School, community welcome Sawyer as new head football coach


Dakota Meekins, Staff writer

Freddie “Sport” Sawyer joined the Manteo faculty Jan. 20 as the new weight training coach and head football coach. He replaced Eddie Twyne who retired at the end of 2016. Prior to coming to Manteo, Sawyer worked as the head coach for Washington high school’s football team in Beaufort County.

Coming to Manteo at the start of the new semester allowed for an easy adjustment and transition into the community, not only for Sawyer, but also the students and players.

“Getting the new coach in January has been nice,” athletic director Alfie Wheeler said. “It allowed him to get settled in the community, learn names, and get adjusted and organized for football season and organize summer workouts.”

To help football players, families, and the community get to know Sawyer, Liz Brown and  Tara Wheeler organized and held a meet and greet on Feb. 8 at the Dare County community center. During the meet and greet, Sawyer met players and their parents. Sawyer talked about his expectations for the upcoming season and the summer schedule for the team.

“The meet and greet was a good way to get to meet him and hear about what he wants to do with the team and learn about what his expectations for us as players to do and work on during the season and off season,” freshman Armani Pledger said.

Sawyer had an overall record of 94-70 before leaving Washington, where he played against 2A, 3A, and 4A schools. In 2013, he lead his team to three consecutive conference championship games and he was named conference coach of the year several times.

“Some teams were tough to beat, and he’s been coaching for around 20 years and I believe he has the experience and determination to make Manteo better and make the players work harder and better like how he made me a better player,” said Bryson Sawyer, who is Sawyer’s son.

Sawyer’s teaching schedule includes weight training classes. This may give him some advantages when it comes to recruiting for football. Getting players in the weight room is a major part of football, and gives him an opportunity to recruit new players for the upcoming season.

“In weight training it’s a player vs the weights and if they are willing to fight to lift weight they are willing to fight on the playing field,” Sawyer said.  “There are a lot of people in the community who want Manteo Football to do well so we are going to work as hard as we can to make it happen.”

Sawyer plans to make a few minor changes to the football team without interfering with the traditions and customs around campus and the community. One change already in the works involves the helmets. They’ll have a slightly new design to show that Manteo is a different team than previous seasons.

Planning for the upcoming football season is already underway. Sawyer is currently working on a practice schedule for the team to get ready for the upcoming season. Sawyer is getting players and students in the weight room as much as he can while also giving them free time.  Sawyer is also working to build the confidence of his players, as well as the confidence of the team as a whole.