A type of homecoming

Published 11:57 am Saturday, November 14, 2009

COURTLAND—Throughout his tenure at Southampton High School, head football coach Littleton Parker has seen his fair share of players come and go. He has seen players return as coaches, but never has he had two former players return as coaches at one time.

This year Todd Faison, quarterback coach, and Vernon Bryant, defensive line coach, assisted Littleton Parker. Both played under Parker during the early years of the new millennium. Faison played from 2001-03 at the quarterback position, while Bryant played defensive tackle from 1999-2002.

“It’s been a pleasure having them back,” said Parker. “They know your system. You know what kind of individuals they are.”

Faison went on to play at Christopher Newport University.

“Parker taught me a lot of things while I was here,” said Faison. “It made the transition a little bit easier because he taught us so much here. When I did go off to CNU, it was a lot easier to make the transition.”

When Faison came back as a coach, he wanted to not only bring a positive attitude to the team but also start building a winning tradition.

“I wanted to get the guys to start practicing like winners and finishing games like winners,” Faison said. “I just want to bring a positive approach. I want to be a role model for the players.”

Bryant went on to play at Hampton University, where he used his skills to help the Pirates claim three Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) championships.

“It was kind of easy making the transition because the practices were a whole lot harder in high school compared to the ones in college,” Bryant said. “All I had to get used to was the speed of the game in college. Everything else was fairly easy to catch on to, thanks to everything I learned under Parker and while playing at Southampton.”

The thing that Bryant wanted to bring to the team was discipline.

“I want to build young men,” said Bryant. “I just want to instill discipline in them every day.”

Parker agreed that both Faison and Bryant have a better understanding of the game.

When it comes to dealing with the transition from player to coach, Parker said, “coming back as a coach, it’s a new ballgame. It was new for them, but they did a tremendous job adjusting to being coaches because they were both outstanding young men as players. I never had a problem with either one of them. But, when you come back as a coach, you have to learn to be a coach. They both have adjusted to that very well.”

Bryant and Faison both agree that they want to finish up the season strong. Bryant wants to build on the players’ experience in preparation for next season.

“I want to see some of the guys step up and see who our ball players are for next year,” Bryant said.

Said Faison: “I just want to get as many guys as we can returning and work hard in the off-season, so we can build on this season.”

Parker thinks that when you have players in high school, and get them ready to play, you lose them to graduation.

“Just when you get them ready to excel, you lose them to graduation,” Parker said. “I know a lot of times you say, ‘Well, if I could have that kid for another year,’ but by the time you get that individual to be a quality ball player in high school, he graduates. Then you have to start that process all over.”

“Vernon and Todd do have a better understanding of the game,” Parker added. “They are able to bring that experience back here to coach at Southampton.”