Vincent creates hype with new athletic facility

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Managing Editor

VINCENT – Sitting on a weight bench waiting to talk about the upcoming high school football season, Vincent head coach Lucas Weatherford beamed with excitement on Wednesday, June 23.

Sitting comfortably on the brand new bench, Weatherford was in an air-conditioned room with state-of-the-art branded weight equipment surrounding him on all sides.

That was a shift from his first three seasons with the program, which featured a weight room the size of a large closet with five racks pushed together that often flooded and didn’t have working air condition much of the time.

On Wednesday, July 14, however, Vincent Middle High School unveiled the new athletic facility featuring a brand new standalone weight room with an office and an athletic trainer area.

“We went from a dungeon to almost a pool house,” Weatherford said. “It’s like moving from that first apartment and into your first new house. You’re like ‘Whoa, I’ve got room.’ I don’t have any good words for it, it’s just awesome to see the look on the kids’ faces when they come in every day. It’s a complete 180.”

During the special ribbon cutting, the school’s principal as well as mayors from Vincent, Harpersville and Westover were all in attendance to celebrate the special occasion.

Weatherford said the most important factor in deciding to build the new facility was making the kids feel pride in being at Vincent.

“The big thing ever since I got here was trying to make these kids feel like they’re just as important as the Chelsea’s, Helena’s, Oak Mountain’s and Thompson’s of the world,” Weatherford said. “They see how those places are in the news and social media, and I feel like there is kind of a sense here that ‘Well, we’re just Vincent. This is as good as we can get.’ But now, I feel like they actually have something that is their own that they can be proud of.”

The weight room features six standalone racks with brand new weights and benches, all of which is branded with the school’s logo. In addition to those perks, the walls are wrapped in pictures from several different sports with inspirational text.

“We felt like this was important enough to make this investment to make the athletes feel like they’re important enough,” Weatherford said. “It’s been huge for the program.”

He added that the kids have come in early and ready to work every day, and even want to do extra.

“Our culture is on the right track and this has just been like an energy drink added to it,” he said. “The first two summers, I’d average 5-10 young JV guys on a good day and we’ve been averaging 20 of those younger guys this summer, which is huge. They’re excited about it and proud of it.”

The football program as a whole now has 55 total players coming through on a daily basis.

Weatherford also said it was more than just a benefit to the football program because of what it will allow each of the school’s sports to do.

“From a school standpoint, this helps create unity. Everybody is on the same page now; everybody is bought into it. We’re doing the same weight program with all sports now,” he said. “It’s going to help every sport, not just football. The girls will be in here too, and they haven’t had anything like this since I’ve been here. It helps the football program, obviously, but the big picture is that it helps everybody at Vincent.”

Since first using the program, coaches have noticed a renewed sense of belief and pride from the athletes, who are treating the new equipment like it’s their own.