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Chad sees green — but not as coach

There’s been a constant theme in terms of style and number for Chad Pennington, NFL quarterback and former Webb School and Marshall University standout.

“I’ve been green and number ten since the eighth-grade,” Pennington said about his jersey number and the colors of the Spartans, MU Thundering Herd and his NFL team, the New York Jets.

While itching to coach after his NFL playing days are over, Pennington said he won’t be seeking green money as a primary motivation.

“I see myself coaching high school football somewhere, I don’t know where it will be,” the projected Jets starting quarterback in 2006 said after the Wednesday session of the 16th-Annual Pennington Quarterback, Receiver and Specialty Camp July 11-13 at Webb School.

“I believe high school football is the purest form of football, the love of the game is there with the kids. There’s no hidden agenda,” he added. “There’s no contracts to worry about. It’s all for the love of the game.

“To me there’s nothing more exciting than Friday night football. I’ve been fortunate to play on Friday nights, Saturday and Sunday, and I would take the Friday night experience over any of those.”

Pennington said he’s seen “how college coaches work, I’ve seen the type of schedules they have ... pro coaches have” and wants no part of such a hectic pace.

“When I’m done playing football, I want to be able to sit back and enjoy building a high school program, enjoy touching the lives of young kids during their teenage years, they’re so impressionable and you can really make a difference,” Pennington said.

If the timing is right — should long-time Webb head coach Dave Meske retire in a few years and Pennington retire from pro football — and the job come open, “I would seriously think about that,” he said. “I love this school and I love the people here and I enjoy coming back and giving back.”

Meske is a big reason Pennington is so eager to come back. “Coach Meske, his greatest attribute is understanding how to teach kids and love kids [and] show them respect. .... He’s always there for his kids and players no matter what. And he’s been a big part of my success,” he said.

The camp was started in 1991 by his father, Elwood Pennington, current Webb assistant coach who was offensive coordinator for the 1996 Class 2A state champ Spartans 10 years after serving as defensive coordinator for Class AAA state champion Halls.

“I grew up in the camp,” said Chad, a Webb freshman at the first camp. “I coached in the camp when I was in college, and dad turned it over to me when I turned pro.

“I enjoy teaching them, I enjoy showing that I care about them, and that I care that they’re getting good attention, they’re getting good coaching and instruction,” the Jets QB added. “And we have people out here who care what type people they’re trying to be.”

Between 80 and 90 campers ages eighth-grade to high school senior participated — in addition to a featuring a separate workout area for younger campers.

Camp participant Dawson Halliday, Bearden High School rising junior quarterback who is projected to be the Bulldogs’ starter, praised Pennington for being “a great Christian man.”

Also, “He know the game backwards and forward — he’s a real student of the game,” Halliday said, adding that Pennington told the young BHS quarterback to ‘keep your eyes on the flat defender’ when reading pass patterns.

Pennington added, “I enjoy keeping the camp small to where each camper can good, individual attention. I don’t just sit back with a bullhorn — I coach at the camp. These kids have paid good, hard-earned money to come here and get good instruction, and that’s what we try and give ’em.”

Pennington and wife, Robin, have two sons: Cole, 2, and Luke, 5-weeks-old.


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