4 Questions with Gilmer head coach Paul Standard

Today’s interviewee is Gilmer coach Paul Standard, whose team is 5-1 after a 45-3 victory over West Hall last week. The Bobcats’ five victories are the most in a season since 2014. Standard is in his second season as Gilmer’s coach. He’s best known for his 20-year run at alma mater St. Pius, where his teams won eight region titles.

1. What did you see in this year’s team that made you feel you had a chance to take a big step forward? “When we came here two years ago, the program was in a bad shape, but we had six seniors who stayed after many had quit who led us through the transition. With them were 13 juniors who are now our seniors who have been outstanding leaders. I knew we had a chance to continue the turnaround here at Gilmer with their leadership.”

2. What’s been the reaction of the school, the fans and the community to the season you’re having? “The reaction of our entire community has been great. The stands are full each home game, the school is buzzing with excitement, the alumni are excited. We have started an alumni group who join us on the sideline each home game. The players love it. Some [of those alumni] are their fathers, brothers, uncles, etc. Our local businesses have been so supportive. Our touchdown club has provided the support and resources to make this possible, and none of this could have happened without the total support of our administration, who have been behind our plan ‘to Restore the Bobcat Tradition.’ We have had alumni players tell us on more than one occasion how proud they are to see our boys perform and the success they have had.”

3. What do you feel that you and your staff have done at Gilmer that’s made the most difference in getting things turned around? Anything about Gilmer’s situation that was unique? “I think what we the staff have done was bring a total-program approach. That’s been a strong middle school program, which has been very strong the past two years, having a strong parent support group, TD Club, Huddle Moms etc., a year-round strength program which sets the culture of your team, and an atmosphere of coaching our boys hard, but in a way where we genuinely care about our players. Our coaches love our players. Now some days they may not like the way we ‘care’ about them, but I believe they know we genuinely care about them. Is this unique to Gilmer? I don’t think so. I think in any program that is struggling [Gilmer was 7-43 in the five years prior] there are issues in one or more of these areas. Our administration has allowed me to hire men who are great role models, great family men, as well as great coaches.”

4. Your high school coach, George Maloof, is being inducted into the Georgia High School Football Hall of Fame this month as a player. What was Coach Maloof like, and what impact did he have on you and your career choice? “Coach Maloof had the greatest influence on me as a young person second only to my father. Coach Maloof is the reason I am in this business. I think of him often. He was a man’s man, did not sugarcoat anything, coached us hard, real hard, but we knew he loved us, and that is why we played so hard for him. Still today I use the same sayings that Coach used with us.”

Produced by Georgia High School Football Daily, a free e-mail newsletter. To join the mailing list, click here.