Pardue settling in at LaGrange College
By Kevin Eckleberry
LAGRANGE – They’ve made him feel at home.
In early February, Steve Pardue was hired to become the third head coach in the history of the LaGrange College football program.
Pardue has settled into his new office, adorning the walls with mementos of his decades into the coaching business, and he has set out to get his team ready for a season that will begin on Sept. 2 against Birmingham-Southern.
For Pardue, one of the great pleasures of his first few months on the job has been the interactions he has had with the other members of the LaGrange College athletic family.
“Probably the neatest thing to me is, the people you meet here are willing to help you so much,” said Pardue, who has replaced Matt Mumme, who left to become the offensive coordinator at New Mexico. “And they truly love LaGrange College. You see that almost the instant you start working here. And so many of them are LaGrange College graduates.”
Pardue said “everything’s going good” so far as he embarks on the latest challenge in an extraordinarily successfully coaching career that has been highlighted by three state championships at LaGrange High.
While Pardue has spent much of his time looking to build up the roster through the recruiting process, he also led the players currently on the team through two weeks of spring practice earlier this month.
During the summer, Pardue said “we’ll go to a bunch of camps to see kids, and we’ll take a break in June, take two or three weeks off, and then we’ll come back and be ready to go.”
Preseason practice begins in August, and the team will have less than a month to prepare for the first game.
Working alongside Pardue will be some familiar faces, men who coached with him during his days at LaGrange High.
David Pleasants will be the offensive coordinator and offensive-line coach, and Thomas Crocker will coach the linebackers.
There will also be a handful of hold-overs from last year’s coaching staff, including assistant head coach and defensive coordinator Earl Chambers, wide receivers coach Felton Huggins, and defensive line coach Kendall Todd.
“These are people that know me,” Pardue said of Pleasants and Crocker. “And I couldn’t ask for more from the guys I’ve inherited.”
While Pardue is new to LaGrange College, he has been a part of the LaGrange community for more than 25 years.
He came to LaGrange High in 1991 as an assistant coach, and he took over as head coach in 1994 and remained in that position through 2010.
During his time at LaGrange, Pardue had a 161-45 record, and his teams won state championships in 2001, 2003 and 2004.
After leaving LaGrange, Pardue was an assistant coach at the University of Kentucky and the head coach at East Coweta for three seasons.
Now, he’s back home, and looking to help elevate a program that has just one winning season in its 11-year history.
“I told the kids, I have so many fond memories at Callaway Stadium,” Pardue said. “So I look to build on those, and make some bigger ones.”