1) What is your Check Your Game Story?
–> As I look back on influences on my life due to athletics, I have to give credit to my Homewood High School football coach Bob Newton. As you see, I went to two high schools, moving to Homewood just before the start of fall practice before my junior year of high school due to my mother’s job transfer.
With all due respect to my coaches in Shreveport who also had great influence on my life, Coach Newton pushed me and my teammates who had the fortune to be coached by him to a different level of toughness. I remember full pad, full hitting practices , with one mid practice water break, punctuated by wind sprints at the end of every practice. I lost 20 lbs. during the two week 2 a day practices alone! Despite playing football continuously since the third grade, I had never worked so hard in my life.
No matter how hard football or academics were at Vanderbilt or even LSU Law School, in the back of my mind I always think about the practices at Homewood that I survived and thrived, to help get me through. Coach Newton had hardened me physically and mentally to handle whatever comes my way.
I thank God for bringing him into my life.
“Chicken Wing(nickname at Vanderbilt), thanks for sharing a bit about your story. Wow! I am so jealous that you were able to be taught mental toughness at a much younger age. For those kids going into college to play sports, mental toughness is so valuable. It’s hard to teach! Sometimes you just have to experience it to learn it but once you do, you can use this in more areas in your life than just sports. Wing, it sounds like your Check Your Game moment took place while in College! As you dealt with all the hard hitting, two-a-days, lifting and running amongst older teammates (especially being a fullback), I can imagine that you didn’t let that get you down and instead reflected on Coach Newton and how you learned from the past that you can do anything! Your mental toughness that you learned and applied to Vanderbilt obviously worked in the classroom too because you now are a successful Deputy District Attorney for the Caddo Parish in Louisiana. Thanks Will for your story and thanks for being a friend to not just me but almost any person you came across at Vanderbilt. I’d say you are probably the most well liked guy from our era during our Vandy days. You are appreciated! Oh, and one last thing! Your advice to kids: don’t quit and academics first! Many other athletes are all saying the same thing like you. Great advice to others. Thanks again.” Gary Rogers
2) If you could give advice to a current athlete, what advice would that be?
–> Perseverance. Don’t quit just because you don’t play your first year. Make yourself better and work on your game. And most importantly , academics come first! Athletic careers always come to a sudden end, and at a young age. Academics will follow you forever.