by Mary Ramsaier
Throughout Whitewater’s football History, they have built up a program that has broken records and made the community proud. From deep playoff runs to defeating teams when odds were against the Wildcats, the success is due to the strong, upstanding man who led the teams full of young men to be their best. That man is Coach Amos McCreary, or, as most call him, Coach Mac.
Coach Mac has created a strong program that has inspired many young men that he’s coached through the years, as young as future graduates of the Class of 2016 to alumni from the first graduating class in 2007, Coach Mac leaves a legacy for Whitewater that won’t be forgotten.
On the field, Mac always put his players first.
“He loved to win. Don’t get me wrong, but his players were his number one responsibility,” says former quarterback David Byrd, a 2008 graduate who went on to play at the next level at Shorter. Byrd credits McCreary’s guidance as the reason why he played at the next level.
With his passion and team always first in his mind, McCreary had major decisions picking the best boys to come out on the field to compete.
“Tough love,” 2011 graduate Renaldo Jenkins says is one of Coach’s best lessons. “He taught me to work harder so that I could be a better person.”
Coach Mac instilled discipline in the boys to build up their character.
“He taught me to be a leader when you’re not on the field,” says Jenkins. “It’s just as important to be a role model as when you’re on the field.”
Along with that leadership lesson, Jenkins favorite memory is beating Northside Warner Robbins because it is regarded as the best statement win in school history.
Mac sent so many boys to play at a collegiate level, like 2012 alumni Roshaud Turner, who plays at Southern University.
“If you want to be able to compete with the best, you have to do things that the best don’t do,” asserts Turner. Turner fondly remembers how Mac always encouraged him to take his training seriously off the field or in the classroom and taught him how to work harder as an undersized linebacker.
For some players, being thrown into a varsity position as young as an underclassman can be scary. Jay Ashley, a 2015 grad, was one of those players.
“He helped me believe in myself when I was just a young sophomore to help lead a team to accomplish many goals,” Ashley says. “He stuck with me and continued to believe in me until I graduated as a senior.”
Ian McIntyre was thrown in as a freshman expected to hang with the big dogs on varsity.
“From the first day, he made sure that I was at my best,” shares McIntyre. “You never expect a coach to do what he did for me.”
McIntyre’s parents both were influenced by Coach Mac. Ian’s father was coached by McCreary at an earlier stop, and his mother had him as a teacher.
Going all the way back to the first graduating class of Whitewater in 2007, running back Tavoris Dixon also felt the family influence of Coach Mac. His brother was coached by Mac at Creekside.
“My whole life, I dreamed of playing for Coach Mac,” remembers Dixon. “The fact that I got that opportunity was incredible and unforgettable.”
Dixon’s favorite game was a big win over Starr’s Mill that lives on in Whitewater lore. They were down 14-0 at halftime and still trailed 14-7 with two minutes to go. Coach Mac made the call for a running back pass which Dixon completed to Jay Bright. Instead of going for the extra point to be safe, Mac decided to go for the two-point conversion to won the game. The game is known to many as the legendary “15-14” game, part of the reasoning behind starting the alumni game this year.
“That game taught me don’t ever give up. Don’t ever settle. Go for it all,” says Dixon.
Another Wildcat who was greatly impacted by Coach McCreary is 2011 grad Josh Clemons. Clemons knows McCreary always had the best interests of his players in his heart.
“He sat me down in the gym three games into the season,” Clemons remembers of a special moment during a tough stretch. “He told me to play my game because I was out there stressing about things I couldn’t control.”
McCreary gave Josh the calming advice that he needed to know he could perform successfully. Clemons claims that talk was the push behind his stellar season that helped earned him a scholarship.
McCreary gave honest advice that drove players to believe in themselves, like 2013 grad, running back Kendall Conley.
“He always inspired me to do better, and he always was a great people person,” Conley says.
For a player, sometimes scores are forgotten, stats are lost, penalties are vaguely remembered, but players never forget who they take the field with by their side. Jordan Watson, a 2012 grad who signed with the University of Kentucky, does not remember those little things, but he remembers the Coach who had their back throughout everything.
After losing to Ware County in the playoffs during Jordan’s senior year, he remembers Coach Mac saying, “You guys can always count of me and call me. Our friendship has just begun.” Jordan claims that he talked to him more since he has graduated than when he was player. “Every time I was around him, I’ve always wanted to carry myself well,” shares Watson. “He was an upstanding person, Christian man, old school by the book guy.”
McCreary made his boys rise to be a better individuals. Stepping off the field and into the real world, he followed his players throughout life events. Thomas Frierson, a 2009 alum, knows about Mac’s dependability well. Frierson’s brother battled cancer, and they held a fundraiser for his brother.
“We didn’t even ask. He was there,” remembers Frierson. “He found out and acted on it along with staying in touch with me.”
Even someone on Mac’s coaching staff was a former player of his. Coach Rodgers, who coached under him from 2009 to 2014, shared how Mac helped him with his coaching philosophy and, as a player, he influenced him to do the right thing.
“Every Christmas, he always donated money and gave gifts to families that needed it,” remembers Rodgers about his boss’s love for the community. “He even takes care of his staff during the holidays.”
McCreary takes care of the families that help with his program, he was even known to take some kids home and made sure they were fed throughout the year if they needed it.
Though some will remember Coach McCreary for his defensive scheme or his intensity defending his players after a bad call, his players will remember the father figure that he represents in their life. They will remember all of the stories that he told after every practice and how he would joke to motivate them that if they didn’t work out, they would die.
“He taught us there is more to life than football, and how, when we leave, he wanted to make sure we were made into men outside of football,” says Ashley.
McCreary shaped many young men into the great individual they are today with his guidance. Jordan Watson says it the best, “Weddings, funerals, life events, Coach Mac, he wants to do life with you.”
Coach McCreary is retiring, but he will forever be remembered at Whitewater and throughout the community. His sweet smile and southern accent will be missed under the Friday Night Lights, but his legacy will be carried on forever as he established what the true meaning of being a Whitewater Wildcat is all about.