They had lunch at a trendy Charleston restaurant, wear personalized clothing and work out in a fitness center that is just south of palatial.
Lifestyles of the rich and famous?
No. Meet the St. John’s High School football team.
Under new coach Brad Bowles, things are different at the small Johns Island school.
Bowles has stressed weight lifting, and rewarded his players who met their goals by treating them to lunch at 82 Queen in downtown Charleston. Those players also will wear their names on the back of their jerseys.
And then there’s the refurbished weight room.
“We wanted to make it a place that is a focal room at school,” Bowles said. “We made it a place where players and coaches want to be.”
The Islanders worked hard over the summer and it paid off as they posted a 36-24 victory over North Charleston last week in the season-opener for both teams. The Islanders hope to keep the momentum going Friday in the home-opener against James Island.
The lunch at 82 Queen might have been the social event of the summer for the Islander players.
“They had a whole room sectioned off,” Bowles said. “The players were very appreciative.”
That includes talented running back Tresvon Coakley, one of the top players on the team. He rushed for nearly 1,000 yards despite playing most of last season with a sore knee (torn meniscus).
“The food was great,” Coakley said. “They had food I never tasted before. All of the players enjoyed it.”
The 31-year-old Bowles graduated from Science Hill High School in Johnson City, Tenn., the same school South Carolina football coach Steve Spurrier attended.
“This is the part people get wrong,” Bowles said. “I didn’t meet Steve Spurrier in high school. I didn’t meet him until he came to Goose Creek to recruit Brandon Shell.”
Bowles, who received a degree in physical education from East Tennessee State in 2004, joined coach Chuck Reedy’s staff at Goose Creek in 2009. He coached wide receivers the first year and linebackers from 2010-2012.
“Coach Reedy will always hire young, eager coaches,” Bowles said. “He’s great to work with and I learned a lot from him. He built the program to the best one in the state.”
Reedy’s philosophy is to get players in the weight room before they are in high school. Bowles is trying to do the same thing.
“It’s a little more difficult here,” Bowles said. They get here at 4:30, and the varsity is done and gone.”
Bowles knows all about the rich football history at St. John’s under legendary coach Bob Biggerstaff.
“He set the standard around here,” Bowles said. “Now, it’s up to the team. If you have goals and want to achieve them, you have to take that next step. They’ve had a lot of success here. They’ve put players in college and pro ball. Now, we have to keep it going.”