From the sideline to the bleachers
Published 1:07 pm Saturday, July 14, 2007
Kevin Travis, Sports Editor
When the Southside Seahawks hit the field for their season opener Aug. 24 at Rosewood, a key ingredient to their successful mix will be missing.
I know if I’m at the Seahawks’ home game Aug. 31 against Pamlico, I’ll be doing constant double-takes, searching for the man in the head set patrolling the sideline.
Coach DeWayne Kellum and the Southside Seahawks just seemed to go hand-in-hand. After eight years with the program, building it from scratch and turning it into one of the dominant Class 1-A teams in the state, Kellum decided to step away.
It’s not that Kellum didn’t like leading his Seahawks into battle each Friday night.
I know he loved it. I know he loved the competition. I know he loved; check that, loves the game.
But there’s more to football than Friday nights.
In the grand scheme of things, Kellum wasn’t happy with his situation. I’m a firm believer that you have to do what makes you happy.
Kellum leaves the Seahawks in pretty good shape. Southside had a down year, if you can call a 7-5 record a down year, in 2006. However, a handful of key players return.
The Seahawks qualified for the playoffs. Kellum led the team to an above .500 mark for the fifth straight season.
Most teams in the state would crave a 7-5 record. But when you go 13-1, 14-1, 10-3 and 12-4 in the previous four seasons, you can see why 7-5 isn’t up to standard.
Southside is losing an exceptional coach in Kellum. He was a three-time Washington Daily News’ Football Coach of the Year.
Kellum was once voted the Associated Press’ Coach of the Year.
He coached in the 2005 Oasis Shrine East-West All-Star Game.
Kellum guided Southside to a handful of conference championships.
He twice led his team, in 2002 and 2004, to the 1-A state championship game.
Kellum has compiled 141 wins in his coaching career, 65 of them at Southside. He recorded his 100th win against Rosewood, the team Southside opens the season with this year, with a 42-36 nod on Sept. 12, 2003.
Several of Kellum’s players have gone on to play college football. Bryan Haywood is having a solid career at North Carolina Wesleyan, where he’s joined by former Seahawk Davelle Whitney. Zack Squires (Chowan), Emmanuel Moore (Chowan) and Clarence Baker (Methodist) are a few others who have tasted football life outside of Southside.
Those are nice notches on Kellum’s belt, along with the state championship appearances and the coaches of the year awards.
However, I think Kellum’s favorite memories center around his family. Southside Seahawks’ football was definitely a family affair as his son, Coby, played for his father. Coby caught the final pass for Southside in the 2005 season, an 11-yard reception in a 20-14 loss to Northampton-West in the NCHSAA Class 1-A East Regional game.
Meanwhile, Kellum’s daughter, Carmen, was a cheerleader for the Seahawks.
I know it wasn’t easy for Kellum to walk away from the Seahawks, but he’ll now get the chance to watch his youngest son, Cole, play football at Chocowinity Middle School.
Kellum is a classy guy. He is a terrific coach and he doesn’t hold back any punches when interviewed after games.
Football season won’t be the same without him.
It won’t be an easy transition from the sideline to the bleachers for Kellum, but it’s once that is well deserved.
I just hope he gets the itch to return to coaching at an area school again soon.
For now, coach, enjoy your role as a “fan” and as a “dad.”
You’ve earned it.
Kevin Travis is the Sports Editor of the Washington Daily News. You may reach him at 940-4217 or by email at Kevin@wdnweb.com.