CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - “The west side just calls to me.”
Just one of the big reasons Sam Greiner has accepted the job to become the new head coach at West Charlotte.
Greiner was the head coach at another school on the west side, Harding, from 2015-17. In his last season at the school, the Rams went 14-1 and won their first state title in over 60 years. The next year he went to Hickory Ridge but only stayed for one season.
“I was very busy and I think the Lord knew that I just didn’t have time to be a football coach at the time because I had a lot of different things brewing," said coach. “My wife and I are on a show together and there were a lot of things happening that I couldn’t do if I was a football coach."
But after a year away, the itch to coach again is back.
“I always believe the good Lord opens and closes doors he wants opened and closed and this is the door he opened up.”
Because of his success at Harding, the expectations are going to be high at West Charlotte to do the same if not even more. This hire comes as West Charlotte breaks ground on a new school right behind the site of the current school. In a sense, Greiner becomes a part of the rebuild of West Charlotte as they hope to get back to the glory days of Lions football.
West Charlotte has played in 6 state championship games in their history and claimed the big prize in 1995. But since 2009, the Lions have had only 2 winning seasons.
“West Charlotte wants to be great again and I’m OK with the expectations,” said coach. “I know they didn’t have the best season last year (4-7), but they were very competitive in all those games. They’re a couple of things away from being really good.”
One of the prime duties of a coach is to motivate and just because he wasn’t coaching for a year, doesn’t mean Greiner wasn’t doing that motivating. Every Thursday, he puts out a message on Twitter called Soul Full 70. It is 70 seconds of uplifting and thought provoking conversation with coach.
“I feel like you need to be filled up every week and just take 70 seconds out of the day and hopefully I can inspire people to live a better life,” said coach. “When you go through troubled times it’s OK. Everything has a purpose.”
In these times of COVID-19, coach has even touched on his feeling about death.
“I’ve lost a lot of close friends and family members and I think it is very important that I let people understand how I deal with death. I believe I will see them again. It’s see you later and not a good bye."
He gives great advice but not everyone can dig what he is saying.
“That’s just who I am. Just trying to express who I am and if people don’t like it, I completely understand. I’m different.”
Back to the football side of things, coach knows building the West Charlotte football program back up won’t be easy. They are part of the toughest football conference in the state of North Carolina in the I-MECK.
Mallard Creek has been the standard in the league as they have won 10 of the last 11 conference titles, 3 state championships since 2013 and were state runners up in 2017.
Vance is poised to be the next king of the hill. The Cougars just won a state championship this past season, were the state runners up in 2018 and went to numerous regional finals before that.
Hough went to the regional finals in 2017 and the only year that Mallard Creek did not win the conference title in the last 11 years, the Huskies beat them out for it in 2015.
In 2017, they were the only conference in North Carolina to have 3 teams playing in the regional finals.
In 2019, 5 of the 8 teams made it to the post season so Greiner and the Lions have their work cut out for them.
“Everyone says the conference we are in is like jungle. Well the Lion represents the king of the jungle so it’s time for us to get back on top and I think we can do that. It’s going to take some time, but I think these kids have some passion in them. I like to be in places where they say it can’t be done. I love it. You just don’t have a clue of what we can do.”