro Catholic High School
John Edge, head coach of Owensboro Catholic High School football says that a number of the students at his school bemoan being stuck in school all day. He teases them each afternoon after school lets out with the same call down the hall: “All you people do is complain about being here and as soon as you can, you don’t leave.”
That is the story of John Edge. When you’re free to choose to leave or stay in Owensboro, Kentucky, some choose to stay. “Look what I’ve done, I’ve come back,” he chuckles. Born and raised in Owensboro, Coach Edge attended Owensboro Catholic and went on to Murray State where he played football at both schools. He has been head coach for 10 years at Owensboro Catholic where some of his colleagues are his own former teachers and coaches. He married his wife Lauren who is also an Owensboro native and who is a registered dietician and works as a clinical manager at the hospital. Together they raise four children, Avery,7, “JT”, 6, Anne, 4, and Hayden,2.
With a school of only 450 students, Owensboro Catholic has a big reputation with their sports programs. The football team has been to state championships four times in 13 years, with three under the leadership of Coach Edge. With a roster of 53 players, almost 40 players play during games.
“Friday night in Kentucky is high school football,” says Manager Bill Boehm. Therefore, fielding a highly successful football team where nearly 12% of the entire school is on the football team and most of the players are played each game speaks volumes about the quality of the team and leadership under John Edge. On football, Coach Edge is clear, “we coach them everyday. One of the biggest reasons we are successful is because we share our athletes. We don’t try to hog an athlete.” When you see a variety of high school students consistently gravitate to Coach Edge throughout the day, you know something special is happening. David “Coach Gov” McGovern describes, “we’ve got a different group of people. We’re like a lot closer and the kids see it, and the kids feel we care and do everything we can to help them.” Caring is clearly mutual between students and coach, another advantage Coach Edge cites as a source of their success. “You practice how you play on Friday nights,” he reminds players. Game day is everyday for Head Coach John Edge and Owensboro Catholic High School.
Note: I thought I’d share some different photos here than can be found with the original story so you can see more about my visit to Owensboro.
|Owensboro Catholic High School Aces have multiple high performance sports teams from a pool of 450 total students. 12% of the entire student body are football players.
|Coach Edge also teaches driver’s education. Driver Jordyn Moseley drives in the rain for the first time (with a brave photographer from Connecticut in the back seat).
|Coach Edge motivates the Owensboro Catholic football team at the start of twice weekly weight training.
|Films. Coach Edge and his team review films regularly to discuss strategy and performance.
|Long days for Coach Edge during football season regularly run 12 hours and often run 6+ days a week.
|Coach Clint Houk, “I’m the offensive coordinator and general yeller.”
|Coach Edge closes down practice.
|Lunch room exchange at Owensboro Catholic High School.
|I constantly saw students gravitate to Coach Edge throughout the day.
|Lunch Duty. “I heard it from a very reliable source, you left something on the table.”
|Coach Edge shares a moment with daughter Avery, 7, before heading to an Ownesboro Right To Life banquet.
Here are a few more of my favorite images.
|Taking the field behind the school to walk through some plays before the big game.
|Coach takes the field while #11 Joseph Mills warms up.
|Michael Englert leads the OC crowd in a chant.
|Interception by #9 Seth Augustus Hayden
See more storiesfrom other photographers during the week in Owensboro.
See a large setof images from my trip to Owensboro on our FB page.
Check out the fantastic video about Owensboro put together with clips from the multimedia teams and the photojournalists.