They say good things come to those who wait.
Cory Lewing has been waiting patiently for an opportunity to become a head coach of a high school football team for more than 18 years. He has “paid his dues” serving as an assistant coach: on the offensive line, defensive line, working with linebackers, special teams. He has honed his skills as an offensive coordinator and defensive coordinator.
Lewing has made coaching stops in DeRidder and Jeanerette. He worked in Jonesboro-Hodge, at North Desoto and Captain Shreve.
Now, Lewing has been named interim head coach at Green Oaks and will get his chance to put into practice all those skills he has learned from a plethora of head coaches across the state.
“It’s something everyone should be striving for no matter what type of career,” Lewing said. “Everybody wants to get better at what they’re doing. Then when an opportunity like this comes around you certainly want to make the best of it and give it your all.”
Lewing expects nothing less of his players, and likes what he has seen since arriving at the Green Oaks campus a little more than a year ago when Spencer Heard was named the head coach. Heard persuaded Lewing to leave Shreve for the defensive coordinator position for the 2012 season. Heard was offered the head coaching position at Minden this summer and by saying yes to that opportunity, presented Lewing with his.
“There were certainly some mixed emotions about leaving Green Oaks,” Heard said. “We were starting to make some real strides in establishing the mind set it takes to build a winning tradition. Cory was very instrumental in those gains and I truly believe he can take right up where we left off last year.”
Last year ended on a high note when the Giants beat Loyola 34-27 in the final game of the season. Green Oaks finished 4-6 overall, their best record in the last five years. That kind of improvement is exactly what fifth-year principal and former Huntington basketball coach Marvin Alexander had in mind when he hired Heard and then named Lewing as Heard’s replacement.
“Cory was already my defensive coordinator and was really making a positive impact on many of our players,” Alexander said. “Rather than putting our kids through the rigors of learning a completely new coach we felt Cory could provide a seamless transition by taking over for Spencer.”
One of the traits Alexander admires most in Lewing is his passion for the players. Not just how they perform on the field, but in the classroom as well. One of the things Alexander was most proud of during his long coaching career was his “100 percent” graduation rate.
“I tell my coaches all the time, ‘if you guys do it the right way, the wins will come,'” Alexander said. “I’m not going to fire a coach because of wins and losses, but I will get rid of you if you don’t do it the right way.”
Part of that “right way” is a strength and conditioning program the Giants had been sorely lacking. Something in which Lewing took great pride and was instrumental in developing during his seven years at Captain Shreve. There were major improvements made in the weight room and related facilities on the Green Oaks campus.
“There is a certain mind-set and discipline that goes hand in hand with any intense weight program,” said Lewing. “It makes a ton of difference and shows a real commitment and shows exactly how hard they’re really willing to work to achieve their goals. They have really bought in and I couldn’t be prouder of how hard they’ve worked this summer.”
Maybe Lewing won’t have to wait too long for the wins to start piling up.