Head coach under the Friday night lights, parks and rec coach on Saturday mornings: Jarred Pike is always on a sideline somewhere

Published 8:00 am Saturday, November 4, 2023

Athletics are in Jarred Pike’s DNA. It is not inherited, but Pike has known that he wanted to stay around athletics since he was young.

“I’ve been coaching since I was about 18,” Pike said. “I was going into physical therapy, but I thought about it and decided I didn’t want to go to school for two more years.

“I had been coaching [at Lafayette Christian] during my entire time in college and knew that once I wasn’t going to do physical therapy this is what I wanted to do.”

Pike started coaching at Lafayette Christian School part-time immediately after graduating from the school while he was attending Columbus State. Now, he is the head high school football coach for the Cougars after working his way up.

“I called the defense for the middle school and then for a while, and then you know, I was like 20 so they’re not going to be like ‘hey, you’re the head coach of the high school team,” Pike said. “I ended up coaching middle school for a few years before the opportunity opened up at the high school.”

Coaching never stops for Pike. On Friday nights in the fall, he coaches young men but works with the Troup County Parks and Rec nearly year-round as he serves as both a soccer and baseball coach.

“If I’m not coaching here then I’m coaching somewhere else,” Pike said with a laugh. 

Surprisingly, considering the success the football team at LCS has had under Pike, soccer was his first sporting love, not football. It was the sport that he took to the limits and even had an opportunity to try his hand at college soccer but passed on the opportunity.

Before his three kids began to occupy the majority of his time, Pike served as soccer and basketball coach for LCS. He has stepped back in recent years from those responsibilities but still very much remains involved in the athletics at LCS outside of football.

Pike is a Lafayette Christian School Cougar. He was one of the earliest graduating classes and played on the first football team in school history. 

“I was on the first team back in ‘08 when Nick Nehring started the first team, and there were 10 of us,” Pike said.  

Pike is still evolving as a coach. As he expands the program, he wants to see more of his players get the opportunity to play at the next level which has presented him with a new set of challenges. 

“I think if we get one guy, we can get other guys. You know, the talent is not necessarily Division I, but there can still be opportunities for them to play,” Pike said. “Reaching out to coaches and getting film out there is new to me as well.”

Pike is in his third season as head coach of the Cougars and has had a winning season every year he has been in charge.

Prior to taking over as the head coach of the high school team, Pike was head coach of the middle school level. Last year’s graduating class was the first class that he coached from sixth grade up to their final season as Cougars. Even many of the players on the team now, Pike coached all the way up.

“You really get to build a relationship with these guys and you see their progress, not only in football but life in general,” Pike said, “They still come back, and some of them will still text me.”

There is a possibility of Pike returning to his soccer roots someday, but that day is not in the near future. 

“Football is in a good place. There’s no reason for me to get up and leave and go coach soccer. You know, we’re trying to build a program with football,” Pike said. “We’ve got a great coaching staff, we’ve got good players, we’ve got a young group, we’ve got middle school, doing well. So right now, I just don’t think that’d be good for the school or anybody really.”

Pike is on a quest to bring back a state championship for the Cougars but impacting lives on a day-to-day basis is what being a coach is all about for him.

“Football is fun, but it’s also a great venue to invest in the lives of young men and you know, kind of teach them lessons and all that kind of stuff,” Pike said.