Gentry’s topic involved each person finding the “it” in their life, or the one thing that a person wants to work toward more than anything else.
In Gentry’s life, he said, he has two “its,” football and faith. His goals in life revolve around those two things and “being a better person when I go to bed than I was when I woke up that morning,” Gentry said.
Among the things that Gentry said he wishes to instill in his players are mental toughness and hard work.
“If it’s worth getting, you have to work for it,” Gentry said.
Gentry said he knows that people in the community do not currently expect great things from the Lebanon High School football program, but he thinks with the right mindset and work ethic, his players can put together a solid season.
“I hear people say that our football program is a lost cause,” Gentry said. “Trust me, it’s easy to call plays from the stands — I’ve done it. I’ve been there saying, ‘now, why in the world did he call that?’ But, when you’re out there under the pressure of 25 seconds and a 16-year-old whose girlfriend is sitting with someone else in the stands, it’s a different world.”
Donna Wright, director of Wilson County Schools, introduced Gentry, and spoke about the importance of football in the lives of students.
“You have to understand it’s what takes place, it’s not just about the game,” Wright said.
“As a high school principal, I learned from a football coach. I learned about leadership, I learned about how you get that camaraderie, what takes place as far as that effort, that perseverance, that grit … there were kids that were just marginal, they came to school because they had to. But then they became (football coach) Bill Wilson’s kids, and they came to school because Bill Wilson Expected it. It’s more than a game, it’s what they build.”
Wright said more students than ever have been trying out for the Lebanon football team.
Gentry said he coaches each player the same and he expects the same mindset from each player.
“I don’t care if it’s the water boy or the so-called five-star superstar, I’m going to be just as hard on you, and I want you to work just as hard as everyone else,” he said.
Gentry’s debut as head coach will come against Trousdale County High School on Aug. 18 in Lebanon.