Beckett said being able to get to know his players now will put everyone involved at an advantage for the start of the season. At this point, Beckett is trying to build up the program one step at a time.
“I’m just trying to win today and then try to win tomorrow,” he said. “I have some vision for some things, some things that I want to do but right now, we’re heavy in the evaluation period of just evaluating and getting to know these kids which is really good. Mr. [(Principal) Craig] Bates brought me in this spring. Talking about my last situation, I didn’t get in until the middle of the summer and I felt like our first year was gone because I didn’t know the kids. We’re getting to know the kids here, which is good. We’re in a tough region. Having been in north Alabama, I feel like south is a little tougher just to be honest with you, so it will be a challenge.”
Collinsville struggled in Beckett’s first year on the job, finishing with a 3-7 record. However, the team went on to make the playoffs for five consecutive years from 2008-2012 including two regional championships in 2010 and 2011.
Winterboro Principal Craig Bates explained the school was careful and deliberate in choosing Beckett to be Winterboro’s new head football coach.
“We had a job posting earlier in the year and I was contacted by coach Beckett through email and set up correspondence with him and several other people that we brought in to interview,” Bates said. “We had an interview panel that included current coaches, central office administrators and some parents that have children that play football. We just narrowed it down from there. After a long, careful consideration of all the candidates, he rose to the top as the person we wanted to come to Winterboro.”
Beckett said more than anything, it was Principal Bates that sold him on the idea to come to Winterboro.
“Mr. Bates, I kind of shared the vision he had,” Beckett said. “I like what he had to say as a principal. That was really big. I’ve had some opportunities at some bigger schools, but I was comfortable. We were in a pretty good situation, we were doing well. I really liked his vision and what he is doing here. We had some similarities between the schools, but he wants to make a commitment in several ways and I like that and I like what he had to say. The kids seem really good.”
Another attraction bringing Beckett to Winterboro is his roots in the area.
“My dad’s a graduate here, played here for a while and my dad ended up having a long coaching career,” he said. “All my family is from here. My parents, my grandparents and all were from Sycamore, Ala. My grandfather’s actually got some land and that’s going to make it an easy transition. It’s tough to leave when things are going good but I’m excited.”
At Winterboro, Beckett will also serve as athletic director for all boys’ sports.
“That, among other things was part of the draw,” Beckett said. “I did like that. The schedule is a little better, just some of the things commitment-wise about what he [Bates] was going to try to do to help us was a whole lot better, what jointly our plans were for the Booster Club, I said ‘Hey, now, I like that.’ So, I would say Mr. Bates was a big part of it. Mrs. [Suzanne] Lacey at the same time, I think she runs a great system.”
Bates believes a good foundation is in place at Winterboro, but hopes Beckett is able to move Winterboro to a higher level.
“Our expectations are, of course, to lead our young men on the football team and to lead our coaches that are going to be working with him and assisting him and to help develop the program,” Bates said. “We already have a good program in place at Winterboro. We’ve had success in the past and we have a lot of good athletes at the school. We expect him to build on that past success and to continue to take the program upward to where we believe it can be athletically.”