The Cluster sat down with head football coach Bobby Lamb to find out more about what makes him tick and some clues to the future of Mercer football. The emphasis on athletics was evident from his love of the game and the way he addressed football. There is evident passion for what Coach Lamb does in the way he spoke about his job. However, job is a bit of an understatement, as Lamb’s true calling in life is football. From growing up in it, going to college for it, to working his entire life in it, Bobby Lamb can go to work every day happy that his job is his passion and not simply a 9-to-5. To him, it is the ultimate team game, one that emphasizes real teamwork and connections with one’s teammates. All the parts must work together to have success. Coach Lamb loves this facet of the game.
The Cluster (TC): Why did you pick to play football growing up?
Coach Bobby Lamb (BL): I was a multi-sport athlete growing up, playing football and running track among a host of other sports. However, I came from a very football-rich family.
TC: Why did you go into coaching football?
BL: The long tradition of coaching and playing has been in my family for years. My father was in coaching for 52 years: 35 in high school and 17 in different levels. There was an opening for a graduate assistantship in coaching after I got done playing at Furman and the rest is history. Basically, it’s in your blood after playing and with a family history like mine.
TC: Who do you follow in college football beyond your alma mater?
BL: As for my favorite football team, I am a huge Alabama Crimson Tide fan. My father loved Bear Bryant. It was a day when there would be just one game on television on Saturday, and more than likely it was Alabama. When Bear Bryant instituted the wishbone, my father used it for the high school team. As for my favorite player, it’s former Chicago Bear and Crimson tide running back Johnny Musso. Most people will never know who he was except for Alabama fans from long ago. (Musso was elected into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2000. Also known as the “Italian Stallion.”)
TC: What did you study at Furman?
BL: I didn’t study much. I attended Furman University from 1982 to 1985, earning a degree in Health and Exercise Sciences before moving on to get a Master’s in Education as well.
TC: What were some of the benefits of that impressive winning record against the BCS-level opposition while you were in school?
BL: The team defeated South Carolina in 1982, Georgia Tech the next year, and then NC State the following two years, all as a lower division school. It was part of a very impressive run I was lucky to be a part of. This type of surefire success is very helpful for a team’s growth, as it can spur on the growth of a program. We’ve got to get the team when they’re at a lower point and reeling, and even though BCS schools normally have the depth to win in the fourth quarter, it could happen. Don’t expect it at the beginning, though, but a few years in, anything is possible.
TC: How has recruiting gone so far, and what are the challenges that you face as a non-athletic scholarship football squad?
BL: I’m very excited to be working at a school where academics do not find themselves shafted by a major athletics department. These bring in a high class of athletes that don’t forget about school, which is something Mercer prides itself in. While recruiting has been a great experience so far in trying to get the name of Mercer out there, recruiting for a non-scholarship football team that prides itself on academic excellence is a very delicate balance. I enjoy the process, and I can’t wait to get into December and later parts of recruiting where communication with the players is finally allowed.
TC: What are you and your staff currently doing?
BL: My staff and I are slowly putting together the pieces of puzzle of the Mercer football program. We are putting together the plans for the team’s uniforms, which should tentatively be announced by the beginning of next year. They are designing their building and fieldhouse that will be a part of the new stadium.
TC: Who inspires you?
BL: My greatest inspiration is his father, a man with over 50 years of experience in coaching football, including the past 17 at the University of Georgia, where he just retired this year out of the office of high school relations and recruiting. My father was more than just a coach, and this philosophy stuck with me as I grew out of childhood and into the game of football permanently. My father had close, personal connections with his players, and I was able to be involved at a very early age. I took this type of coaching with me for my own career.
TC: What do you think of conference realignment?
BL: I am very opposed to it. I am very old-school, and to think of rivalries being lost in the interest of money is appalling. Also, the game is getting beyond a proper experience for a student-athlete. It’s all about the bottom line. It is out of control.
TC: Bowls or playoffs?
BL: Playoffs, easy. I played in the system and coached it. It really can’t be duplicated. Instead of neutral fields, games would be home and away, showing home field advantage. It’s exhilarating. A playoff would generate more drama, intrigue, and passion instead of bowl games.
In essence, Coach Lamb is a charismatic individual who will be a great head coach at Mercer as the program begins. He has been in touch with Bill Curry at Georgia State, a place where a football team recently came to the campus. He has also spoken with officials from Stetson and Campbell, places where football is freshly stirring
Click here for the entire video chat with the new head coach. Special thanks to Mercer Athletics for their assistance in shooting the video.
Coaching Spotlight: football head coach, Bobby Lamb