Other than attracting the attention of recruits and their parents, the football office buildings on college campuses accommodate all the services and equipment essential to the work of the coaches and players. Housing coaches' offices, player meeting rooms, locker rooms, sports medicine, strength training, clothing distribution and laundering, sports information, video production and computing, academic advisement and tutoring, and indoor practice facilities in one massive structure is an architectural challenge. Creating storage space for footballs, helmets, shoes, media guides, recruiting tapes, nutrition supplements, game uniforms, medical supplies, playbooks, and the hundreds of other physical objects used throughout the year rarely occurs to the participants, but it is an even larger part of construction planning. Imagine having to store all these items with no office or fieldhouse! That has been my concern for the past thirty years.
Although I have been coaching football for forty-five years, Kick-Aid and Schools for Kicking and Punting Instruction evolved after I arrived at Georgia Tech in August, 1985. As a staff coach, I had access to a variety of storage areas under the stadium at Grant Field. When our inventory of goalpost parts, kicking nets, coolers, and camper T-shirts grew (and increased in value), we rented a large storage unit in a gated commercial facility on Northside Drive, between my apartment and the Georgia Tech campus. Eventually, that was inadequate for the quantity of ten-foot-long pieces of PVC pipe needed to erect 25 sets of goalposts for the annual Auburn Kicking Academy.
After years of renting a truck in the summer to haul equipment to camps, I bought a used yellow Ryder truck, outfitted it with racks, and parked it all year in my apartment complex in Atlanta. In 2002, fortune blessed us with the opportunity to store everything in an airplane hanger in Griffin, GA. The poles all stood upright in wooden frames along the wall, the tubs and boxes were stacked in adjustable shelving, and we could work and load inside under the cavernous roof. Even the golf cart and its trailer had a home. I moved from Atlanta to Athens, GA, after the death of my mother in August, 2005. The yellow truck was sold in the spring of 2006 when I bought the first long body Dodge Sprinter (big white vehicle like FedEx uses for deliveries). Although my life is much more than football, I still must care for and house for twelve months each year everything that we have created historically over forty years and all the office supplies and field equipment. Since 2006, the goalposts have been stored in various locations around Athens, and I have shared my apartment with stacks of storage containers, as well as with all of the office equipment and supplies. That cohabitation will cease by early November of 2014.
Although I have always dreamed of having an office, that has never been a financial possibility. As an organization, we are teachers. We never expect to make a living from running camps and clinics. We charge what it costs us to travel and operate programs. The "office" has always been in my home, because we do not wish to burden clients with the expense of maintaining a business location. With the onset of severe rheumatoid arthritis in October of 1999, I ceased working at Georgia Tech and never returned to the workforce., so my income is a reduced rate for Teachers' Retirement and Social Security. The vehicles we use are my personal property, and I have never paid myself for running our camps and clinics, though camp fees are used for diesel,, postage, printing, etc. Six filing cabinets line the wall in my dining room. The "guest" room has floor-to-ceiling shelving for office supplies on one wall, floor-to-ceiling racks for video equipment and tapes on one wall, and a five-foot counter for printers, copiers, and computers on one wall. Every cubic inch of the long hall utility closet is stacked with sealed storage tubs for staff clothing and camper shirts. Frankly, I have not been able to manage comfortably for several years the seasonal shifts of these items from home to vehicles to summer dormitories and back to home.
On Easter Sunday, 2014, I was notified that the recently deceased husband of my first cousin had left a bequest for me to use in my work with others. Since freeing my home has been crucial to my own health, creation of an office joined a list that included upgrading communications equipment and budgeting for overnight accommodations when I travel. I had already saved enough to buy a prefabricated building at Home Depot. This surprise allowed for designing a structure uniquely suited to our needs. Like in the airplane hanger, all the goalpost poles will stand upright in wooden frames, sorted by type of pole. Instead of working outside in the weather to repair equipment, we will have an area to store tools and a workbench where projects can be completed over time. The golf cart will have a secure shelter, so it will not have to ride around in the Sprinter for months or take "vacations" at a local high school. (I will be able to ride it during the day without struggling with the ramps to unload it.) Most significantly, a true office will be built within the new structure to house all the supplies and to serve as work space for processing camp mail, organizing handouts, and conducting staff meetings.
Attached are pictures of the initial stages of construction. I will write more installments of this report as the project moves forward. This will become a new permanent section in the website.