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Getting to Know ... Judson Hamby

Judson Hamby, 34, is the head girls soccer coach at Parkview. The Douglasville native played club soccer in his days at Berry College and is the new father of a 15-month-old boy named Jude.

In this installment of "Getting to Know..." staff writer Ben Beitzel talks with Hamby about how he found his way to Parkview, chasing his wife, Michelle, around the country while they were dating and the difficulties of pilates.

BB: Along with playing club soccer, you had a flag football team make it to the national championships in New Orleans. How'd you get into that?

JH: We put a bunch of people together and we had a pretty good Ultimate (Frisbee) team at Berry. We weren't playing with change or keeping track.

BB: Where you interested in coaching at Berry College?

JH: Originally, my degree was in sports management and I had a minor in business. When I got out (of undergrad), well, when I was in college I was kind of involved in sports. Before I got into teaching I was working and playing sports as a manager and running a business and hated it. I loved kids because at the time I was working for a soccer club called YMCA Arsenal, obviously in Rome. They were just getting established and the guy who started it asked me if I wanted to get involved with the clubs or some of the youth kids. Once I figured out that I wanted to kind of do that, I started getting my licenses, my coaching licenses, and also I got into coaching and was a community coach at Rome High School and Cartersville High School. My first year as a high school assistant Cartersville High School lost in the state finals. It was a good first gig.

BB: How did you make the transition from sports management to teaching?

JH: Because I had a sports management degree, when I went back to school, I went to graduate school at Berry. I only had to take education classes because I had all the business, all the sports classes taken care of. I stayed at Berry for two more years and got my master's in secondary education. When I did that, I was able to get a teaching degree. During those two years, I basically taught high school. I was working private schools at Dalton. Basically, I coached a bunch of high school teams there. I was working on my licenses and stuff. It was cool.

BB: How many years were you in the real world before going back to school?

JH: I was out of college for six months.

BB: Quick.

JH: Right back in.

BB: This is a pretty good coaching gig at Parkview; how did you get this job?

JH: Believe it or not, my first year teaching I worked at a private school. My second year, I was like, 'I've got to get out of here. I've got to get out of Rome.' And a guy named Chad Little -- Chad Little was a guy who played here at Parkview, he was working at Dalton and he had big connections at the time, 2003, Karl Bostic had announced he was going to retire. (Little) called Karl and asked, 'Hey, would you interview this guy and all that.' They called me to come in and I said, 'Look, I'll do whatever it takes. I'll be an assistant. Be the water boy.' But I came in (as an assistant).

BB: How did you meet Michelle, your wife? Here at Parkview?

JH: No. I had a good friend that did his graduate work at Eastern Kentucky. She went to Eastern Kentucky. My good friend was friends with one of her good friends and it was basically like a blind date. I had never met her, I had talked to her a few times and it just worked out, so it was awesome.

BB: Did you drive up to Richmond, Ky., to meet her?

JH: I went to Ohio. We actually had a long-distance relationship for about a year and-a-half. I would travel everywhere. At the time, she was doing her masters (at the University of Cincinnati) in physical therapy. She was in Pennsylvania, Colorado, she was everywhere. I was having to fly. I think I had to fly to see her to like nine different states. It was a crazy thing, but, obviously, you do whatever it takes for love. I knew this was the one, so I was like, 'I can't screw this up.' We ended up marrying in 2008.

BB: She must be more settled now.

JH: She owns her own business in Roswell. I actually live in Roswell.

BB: That's a bit of a hike.

JH: (laughing) Yes, it is. But she owns her own business there, a physical therapy, pilates studio and we like it. But some days I hate the commute.

BB: At least teachers hit the road early.JH: Luckily, because of the early (hours), I don't fight traffic. When I get out at 3 p.m., I just stay at school (for a while).

BB: You probably get home at the same time.

JH: Yeah.

BB: Do you do pilates with her?

JH: (sharp inhale) She tries to get me to do them with her, but I tried once and I thought, 'This is too hard.' She makes it look easy. She puts me in this contraption and I am like, 'I am waiting on this thing to shoot back and hit me in the face.' I feel like she is going to put me in some move that I can't get out of and leave me there upside down.

BB: It's been a little over a year since your son Jude was born. I bet the past 15 months have been a bit different.

JH: He's been an awesome baby. An awesome newborn. A month into (his life) I am right into high school (soccer) season. Now is a lot tougher than it was then. Last season, it wasn't as bad because a newborn doesn't do anything, it just sits there. But now, he's a wild man. It's become difficult now because in-season you are traveling and I get home late and I also coach a club team across the street (from Parkview) at GSA. Some nights it's tough.

I have figured out that I don't sleep. I basically have this window from midnight to 4 a.m. where I've got to get sleep. I've got to get those hours. If I don't, I'm in trouble. I am pulling out the 5-hour engeries (laughing).

BB: You didn't play soccer for a college team, but you must have done it growing up, through high school.

JH: I was always involved. As a youth, growing up, I loved it. I watched it all the time. I was a big Manchester United fan. As a kid I played a ton. I played basketball and soccer in high school, those were my two sports. I had a chance to play in college and I was like, 'Do I want to do it? Do I not want to do it?' When I went to Berry, I knew it was going to be tough academically and decided not to play and after a year, I thought, 'Man, I miss it.' So I got involved in a lot of sports at Berry. Believe or not, I played in some of the Hispanic leagues. I would go and play pick-up and get on a team and the guys wouldn't speak a lick of English. It was awesome, because I just wanted to play. Some weeks, I'd play three nights a week. I felt like I was better at that point than I was in high school.

From there, I also had a lot of friends that played, so we were able to travel around and watch soccer and go overseas and watch soccer, we went to the World Cup.

BB: What World Cup?

JH: Obviously the one here.

BB: You were in high school?

JH: Yes. And then we went to the one in Germany. It's just been a blast. Just being around it. I have coached anywhere from 5-year-olds to high school. I love teaching the game and big picture, taking this kid and putting him there.

BB: What was the Germany World Cup like? It had to be a bit different than the one here. Soccer is king there.

JH: It's awesome. We went to a few games, we went to club games and all that. My first game was Manchester United versus some terrible team. I had always wanted to go to a Manchester United game and one of my friends was actually training to play for a team in England so he got us free tickets. It's a different level. It is, people, eat, live, die soccer. It's crazy because everything is centered around that. Their life, their emotions, ride based on how the team is doing that they support.