“This camp is all about work ethic,” said Love, who replaced Antonio Wade. “I told them during my interview before we can start getting anywhere close to skill development we must first focus on character development.
“We got to focus on the things that the older generations used to cherish and value — work ethic, a hard day’s work for a good day’s pay,” Love said. “That is what I’m going for right now.”
From June 2 to 6, Forest Park competed against Best Academy, Lovejoy, Jonesboro and Westlake with no more than the lowest level of bragging rights at stake.
“We’re going back in the direction of building from the ground up and I’m excited,” said Love on June 4. “I see the transformation. On Sunday, Lovejoy waxed us and today we just stood toe to toe with them, swinging blows. So I’m excited because that was without a set offense and a press break.”
As far as Love, this is his first head coaching job at the high school level even though he has nearly 30 years of experience. Love credited coach Jamie Risberg of Viera High in Florida and Brett Fink, an assistant coach with the UCF women’s team, as major reasons behind his success.
“They helped set the foundation for me to be where I’m at today,” Love said.
Unlike Risberg and Fink, Love will be stepping a little outside of his comfort zone since being the lead voice for boys is still somewhat new.
“I vowed I would never become coach boys because I considered the boys to be the dark side,” he said while grinning. “What I loved about girls is that you just had to let them know that you cared about them and they would run through a brick wall for you. Boys, on the other hand, you got to prove you know what you are doing.”
With work ethic, character development and defense, Love believes the Panthers can recover from last season’s 4-22 record.
“Offense is a personality thing but defense is character,” he said. “Where you get down to the heart and you know what a man has in his chest. Defense expresses the character of a young player. That is why I focus on defense.”