CONWAY, S.C. (WMBF) - It’s been quite a ride for the Coastal Carolina football team thus far, especially for head coach Jamey Chadwell.
His coaching journey has come with some bumps in the road, but now the pavement is rather smooth thanks to the success his team is having.
It all started for Chadwell 11 years ago at North Greenville University. Stops at Delta State and Charleston Southern followed and then the 43-year-old landed at CCU.
Chadwell immediately became the interim head coach during his first season in Conway, then took over full time last year. Now, he’s leading arguably the hottest team in all of college football.
Chadwell credits the man above for guiding him to this point.
“As a coach, you believe in yourself and you believe in what you’re doing,” said Chadwell. “Now did I think it would lead to this opportunity? No, not at all. But, that’s a God thing. People ask me that all the time, how is it possible? With man it’s impossible and with Him it is possible. You trust and I think He uses you for a purpose and he’s gotten me to be a football coach and what a ride it’s been.”
Coastal’s success has made Chadwell a household name across the country and there are reports that he and CCU are working toward a long-term extension.
Somebody else who has a bright future in Conway - quarterback Grayson McCall. His name is one that not too many people knew outside of the Coastal football program prior to the season. The redshirt freshman got the start week one for the Chants against Kansas and the rest is history.
McCall has been having a season for the ages. He currently leads the Sun Belt Conference in passing efficiency and yards of total offense with 2,643.
McCall was also recently named as a semifinalist for the Davey O’Brien and Maxwell awards, two of the most prestigious postseason honors in the country.
Chadwell has said during the season that McCall gave the Chants the best chance to win a championship. Now, CCU is one win away from doing just that.
“We felt like he was pretty good but then he was able to really show it,” Chadwell said of McCall. “And we were like, ‘We have to roll with it.’ I know he’s a freshman and we have two juniors that have played but we had to roll with it because of just the intangibles that he has. Now, I wasn’t going to tell you that we thought he’d be what he is right now. But he’s got something that you can’t coach and all the great ones do. It’s been fun to be a part of.”
McCall received yet another honor this week as he was named Sun Belt Offensive Player of the Week for the third time this season. In Coastal’s win over Troy, he posted career highs in both completions and passing yards.
Each week the Chanticleer assistant coaches come up with a word for the team to rally around. Finish is the word of the week for the Chants ahead of their matchup with UL Lafayette for the Sun Belt title. It’s a perfect theme for a team that aims to make more history this weekend.
The weekly word then becomes the basis for the championship that the team plays for each week. As many have seen on social media, the locker room celebrations by the team after winning said championships have gotten rather animated. Chadwell said the idea behind the weekly themes is to give the guys a lesson that they can take with them long after playing the game.
“It’s something we want to do each week to go with the theme of who we’re playing and maybe what we’re going through as a team,” Chadwell said of the themes. “Some of the best words we’ve ever had was when we were 3-8 and 3-7 and just trying to get them to understand what you’re about. This year when you’re winning maybe sometimes you don’t think they’re as important but I think when you’re going through the run we are, you want something that just brings them all the same message and that’s why we try to do it and it’s been successful for us.”
Perhaps the most notable of the celebrations was the full-blown WWE match in the locker room after the Chants win over Georgia Southern.