Head Football Coach and Athletic Director for Rome City Schools, John Reid, welcomed college signees and their families to the Rome High for Signing Day on February 5, 2020.

During his welcome, he offered a crowd gathered in the high school’s Performing Arts Center facts about the players signing that afternoon and information about the schools they have committed to attend in the fall. In addition, he added a statistic that mirrors the mission of the entire school system, a mission that says every student will graduate from Rome High School prepared for college or work.

“When we arrived here in 2015, we had no kids playing college football,” Reid said to the audience. “As of right now, including the four kids signing today, we have a total of 34 kids who have gone on to play college football. We are thinking another four athletes will be signing before the end of the year. And there are numerous other students who are not playing football, but are still going off to college. They are still successful and that is what it is all about to us.”

Each student athlete was invited to the stage to sign their commitments to play sports for colleges and universities next year.

Those students signing are as follows:

Tim Jones, Jr. – Cumberland University (football)
Nick Burge – Cumberland University (football)
Quantavious “Tic” Leslie – Western Kentucky University (football)
Jordan Neal – Cumberland University (football)
Nora Bailey – Centre College (cross country, track and field)

When asked how it feels to accomplish the goal of getting his players to college, and how that feeling equates to winning a big game under the Friday Night lights, Reid said that both are part of what he and his staff strive to achieve.

“When you win a ball game, there are over a hundred and something people who go into that effort,” Reid said. “On days like today, we are celebrating the individual accomplishments of our kids and it is about their efforts not only on the field, but in the classroom and in the weight room. So, to recognizing these types of accolades, that is really fun. There is no pressure to prepare for an opposing team.”

Because he is an educator, and all of Rome’s coaching staff members are as well, they require the bookwork before practicing the footwork.

“Some of our athletes are intrinsically motivated and we don’t have to do much. Others get off track, and we have a system in place to help them and to motivate them. We like to call them reminders,” Reid said with a chuckle as explained how they try to implant a healthy respect for education in their players.

“I would be embarrassed if we did not take care of our duties in the classroom, in the weight room and on the field,” Reid continued. “The first job in our coaches operation manual – their job description – is to monitor attendance, behavior and grades. It has nothing to do with a weight bar or positions, but that is our first job. I think that is what parents need to know and we tell them that this is a turnkey program. We invite them to be a part of our team. If they can take care of parenting, we will take care of academics, athletics and the arts. We welcome and appreciate their support, and days like today are a direct result of the hard work of our team.”

Nora Bailey was welcomed to the stage by her cross country coach, Luis Goya, and track and field coach, Nick Bridges. Goya echoed Reid’s sentiments regarding all of Rome High’s athletes. He also shared Reid’s goals for their students and wished Bailey well ahead of her journey to higher education.

“Nora is set to graduate in the top ten of her class. She is super intelligent and will likely not pay a dime to go to school,” Bridges said when talking about Bailey. “Her intellect, coupled with her athletic ability, is why she will have no problem competing at the next level. She is really a fantastic student and all-around wonderful person. Track is a numbers sport, so when looking at her times, she has been very successful. She crushed her own personal best record this past weekend at an indoor meet by over 30 seconds. Then she come back in the 1500 race and beat her old time by 19 seconds. She is putting in the work and I am hoping we do not have to double her this year. However, I don’t have one doubt that she can do it. She motivates other kids and leads by example. She was up this morning – because she knew she had this event – running in the rain. That is the dedication she shows to the program and I think she will do the same at Centre next year.”