North Gwinnett's Troy Hobbs is in his fourth year as head boys track coach and assistant football coach.
Troy Hobbs, 39, is in his fourth year as head boys track and field coach and assistant football coach at North Gwinnett.
Hobbs is a 1989 graduate of Miami Southridge Senior High School and attended the University of Kentucky where he got his bachelor's degree in secondary education and master's degree in social work.
Hobbs has coached football for 14 years, including 10 years at Lexington Catholic in Kentucky and two years with the Lexington Horsemen of the United Indoor Football League.
In this latest installment of "Getting to know ..." staff writer Brandon Brigman talks to Hobbs about the Miami Hurricanes, the best team in Region 7-AAAAA football this year and the Kentucky Derby.
BB: Are you really 39? You look like you're in your late 20s or early 30s.
TH: I'm 39, but most people wouldn't know that. I get stopped a lot in school waiting on meetings with parents. I'll walk up to them and say 'I'm Mr. Hobbs and they say 'huh? You look like a student.' Yeah, I'm actually 39.
BB: How has the track program at North progressed since you've been here?
TH: It has grown in the last three years. I have great assistant coaches. It's not just me, my name is just there as the boys head coach. All of them collectively have made the program what it is right now. It's just growing by numbers.
BB: Did you run track in high school?
TH: Yeah. I was alright. I'm not going to toot my own horn. I held my own. In Miami some cats can fly down there. I held my own.
BB: You run against anyone I might have heard of?
TH: One of the fastest guys I ever ran against, and guys from my generation know, they called him Thrill Hill, he played for the University of Miami. Randall Hill. We grew up close together in high school and I ran against him. He talked trash before he got in the blocks, when he got in the blocks and probably all the way down the track. He could flat out fly.
BB: So you grew up in Miami during the Hurricanes' glory days. Did you grow up a Miami fan?
TH: I'm still a Canes fan. I went to Kentucky, I love Kentucky. I bleed blue as they say and I'm Kentucky fan, but anything Miami -- the Dolphins, the Heat, the Hurricanes. I grew up a Hurricanes fan.
BB: Is it nice to see them start to make a comeback in football now?
TH: Like no other. I always thought they would. I know they went through their stage with the bad boy thing, the recruiting thing, this and that, I grew up watching those guys, so I knew some of the things going on. They had to pay the piper as they say. But now they are coming back. Coach (Randy) Shannon is a great guy and they are going to get them back right. The U will be back.
BB: This is a tough region for all sports. Are you disappointed you didn't have anyone qualify for the state track meet?
TH: Unfortunately, we had no boys (qualify). They were really close. You said it best, in this region it's not just football, baseball and track that's tough, you've got to bring your A game every day. We run against some great teams. Peachtree Ridge, Norcross, in the county Parkview and you've got to bring your A game. We're learning how to compete with those guys. We had some guys that were close and we've got to keep working and hopefully one day we'll really be able to compete with them like we do in other sports.
BB: You've got a laid back demeanor. Do you ever raise your voice?
TH: (Laughs) Yeah, I do. Let my guys tell you on the football field. They say I'm bipolar. One day I'm up, one day I'm down. I don't know if I have to do a lot of yelling now. They say my facial expressions tell a lot. So if I'm biting my lip or my eyebrows are raised, the kids have been around me to know me and I don't need to yell.
BB: Do you have any summer vacation plans?
TH: Yeah, football. It's football time. I have an 11-year-old son Bryce that I try to spend all my free time I can with him. We'll do some things together. I like to sleep. One thing people who know me know I like to sleep. So maybe I'll get some good rest days. Once we get into June, I'm all about scheming and trying to figure out how I can block punts on people and what routes are the best to run.
BB: You've coached with North head football coach Bob Sphire for 14 years. What's the most embarrassing story you can tell me about him?
TH: If I were to tell some of them he would probably kill me. I'm trying to think. If you knew us when we coached indoor football, we called him Scooby Doo. That was his little nickname because he liked Scooby Snacks. So whenever we were on the bus we had to make sure we had a bag of Scooby Snacks because he would fall asleep and wake up and say 'I need my Scooby Snacks.' So that was our little nickname for him. A lot of guys didn't say it because they knew coach would get mad.
BB: So who's the team to beat this year in Region 7-AAAAA football this year?
TH: (Laughs) Man, you're tough. All of us. Us, Peachtree Ridge, Norcross, Collins Hill, Mill Creek. I'll even throw in Mountain View. Here at North we go one week at a time. If you don't bring your A game you can be beat, so you never know. It was great winning the region championship last year, but you know you got that bull's eye on your back. We would like to win another one and I'm not saying we're the best team, but we will work our tails off to see if we can repeat.
BB: Is there much difference living in Georgia than Kentucky?
TH: Heck yeah, it's warmer here. I'm a Miami boy. In Kentucky for all those years I wouldn't do a lot. I would just go home and rest. Athletics overall, yeah, Kentucky has some players. Tim Couch and all those guys. But collectively Georgia is top notch. I'm from Florida and I've seen some of the best, but Georgia is amazing.
BB: Are you a big Kentucky hoops fan?
TH: Yeah, I am. I do the John Wall dance, I got the UK2K shirts, I am.
BB: So how long before John Calipari has the men's basketball team at Kentucky on probation?
TH: (Laughs) Whoo. He will never have the University of Kentucky on probation. He will never have the University of Kentucky on probation, not while he's there anyways. (Laughs)
BB: Have you ever been to the Kentucky Derby?
TH: I have. All you people that don't like horses, you need to experience that. It is amazing to go and see an event like that. You watch it on TV and you're like it's just some horses running around a track. You ever get to stand there and watch those horses, they are amazing athletes. They are athletes.
BB: How long do you see yourself at North Gwinnett?
TH: As long as they let me. I did have an opportunity to talk to another school about a job that came open and I couldn't leave North. The administration, the students, all the guys that I work with, it wasn't my time to go. I just feel like in both sports, we are building something and I wanted to be a part of that. Everybody has aspirations of being a head coach and I may never get that opportunity again, but I couldn't leave here not knowing in my heart I wasn't done doing what we came here to do. I'll be here for awhile.