‘God opened the door:’ Pardue ready to get back on sideline at Springwood

Published 10:30 am Thursday, March 31, 2022

By Noah Patheja
Special to the Valley Times-News

Steve Pardue last coached a football game in 2018, but his family and his passion for coaching led to him being appointed Springwood’s head football coach and athletic director.

Pardue’s coaching career spanned from 1985 to 2018 and included multiple championships. Despite retiring four years ago, Pardue wanted one more shot at being a head coach.

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“My wife started working at Springwood,” Pardue said. “I’ve been looking for one more run in my life. I didn’t want to move. I have two grandchildren here, and I’ve been around them all their lives. God just opened the door for Springwood.”

Although Pardue is mainly known as the head coach of the football program, he will also be the athletic director for Springwood.

“They [Springwood] called me about being the athletic director and/or the football coach,” Pardue said. “I kind of thought I would do one. When I got there and started looking, both jobs really interested me.”

Pardue started his job as head coach on March 21, but he hasn’t met the team yet. One of the biggest challenges for Pardue is coaching his first private school team.

“I’m really adding to the diversity of my coaching career,” Pardue said. “I started as an assistant coach at the largest class in the state of Georgia. I coached at the largest class in the state of Alabama. I was the head coach of LaGrange High School for 17 years. I was the running backs coach at the University of Kentucky. Now, I’m the head coach at a small private school.”

As for the upcoming season, Pardue didn’t hold back on his expectations of the team.

“My expectation is to win every game,” Pardue said. “We want to go out and play as hard as we can. That’s my biggest thing is preparation. I don’t believe in a rebuild program. I don’t think that’s fair to your seniors. I’ve never liked that term personally.”

Because Pardue was recently hired, he hasn’t been able to put together a schedule for the spring. He’s hoping the team will take the field soon.

“Obviously I’m biting at the bit to get with them, but there’s some things administratively that have to get done,” Pardue said.

“I want to meet them and start building relationships because I think that’s the biggest part of coaching. My goal is to make it through this year, and come May 23 we want to really start putting in our system.”

Pardue’s biggest philosophy for his team is to make sure the players take advantage of the weight room.

“I’m a big believer in the weight room,” Pardue said. “We built our success at LaGrange from the weight room. We win football games in our weight room and conditioning programs.”

Pardue plans to renovate the current Springwood weight room as well. The biggest challenge for him right now is the fact that the students are playing other sports, so the start of spring practice is still undecided.