Thoughts from an Alum

The Following is a open letter from former Panther Mark Schopp '07 to the current GC Football Team.

When I graduated from Greenville and retired from football I knew that going back as a spectator would be difficult. I thought that as years went on that it would get easier, but as the years do pass by I miss Greenville football more and more. While playing at Greenville I didn't realize what a special thing I was a part of, but now that I'm out in the real world it's very obvious that EMAP football is special.

Those who know me well know that I hate losing and really put a lot of weight on winning. When every aspect of the program's health looks as good as it does now, winning games on the field is a natural outcome. Here are a couple of my observations of the team from the sideline.

When trying to achieve greatness whether it be athletics, academics, relationships, or anything else in life it is important to have a strong and capable leader - that is what EMAP football has with Coach Walker. Coach Walk had been a coach during my entire time at Greenville and was actually my DB coach during my freshman year at Greenville. It's awesome to see how the players look up to Walk as their leader and the influence that he has on them.

There was one point towards the end of the game when Anderson was making a comeback and Coach Walk huddled the entire team. I couldn't tell exactly what he was saying to them, but I would guess that it was something about accepting the challenge that was before them by stepping up and making a play.

To see the guys break that huddle with such excitement and drive to win shows their belief and really made all of us EMAP alums in attendance wish that we were down in that huddle. The guys did step up and make a play, and as one of Walk's former players it was great seeing him get his first win as a head coach.

The first thing that I immediately noticed about the team is that it is much larger than past years. This is the first year that we have enough players to also have a JV schedule which will give players much needed game experience in their younger years. Not only does this show that the program is healthy, but it also shows the hard work that the coaches and players are putting into recruiting during the off season.

The second thing that I noticed pretty quickly (actually I noticed it at the first game this year) is that we are a physical team. Football is a physical sport, so it's good seeing that we like to put people down hard and shows that the players are working in the offseason.

The last thing that I noticed about the guys is that they love to compete and have great attitudes while doing it. You know that we're getting the right guys when we are playing hard and really competing to win, but at the same time not losing sight of the more important EMAP principles.

Greenville's football program has been extremely influential in my life and it is great to see that the program is continuously growing and moving forward. Coach Walk is a great man to have leading the charge and I know for a fact that all the EMAP alums have a ton of faith in him.

As much as I miss playing football at Greenville, it is awesome to know that other guys get an opportunity to play in the same type of atmosphere that I did and grow both as players on the field and men off of the field.

If I could say one thing to the current players it would be take advantage of the opportunity that you've been given and work your butt off - Lift, Run, and Study Film like crazy.

Really commit to the program so that you don't get to the end and wish that you would have done more or worked harder because unfortunately you don't get to do it over - trust me, I would if it was possible.

If I could say one thing to the parents it would be to realize what an awesome situation your kid is in and be thankful that he is getting to be part of something so special that will change his life for the better - there aren't many places in this world that push guys to do the right thing and be better men.

Go Panthers!

-Mark Schopp

Greenville College Football © 2009 by Jered Schneider.