Former South Robeson head coach Garron Warwick got one of those chances this week and took advantage shortly after meeting with Jack Britt coach Brian Rimpf and school administrators.
“If you need motivation to coach a team with USA across its chest, it’s time to get out of the profession,” Warwick said. “When I got the call, I had to do it.”
The former head coach at South Robeson High was invited this week along with seven others to join the staff of Pinecrest’s Chris Metzger on the U-18 National Team that will go up against Team Canada in an International Federation of American Football sanctioned all-star game in Austin, Texas on Feb. 6. The US roster, consisting exclusively of top high school juniors from around the country, will be announced soon.
Warwick will assist the defensive line and is joined locally on staff by Richmond’s Paul Hoggard. Participating coaches will fly west on an all-expenses-paid trip Feb. 1 and return six days later. Warwick could barely contain himself Wednesday afternoon.
“I literally jumped at the opportunity to coach in this game with these guys,” he said. “It’ll be an awesome experience getting to pick the brain of other coaches. I’ll have to take a few notes for next season.”
Warwick has been friends with Metzger since 2003 when the pair bumped heads as rival coaches in southwest Florida.
“One of the original guys he picked didn’t work out, so I was the next call,” Warwick said. “I was at Lely High in Naples while he was at Cypress Lake (Fort Myers). We have a history. Chris is a great guy, someone I have a lot of respect for in the coaching ranks. He’s assembled what I consider a great collection of coaches for this game.”
Metzger’s remaining staff is highlighted by former NFL linebacker Chris Slade, Texas Tech assistant Mike Jinks and Dave Mencarini of Quince Orchard, one of Maryland’s elite 4A high school programs.
Warwick is coming off what he says was one of the most rewarding seasons as a high school coach. Soon after Britt hired Rimpf to replace Richard Bailey last spring, Warwick received a message in his inbox asking about his history on defense. Rimpf, a former offensive lineman at East Carolina and in the NFL, had an opening at defensive coordinator.
“I had to go,” Warwick said. “I tried looking at the bigger picture and being the DC at Britt is probably better than being a head coach at 60 percent of the schools in the state. So far, Britt’s been an amazing place to work and the staff — from the principal to the custodians — make you feel like family.”
In his first season with the Buccaneers, Warwick led Cumberland County’s top-ranked scoring defense at 16.2 per game and helped Britt reach the state championship game for the fourth time in school history.
Prior to winning one game in 21 tries in Rowland, Warwick called the defense under Jeff Smouse at Lumberton and Athens Drive, spent time at Enloe and held a strength and conditioning position with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.