For Josh McWhorter, his new position as offensive coordinator of the Cass High football team is a dream more than a decade in the making.
“I’ve obviously got to know Coach Steve Gates over the last year and the word got to me that the offensive coordinator position was open,” he said. “The next thing I know, I’m in his office and I’m talking to him about my life, my goals and the things that I’d like to do and accomplish … I guess you could say it was somewhat of a quick, intensive process, it happened over a couple of weeks.”
McWhorter is no stranger to the gridiron, having played high school football at Cartersville and college football at Furman University. As a Purple Hurricane, McWhorter was a three-year All-County offensive tackle and defensive end who was named All-State his senior year; as a Paladin, he was an offensive guard until a back injury ended his playing career.
He’s also been coaching various youth football programs since 2005 — including an eighth-grade team that won a Pinnacle National Championship in Florida last year.
As a community coach, McWhorter said he’ll still be able to run his local business, McWhorter Capital Partners, LLC.
“I love my work and love the business and all the things that are going on there, but I’m going to be in a position where I can do the things necessary in order to hopefully be successful on the football field, as well,” he said. “I really do see it as more of a mission field than anything else — it just so happens to combine something that I really love, which is football.”
Name: Josh McWhorter
Current City of Residence: Kingston
DAILY TRIBUNE NEWS (DTN): Heading into the 2021 season, what would you say is the biggest offensive asset for the Colonels?
JOSH MCWHORTER (JM): I have not met with any players or talked to any players or anything like that, but they’ve got Devin Henderson, who is returning, who was their starting quarterback last year as a freshman. I know of Connor Ray and Sacovie White, I’m also familiar with Tyler Martin, he was a good player for them … so they’ve got some pieces returning, and have some talent. Obviously, they did not finish the year like they wanted to finish, but Coach Gates has done an amazing job of building momentum and building excitement around the program. It’s exciting to see a lot of younger pieces there that could be the make-up of a good team down the road.
DTN: From square one, what would you say is the biggest area of improvement for the Colonels’ offense?
JM: This is really an outside-looking-in position, and I’ve heard this mentioned before, but I think from an offensive perspective red-zone offense is going to be key. I mean, if you can get the ball down the field you’ve got to find a way to put it in the end zone. I would probably lean there. But I’m still learning and still figuring out exactly what needs to be done and who needs to be where.
DTN: Over the last few seasons the Colonels have relied heavily on the run game. Moving into the offensive coordinator position, do you see the team implementing more of a passing game and trying to stretch things out vertically?
JM: I’ve always been a big believer in more of a balanced-style approach. You’ve got to be able to run the ball and make the defense respect you running the ball. But at the same time you’ve got to be able to pass. So I would love to be able to do both well, but a lot of it comes down to your personnel, and what you have on the team and what you can do with what you have. I don’t want to take a kid that is good at running and force him to be a passer or a kid that’s good at passing, force him to be a runner. You have to look at it year-to-year as far as what you can do — you have your system and what you’d like to be able to do, but you want to put your kids in the best place, where they can be successful.
DTN: As a former Purple Hurricane, do you feel any conflicting emotions about donning the Blue and Gold?
JM: I loved my time at Cartersville and I’ve told many people this, I had a great high school experience there. But this was something I really didn’t feel like I had a choice in. And I know a lot of people will never understand that, and that’s fine. This week has been filled with a lot of emotion but I respect everybody’s feelings and I respect everybody’s thoughts — that’s theirs and I get it. But at the same time I’m excited about this opportunity. I’m excited to be involved with a high school program like Cass … with all the excitement and the momentum that’s been built over the last year, I think the future is very, very bright. And I look forward to the challenge, I look forward to what may come down the road.
DTN: When it comes to the worlds of stock markets and gridirons, do you see any overlap in your philosophies when it comes to management or personnel?
JM: I’m a big believer in the contrarian viewpoint — whatever everybody is doing, I want to do different. So I can see that being beneficial on the football field as well. But obviously, they’re two completely different industries and at the end of the day, it’s the fundamentals of the stock market that normally drives prices of companies and it’s the fundamentals of a football team that are going to drive success on the field.
DTN: And lastly, what would you say is the No. 1 reason to feel bullish about the upcoming Cass football season?
JM: There’s a lot of young players and there were a lot of young players that got time on the field last year. There’s athletes out there, there’s some linemen coming up in the ranks. You look at what’s down the line, and I think it’s all the young talent. Certainly there are some juniors and upcoming seniors that will be relied upon regarding their experience and their time on the field, and you always want to do great by your seniors and send them off with the very best season you can give them, because that’s the last time they’re going to see that field. But when you look at some of the players that I mentioned, I really believe that the future is bright — and not just bright for next year, it’s bright for a few years down the road.