Elder's Plan B turns into something special

WCU coach's challenge: 'Pour yourself into what you do.'

By John Clayton, Staff Reporter
Published on Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Enlarge photo

Trey Elder, at a speaking engagement at the Greer TD Club, challenged coaches and individuals to pour themselves into 'whatever you do'.

Trey Elder, at a speaking engagement at the Greer TD Club, challenged coaches and individuals to pour themselves into 'whatever you do'.

Sometimes, things don’t work out the way you planned.

Trey Elder, former Byrnes all-state quarterback and S.C. Mr. Football in 2003, was ready to sign, seal and deliver himself to Cincinnati to play for then-coach Brian Kelly.

All that remained was a visit to the campus and a similar visit from another quarterback recruit who Kelly liked a little more.

If the other recruit accepted a scholarship offer during his visit, well, Elder would have to look elsewhere. The other guy did.

So, Elder did as well, choosing Appalachian State as his Plan B, but, still, Elder said as he spoke recently to the Greer Touchdown Club, he had a scholarship and that was what mattered.

But sometimes Plan B can turn into something special.

What followed was a remarkable four years for Elder, who is wide receivers coach at Western Carolina. His career was primarily as a backup to Richie Williams and then Armanti Edwards, but when Elder got his shot, he made the most of it. He was 7-1 as a starter at ASU.

But he was also part of three consecutive NCAA Football Championship Subdivision national championships.

Elder was also part of a team that earned what was arguably the most impressive victory in the modern era of college football when the Mountaineers defeated Michigan at Ann Arbor in 2007.

Coupled with his two Class 4A state titles at Byrnes, the three national titles give Elder quite an impressive jewelry collection.

It would be easy for Elder to just quote Charlie Sheen’s infamous “winning” line and think about the glory days, five championships (six if you include the “Super Bowl” he won as a tyke) and some NFL connections.

But that’s not the message Elder brought to the touchdown club.

He thanked the head-coaching staff at Byrnes for the lessons they taught him. He talked about how the lessons he learned on the football field have translated into real life and his career as a coach.

“Pour yourself into whatever you do,” Elder said. “If you’re a coach, pour yourself into your kids because they’re worth it.”

That, he said, is what happened to him when he was a player and it’s what he has endeavored to do as a coach, first at his alma maters and now at Western Carolina.

The Catamounts have been inexplicably bad in the Southern Conference for a long time despite a scenic campus in the Blue Ridge Mountains and good FCS facilities.

Elder said it’s up to new head coach Mark Spier, who recruited Elder to ASU, to change things in Culhowee.

It starts off the field with good kids but ends with the coaching staff “pouring itself” into its players to make them better as players and people.

If it works, Elder could find more rings in his future, but that is rightfully not the most important thing.


Related Photo Galleries

Leave a Comment

Trending: Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport, Obituaries, Chon Restaurant, Allen Bennett Hospital


View All Events