By Rachel McDanielLamar County High School gained a new athletic director and head football coach Tuesday, March 15 as the board of education unanimously approved hiring Bryan Love in a called meeting. He currently serves as head coach at Westlake High School where he has spent the last three years, leading their team to a 24-11 record. His 2015 team went 10-3. When he inherited the team, they had an 0-10 record.’I think Lamar County is a hidden gem and I want to take the program to next level. To do that, we have to make sure the athletes are doing well academically which is the reason why they are each here,’ he said. ‘If we want these young men to invest in the program, we need to make sure we’re investing in these young men. We have to make sure we are taking seniors to college football games in the area. Not just at the top schools in the state, but at the smaller universities as well.’Love will be transitioning from a 6A program at Westlake High School in Fulton County to Lamar’s 2A program, but he said there is tremendous opportunity for Lamar County students. He said he wants to have an inclusive program with as many athletes as possible as opposed to cutting athletes. He discussed getting local students recognized by posting video on social media and encouraging them to pursue scholarship opportunities.’We plan to do a great job through social media and be proactive about providing information for football scouts,’ he said. ‘We have to start getting kids exposed to scouts when they are in ninth grade,’ he said.He suggested hosting combines at Trojan Field to bring others to the ‘beautiful facilities’ in Lamar and to encourage students to reach their goals. He said building a dominant football program means investing in the middle school program and meeting those students – not just in PE classes – but also in the cafeteria and other areas to get to know them. Coach Love said it’s important to reach out to recreational football players as well and said he plans to host coaching clinics to ensure coaches of young players are safely running the same offense and defense they would see as school athletes. ‘We are going to videotape our practices and we will be able to give tapes to recreation coaches so they will know the same drills we use and we also want to make sure they are running drills in the proper way for the safety of the players,’ he said.When asked about his church background, he said he was raised in church and Trojan football will be a faith-based program. He said it’s important to surround young players with good influences and a majority of the coaches would be teachers from the school.’We have to make sure to surround these athletes with positive role models so at the end of the day, they will understand what it means to be a good husband and a good father,’ he said. ‘I don’t want to press anything on anybody, but these athletes will know that coach Love is a Christian.’ Love and his fiance both grew up in Florida and said they are looking forward to life in a small town.’We went through all of our previous jobs and homes in order to get to a situation like this – a place where football means something, not just to the students, but to the community,’ he said.