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Gwinnett TD Club Media Day debut a hit with coaches, players

Collins Hill football representitives left tackle Christian Harris, head coach Kevin Reach and running back Tyler Henderson (left to right) answer questions from the media Saturday morning during the first annual Gwinnett County football media day. ANTHONY STALCUP

Collins Hill football representitives left tackle Christian Harris, head coach Kevin Reach and running back Tyler Henderson (left to right) answer questions from the media Saturday morning during the first annual Gwinnett County football media day. ANTHONY STALCUP

LAWRENCEVILLE -- It may not have had quite the hoopla of the upcoming SEC Media Days in Hoover, Ala., or the ACC Media Days in Greensboro, N.C.

However, the Gwinnett Touchdown Club's inaugural Media Day event Saturday at North Metro Baptist Church served pretty much the same purpose for the county's high school football programs, and the media that follow them.

"That was the concept (to model after SEC and ACC Media Days), but scaled down to the high school level," said Gwinnett Touchdown Club president Chip Gaskill. "We're not going to be the SEC, and we don't have $2 million to put into a three-day event. But that was the concept.

"I really didn't have any preconceived notions about what to expect (Saturday) in terms of the media support. I think there are some things we can do to tweak it to make it more interesting to various media outlets going forward. If the coaches want to continue this, we'll try to continue to build on it. It's a good start. I'm pleased."

The coaches and players from 19 of the 22 county programs that participated in Saturday's event also seemed pleased with it.

That is especially true for the two coaches who played a principal role in getting it started.

"I love the idea of it," Mill Creek head coach Shannon Jarvis said. "I think what's happening at the high school level in football now is that people want to talk about it yearround. ... I think this thing will only grow. It's going to have to be marketed and shared, (but) I think you'll have more and more (media outlets) from the county that will be willing to come. It's new. I know our kids were excited to come. Our kids are always excited when they have an opportunity to speak for our team.

"We had to get it started. I talked to Chip last year when this was first being discussed. I don't think we talked to anyone that thought this was a bad idea. ... (Central Gwinnett coach) Todd Wofford came to me at the (Rivalries of Gwinnett) All-Star Game (last year) and said, 'Shannon, what do you think about this?' I told him that I thought it was a great idea, and I went to Chip and said, 'What do y'all think?' And I brought it up at our region (7-AAAAAA) meeting, as well. And all the coaches were in agreement (to) try to pull this thing off."

For his part, Wofford said he got the idea from other counties that have held similar events, such as neighboring DeKalb County, which has held a similar media day for the last several years.

"I saw, I forget what county it was, last year, and they had a media day," Wofford recalled. "They had the players come out. I know all the college conferences do it. We're Gwinnett County. We do everything first class, since I've been here. So, this is something we should probably be doing because everybody is interested in what (Gwinnett) teams do."

While only a handful of media outlets attended Saturday's inaugural event, the coaches hope it only grows in the future.

And Jarvis admitted it is still a work in progress.

"The big key is the timing of it," Jarvis said. "We're trying to figure out the best time of it. I know a lot of the colleges are doing them (this week). Ultimately, within a couple of weeks, we're all tied up getting ready for the season. So, I think it will only grow."