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School District Five athletes form leadership study group

For Immediate Release – August 18, 2022



School District Five athletes form leadership study group

IRMO Chapin High School athletics makes it a priority to build leaders on and off the field.


In the Spring of 2021, Assistant Football Coach Ryan Cole, under the direction of the Head Coach Justin Gentry, began a leadership study group with six players:  Adam Bass, Griffin Burns, Russell Gentry, Bryce Beerman, Gavin Stam, and Anthony Turnbow.  They studied John Maxwell’s 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership and met in the football locker room on Fridays at 7:00 am before class.  After the first and second sessions, Coach Cole challenged the boys to invite a fellow player and also to be responsible and accountable for the additional players being at the study.  In addition to going through that book, the boys talked about different leaders in government, business, education, sports, etc. As part of those discussions, the group was able to meet Governor Henry McMaster and hear his thoughts on leadership.


“Coach Gentry gave me the green light to meet with these young men to start a study of important leadership characteristics,” Cole said. “I know that we need our players to be accountable to each other, and to be responsible for each other. I knew if I could get them to commit to at least two weeks of studying these leadership skills, then we could create momentum.  What started off small, it took fire and expanded into months. This core group started off with six players and expanded to sixteen players.  All of these young men have potential to positively influence each other, their teammates and their community.  Coach Gentry and I are just helping them to unlock that potential. I think the players have really taken on the roles of being leaders, and I think they can see the growth in how they are impacting their teammates.”   


The Chapin Eagle Club has decided to sponsor this program and in the Fall every other team at Chapin—boys and girls—will nominate two players to join this core group to continue the leadership study.  Coach Gentry and Coach Cole’s goal is to make sure the student athletes understand that the values they are learning in sports can be applied to leadership in life and to better understand the leadership qualities they should endeavor to possess.