PINETOPS – Jonathan Cobb never thought he would follow in his father Raymond Cobb's footsteps. But as of late, he has done just that one step after another. His father became a teacher, Jonathan Cobb became a teacher. His father has one son, Jonathan Cobb has one son. His father became a football head coach, and now Jonathan Cobb is a football head coach.
His father, a 25-year veteran head coach, handed down the reigns to him Monday during a press conference at SouthWest Edgecombe High School. Jonathan Cobb was offered the job after he and others went in front of a panel Saturday that was made up of players, parents, community leaders, athletic director Sandra Langley and principal Marc Whichard. Cobb was the unanimous choice by the panel.
Jonathan Cobb had been an assistant under his father for six years and was the head JV coach for four. He went undefeated in 2010 before hanging up the whistle for a year. Now, Jonathan Cobb is back in the coaching business and is taking over at his alma mater.
"I feel so honored that the administration and the community together have given me this opportunity," Jonathan Cobb said. "I am honored that they believe in me to take over and become my fathers replacement because he has had an outstanding career."
The past week has been a blessing for Jonathan Cobb. He sat with excitement at the press conference Monday. He and his wife, Ashley, had their first child, Raymond Davis Cobb, Tuesday Dec. 4 which added to Cobb's excitement.
"I have been very blessed by God this week," Jonathan Cobb said. "I love Edgecombe County and it is a blessing to come back and be a head coach here where I went to school."
Jonathan Cobb is taking over a program that has done a 360 degree turnaround in the past nine years after his father took over in 2004. He said there is no place like home. Jonathan Cobb graduated from SouthWest in 2001 and went on to further his education at East Carolina University.
While at East Carolina, Jonathan Cobb did an internship under former Pirates head coach Skip Holtz. While doing the internship, Jonathan Cobb heard the legendary coach Lou Holtz speak to the Pirates coaching staff.
The younger Cobb has big shoes to fill, because he is following a high school football legend. His father finished his career with a 253-79 record and two state championships.
" I am certainly proud of him for this day," Raymond Cobb said. "Jonathan is a bright young man and is very smart. I was excited when he decided to get back into teaching and coaching. All of this may have happened quicker then what we had thought for this opportunity to come but I am just proud of him."
Jonathan Cobb knows that he has a lot of work ahead of him, but he feels he will be up to the challenge. He has watched and learned about the game from his father since he joined the coaching staff at SouthWest and was an assistant on the JV team.
"I grew up in a football house and my love for the game comes from my dad," Jonathan Cobb said. "Everything I know about coaching I have learned from him. Words just can't even describe how blessed and lucky I feel to start right here at SouthWest and start my head coaching career. I'm going to build on the foundation that my father has put into place."
The foundation that Raymond Cobb built and put into place at SouthWest has been a positive one. Before he arrived at SouthWest in 2004, the Cougars program was in downward spiral and had only produced two winning seasons since the 1987 season.
Jonathan is going to meet new challenges head on, which is continuing to build the football program in an upward direction and continue where his father left off.
"I want to build a championship program here," Jonathan Cobb said. "I want to make this one of the best programs around. This is my home and I want this school to be successful."
Jonathan Cobb knows what it takes to win, because he has watched and paced behind his father on the Cougars sideline and learned about the game. Jonathan Cobb plans on keeping the same offensive scheme in place that his father has ran during his career. The task won't be an easy one for Jonathan Cobb, but he is up to the big challenge. He will inherit only 19 returning players from this years team. He does get some key players back, which include quarterback Quay Wooten, running back Barry Smith, fullbacks Devontrell Hyman and Devonte Williams.
"There are going to be obstacles, because there are to every new thing that you do and also a learning curve," Jonathan Cobb said. "I have coached as an assistant on the varsity and I learned a lot."
The biggest challenge that Jonathan sees is the players, because sometimes when a new coach takes over the players can be a little unsure about the new coach. He knows that he is going to have to earn the players trust and respect early on.
" I think my past years as a head coach will help me get the players respect," Jonathan Cobb said. "I am going to have to get in there and develop a relationship with the players as quickly as I can. I have to get them to trust me."
Jonathan is going to try and follow his fathers footsteps by building strong relationships with his players and become a role model and father figure to them.
Jonathan Cobb will begin building his coaching staff from the ground up. He plans on keeping some of the the coaches that coached under his father.
"There is a great nucleolus here of coaches," Jonathan Cobb said. "That is another thing I am lucky to walk into with this program."
Jonathan Cobb plans on keeping his father in the program as well, but isn't sure what role that will be right now. They plan on sitting down and talking about what role or roles Raymond Cobb will play.
"We're going to sit down and look at our options," Jonathan Cobb said. "We will figure it out one person and one step at a time."
Raymond Cobb said he is looking forward to continue working with the Cougars program from behind the scenes or in whatever role he needs to help his son.
"It's probably going to be a little behind the scenes at the beginning," Raymond Cobb said. "We will discuss it as we go."