We’re back with Faculty Friday, and this month we’re heading down to the football field. Andrew Atkins, the assistant athletic director and defensive coordinator for the Gryphons varsity football team, is trading his Friday night lights for the spotlight this month as we learn more about his coaching philosophy and why he chose St. George’s.
In his administrative role as assistant athletic director, Mr. Atkins is responsible for coordinating Lower School sports, bridging the gap between Lower and Upper School athletics and ensuring that everything runs smoothly for the teams. In his role as defensive coordinator for varsity football, he’s tasked with preparing players for their games but also with building the team’s strength and character from the inside out, starting with teamwork and leadership.
From a very early age, Mr. Atkins understood the importance of community and what it means to be a true leader. As the son of a Methodist pastor, he watched his father lead the congregation with integrity and compassion, and also learned the power of being surrounded by a supportive community. He lists this experience as one of the key influences in his coaching style.
“We can accomplish incredible things when we work together and support each other – teaching kids the importance of communicating and asking for help when needed is not just an effective coaching tactic, it’s an important life skill,” he adds.
Coming from an extensive background in coaching and teaching, Mr. Atkins is well versed on helping students reach their potential on and off the field. His previous experience includes a combination of teaching U.S. history and government and coaching for six years before joining the Gryphons in 2020.
“In my opinion, coaching and teaching go hand-in-hand,” he elaborated. “In both roles, you’re not just teaching subject material or play sequences – you’re teaching kids how to look at the big picture, reach their goals and help others along the way.”
Helping others and working together is an essential part of Mr. Atkins’s philosophy, and one of the reasons why he chose St. George’s.
“There’s always somebody willing to volunteer, cheer or lift someone up at St. George’s. When there’s a need, we work together to fill it and that mentality really creates a tightknit, supportive community,” he explained.
“Sports are about more than just wins and losses, they’re about community, perseverance and hard work. Helping students understand that is one of the reasons I’m so passionate about coaching.”
We’re thrilled to have Mr. Atkins coaching with us, and look forward to seeing all the amazing work he does through athletics!
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