It’s been a special time for Callaway coach
Published 12:37 pm Wednesday, May 29, 2019
By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY
When Pete Wiggins became Callaway High’s head football coach before the 2005 season, he set out to put together a staff of trusted people he’d feel comfortable working alongside.
One of the first men brought aboard was Kareem Douhne, a young coach who’d recently graduated from West Georgia.
That decision, it turns out, was one that worked out tremendously well for Wiggins, for Douhne, and for the program.
For 14 seasons Douhne has been the wide-receivers coach at Callaway, and he has tutored players who not only performed at a high level in high school but went on to succeed on the collegiate level as well.
Douhne’s contributions have helped the Cavaliers enjoy remarkable success, winning numerous region championships while making several deep runs in the state playoffs.
“Coach Douhne has been with us for 14 years, and he’s always brought great energy to the class room and to the field,” Wiggins said. “He’s a big-hearted person that cares for kids, and they always respond to him well. He always had a way to motivate students in the class room, and guys on the field, to reach higher levels. He’s just a very special person.”
When a new season begins in August, someone else will be coaching the wide receivers for the first time since 2004.
Douhne has accepted a teaching job at Hollis Hand Elementary School, and he’ll no longer be coaching at Callaway, ending what has been a special relationship between a school and a coach.
“That was the place to be. I was happy there, and loved it,” Douhne said. “I couldn’t see myself going anywhere else during that time. It was really a blessing. I learned so much from coach Wiggins and the staff, and the faculty, too. I really enjoyed it. I just felt a different calling in my life, and just trying something new. It’ll be fun being at school with my kids. I’ll be going a little different route.”
While Douhne won’t be an official member of Callaway’s staff any longer, he hopes to still be involved with the program, just in a different capacity.
While teaching the Xs and Os is an important part of the job and one Douhne takes seriously, he also savors the mentoring aspect that comes with being a coach.
“I’m still going to be a part of the team, hopefully doing some team devotionals, and being a mentor to those boys,” Douhne said. “That’s what I really enjoy the most. Obviously coaching football, track and tennis was special in itself, but most important was teaching them how to be good people, just how to be a respectful person. That was really my passion was being a mentor.”
Wiggins will be happy to have Douhne involved with the team, no matter the capacity.
“Coach Douhne has been, and always will be a part of our family,” Wiggins said. “He’s always brought a lot to the table as far as relationships he has with the kids in the school building and on the field, but also with parents and coaches. He’s such a positive person.”
Douhne grew up in Murray County and was a standout football player under coach Bill Napier.
Douhne was a wide receiver at Presbyterian College before transferring to the University of West Georgia where he received his bachelor’s degree.
With a degree in hand Douhne was exploring his post-college options when he was an offered a position on Callaway’s staff.
Douhne accepted, and the rest is history.
The Cavaliers have been in the state playoffs every year since 2006.
Five times during that 13-year stretch they’ve made it at least as far as the state quarterfinals, and they’ve been to the semifinals three times since 2013.
Over the years, Douhne has coached a cavalcade of gifted wide receivers including Dra Bray, Terry Godwin, Braylon Sanders, Dre Martin, and on and on.
“That part I will miss, just seeing those guys grow, and seeing where the Lord leads them. seeing them perform and be successful at the next level is so awesome,” Douhne said. “And continuing that relationship with them. They always come back and see me. I’ve already talked to a bunch of them about coming to Hollis Hand to talk. I’ll definitely keep in touch with those guys.”
Wiggins always knew that the wide-receiver corps would be in find hands with Douhne at the helm.
“He’s always been able to get the best out of the kids and help them get to a different level,” Wiggins said. “Again, I think that’s something else that makes him so special.”
For Douhne, Callaway has been more than just a place to work, it has been like a second home.
Oftentimes, his children Brody and Lola Kate could be found at the school, following dad around.
“They love Callaway football, and they’re always there,” Douhne said. “If you see me there, you see my kids running behind me. That’s encouraged. The kids love it there, and the coaches know them. They’re like a part of the team.”
On Douhne’s final day as a teacher at Callaway, his fellow coaches threw a surprise party for him, and he said that was a “special” moment.
“I had no clue,” Douhne said. “It was neat, just the outpouring of support and appreciation. It was nice to see. Words can’t really describe. It was emotional being my last week, my last day, and my last graduation. It was really nice to end it that way.”
Douhne was with the team during spring practice, working with a talented group of wide receivers. Douhne takes satisfaction in knowing that whoever the new coach is will be walking into an excellent situation.
“He’s going to have a nice talented crop of guys,” Douhne said. “There’s a core of them, really talented guys that played a lot last year. Antinez Blount, and Jymere Jones, and Jacob Freeman, and Markus Morman. You’ve just got to manage those guys. They’re good football players.”