Former Livingstone player succeeding as assistant coach
Published 12:00 am Sunday, October 5, 2014
In two years as a wide receiver for Livingstone, Carl N. James, Jr. caught approximately 50 passes and scored four touchdowns. But the team went a combined 3-17 in James’ two seasons for the Blue Bears.
That was 2011 and 2012. What a difference a few years make.
The Blue Bears are 4-1, including a 1-1 conference record. James, who earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration from Livingstone in May, is now coaching the position he played for Livingstone.
“I thank God for blessing me with the opportunity to coach, and I want to make the best of it,” James said. “I had never coached before, not even a Pop Warner team, and it’s a great honor to be coaching at my alma mater.”
James couldn’t have picked a better time to become an assistant football coach at Livingstone. The Blue Bears are riding high after getting off to their best start since the 1998 season, when they won their second consecutive Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association championship.
James is in charge of an outstanding group of wide receivers led by Jalen Hendricks. Hendricks was the CIAA Receiver of the Week after catching an impressive five touchdown passes from quarterback Drew Powell in the team’s season-opening win against Millersville (Pa.). Other Blue Bear wide receivers are William Tatum, Arthur Bowden and Brandon Bennett.
Hendricks caught two touchdown passes in Saturday’s loss to rival Elizabeth City State. Though Hendricks is enjoying success at wide receiver, don’t expect James — who is from Williston, Florida, and practices humility every chance he gets — to take all of the credit.
“The other coaches have really been helpful to me because I’m the youngest on the coaching staff,” he said. “If I have a question, they help me out. All of the coaches have really taken me under their wings and shown me the ropes.”
James said he’s also gotten help from student assistant Avery Collins. He and Collins became friends during their days at Reedley College in Reedley, California.
James wanted to play professional football after college, but he said his backup plans were becoming a sports agent or a football coach. Even so, he discussed coach Daryl Williams’ offer with parents Carl and Harriet James before accepting it.
“They told me to go for it because it was a great opportunity to get into coaching at such a young age,” he said. “They’re very supportive of me, and I call them after every game. They plan to come up next week for our homecoming game against Saint Augustine’s.”
Williams said he saw something in James and is proud to have him on the sidelines.
“Carl’s a good motivator,” Williams said. “And the fact that he’s not too much older than some of the players makes it easy for them to relate to him.”