Todd Welborn, 33, is in his first year as P.E. teacher at Lanier after spending the last 11 years at Collins Hill. Welborn will be coaching the offensive line for the Longhorns, who are in their third year of existence.
Welborn is a 1997 Collins Hill grad and got his bachelor's degree in history education from the University of Georgia in 2001.
Welborn and his wife, Laurie, have a daughter Olivia, and are expecting their son, Woodson, on Sept. 20.
In this latest installment of "Getting To Know ... ," Welborn talks to staff writer Brandon Brigman about leaving Collins Hill, getting into coaching and losing his teeth on the football field.
BB: Was it tough leaving Collins Hill? You were there for so long.
TW: It was. I was there for 11 years. With all the coaching changes that happened, Coach (Alan) Fahring, Coach (Larry) Sherrill, then Coach (Billy) Wells and Coach (Kevin) Reach. Reach was good to me, but I had a chance to grow a little bit more with my responsibilities here. It was tough, though. Part of me, having graduation there, I'll always want to see them do well. Unless we end up playing them a couple of years down the road.
BB: You attended Collins Hill right as that school was opening and now are at Lanier as it's a young program. What are some of the similarities?
TW: The main thing when I was a senior, we didn't really know how to compete. Like have a great competitive practice. I think at the beginning of summer practice there was some similarity to that. The kids have come a long way. There's a lot more competition in the practices going from spring to now. I've been where these seniors are and you want to do well, but don't know a lot of the stuff you need to know well to get in the playoffs. That's the challenge this year, finding out how to get into the playoffs. We didn't get that my senior year at Collins Hill, but shortly after they were right in the mix. I'd like to maybe speed up that process if we could, but we'll see.
BB: This will be the first year of region play for Lanier. What can we expect out of the Longhorns?
TW: Offensively, we're going to try and run the ball as much as week can. We don't have a lot of offensive linemen. The ones we got are physical kids and tough kids and we'll spread it out a good bit. Our quarterback is a good quarterback who understands the offense and knows where the open spaces are. I expect us to control the ball, control the clock, but I expect us to have some big plays, too, because I think we match up well athletically with a lot of the teams we play.
BB: You've been with Coach Wells a long time at Collins Hill and now again at Lanier. You've got to have dirt on him or funny stories to share.
TW: (laughs) Uh, well I might, but I better not say anything about that. We know the line and we know it with each other. He just gave me the nod at midfield, you know what to do, and I do. (laughs)
BB: What kind of player were you at Collins Hill?
TW: I was an offensive lineman. Obviously, pretty undersized, being about 5-8 in high school and just over 200 pounds. So I think when I have players like that I get more excited about them than the big guys that don't know how to play real physical yet. I was real small, but I knew where everybody was supposed to go and that's probably why I got on the field because I could tell everyone what they needed to do (laughs). That sums it up right there. I wasn't dominating any blocks, but I knew what to do and we could function with me in there.
BB: Who was the best you played against when you were at Collins Hill?
TW: Oh, man. We played against Brookwood in our Game 10 and the (Ian and Chris) McKnight brothers were there and luckily they only played a half against us because it was Game 10 and they were already in the playoffs. Philip Jones was there, but luckily I didn't play defense, so I didn't have him wearing me out all night. A lot of SEC linemen on that one team there. They ended up winning the state championship and we were just a skid mark on the road for them. But we kept it to 28-7, so I appreciated that. (laughs)
BB: With you being able to tell everybody their blocking assignments, could you sort of sense you might be a coach down the road?
TW: I did. My dad was a teacher for a couple of years, my mom was a teacher, my grandfather was a principal, so I kind of had a notion I wanted to get into education. I don't think I would do one without the other. I don't think I could teach if I couldn't coach and I couldn't coach if I couldn't teach. It's kind of shared for me.
BB: But being a coach, I understand, has caused you some dental problems.
TW: (laughs) Oh, man. Yes, I have had my teeth chipped three times. One was (laughs), I guess Billy told you that? The first time was my first year at Collins Hill. I got excited about a play and ran over and took a helmet to the teeth and knocked out two of them. I had to play scout quarterback when I was coaching JV and got clipped by a shoulder pad and lost the fake one. In baseball, I got hit in the mouth with a ball and lost two teeth again. I had to have them replaced. I only found out what workman comp was on the third one, so the first two were on my bill (laughs). I can't believe he told you that. Actually, I can (laughs).
BB: Your wife must have loved you coming home with missing teeth.TW: The third one happened when we were married. I had bonding and she said "you're going to get a crown." So I got a crown for that (laughs). I bet he told you about the story of me striking myself out in baseball, too?
BB: No, he didn't, but you can tell me that one too.
TW: I was hitting the fungo at Collins Hill. It was a summer league game my first year. I never played baseball and I was helping out Coach (Paul) Pierce. So the players were like "All right coach, we have to hit infield warmup." I said "OK." I didn't really know what to do and I grabbed a bat, swung the bat three times and missed all three times on the throw up to myself. And then we did it another time and I actually hit it over the fence the second time, so I said get off the field. That was in the time span right there (laughs).
BB: He did tell me to ask about your singing and dancing, though.
TW: (laughs) No dancing. But I will sing on rare occasions and I've been told I'm pretty good. My wife likes it when I sing. My daughter doesn't because it puts her to sleep. Yeah, I sang at my wedding (laughs). He's digging up all the dirt, I guess.
BB: Do you frequent the karaoke bars?
TW: Um, no. We did on a cruise ship one time. We took a coaches trip and I think I brought down the house with some Lionel Richie. That's about it.
BB: Did you enjoy the summer Olympics?
TW: I didn't get to watch a whole lot. When summer practice starts, when I get home, I want to go outside with my daughter or something. I watched a couple, but not a whole lot.
BB: College football season is around the corner. Do you get a chance to watch those games?
TW: Oh, I watch college almost every Saturday. We've got my daughter's, she going in a 3-on-3 soccer league, and it starts at 3:30 p.m. I've got a friend at Dacula Youth Soccer and I'm wondering why he scheduled it for 3:30 in the afternoon, but I'll talk about that with him later.
BB: How excited were you when you heard you're having a boy?
TW: Oh, very, and it's the best of both worlds. Having a girl, she's great, a real tough girl, a ton of fun and always in a great mood. With the boy, I'm excited to have that aspect of things, too, and hopefully he'll be as tough as she is. That will be hard to do because she's pretty tough.
BB: Did you go on cool summer vacations?
TW: My family went to Charleston. My parents took us to Charleston and my wife's parents took us to St. Augustine. That's kind of nice to take a couple of weeks in the summer and go do that. It's a pretty good deal to get them to pay for that.
BB: Did you go to the Fountain of Youth in St. Augustine?
TW: We went a long time ago. We've gone every year, so those spots we kind of stay away from because we know the deal with it. I need some with all the gray hair I have at 33, I know that.
BB: It's your first year at Lanier, but do you see yourself being here for a long time?
TW: I could stay for a very long time. Knowing the coaching staff and having a lot of comfort with Coach Wells, I don't have the bug to be a head coach necessarily. I look at the hours he puts in and I'm not sure if that's for me. I want to see my family and my parents as well.