Hometown Spirit: Central High's Coach Deploys To Iraq

We're taking you on and off the field this football season with our special series, Hometown Spirit. This, week we're talking about the people and places behind Central and Eufaula High schools, and their communities.

Today, we're taliking about the unique situation behind one of Central High's football coaches.

For the last decade, Assistant Coach Tommy Vickers has been on the sidelines at nearly every Central High football game.

This year, he's taking a time out as he gets ready to deploy to Iraq.

"What's really going to be tough is Friday nights, when I'm listening to the game on the internet from Iraq. It will be about four in the morning when I'm listening to the game, so it will be tough knowing I'm not there with them," said Lt. Colonel Tommy Vickers.

Coaching has always been close to Lt. Colonel Vicker's heart. He decided he wanted to be a coach in college.

So as he rose in the military ranks, he was able to put his coaching skills to good use, on and off the field.

"Coaching and being in the military is a a lot of the same. You got to motivate and train. You're training young men in the sport of football, rather than soldiering," said Lt. Colonel Vickers.

Football means so much to this military leader that he keeps a Central High good luck charm wherever he goes.

"I acutally got a football in my office, that whenever I need time to think, I pick it up and twirl it in my hands to help me relax and focus," he said.

While he's away, Coach Vickers still has a Central High source to keep him connected to his players.

"My wife is an English teacher there, and she tells all my players I'm thinking about them. I plan on setting up a conference call before we actually go over to let them know I'm thinking about them, and to wish them luck on the upcoming season," he said.

Coach Vickers hopes to get back as soon as possible but there are still some players who hee'll never coach again.

"It was an emotional moment when I had to tell them I was leaving for a year, especially the guys going to be seniors. I definitely wish them the best of luck in their senior year, and my thoughts and prayers will be with them the rest of the season, and I hope the student body has a great school year and I'll be anxious to return next year and pick back up," said Lt. Colonel Vickers.

Lt. Colonel Tommy Vickers says he should be back at the end of may next year. Then he can help with the team's summer workouts