0

Luke steps down as Eagle's Landing Christian head coach

By Anthony Rhoads

Four years ago, Tim Luke got the chance to live out a dream.

He had always wanted to be a football coach and Eagle's Landing Christian Academy took a chance and named him as head coach even though he had no previous coaching experience even in rec leagues.

The gamble paid off as ELCA went 24-22 over the next four years, including a runner-up finish to Landmark Christian in Region 5-A in the school's first season of competing in the Georgia High School Association.

"He turned our program completely around," ELCA athletic director Scott Queen said. "He did an incredible job in turning us around. Tim took us in the right direction in so many ways, not just wins and losses. He taught them what they need to do on the field and off the field."

But the Luke era has come to a close as he has resigned from the position. Even though he will no longer be football coach, he is staying on as a minister at Eagle's Landing First Baptist Church.

As a minister and head football coach, he was being spread too thin and he did not want to neglect his family.

"I'm going to pay attention to my family," Luke said. "I have two boys who are 7-years old and 4-years old. We're entering into a time that's very important. I have to pour my life into their lives and be their daddy. I've had two full-time jobs for four years and I'm passionate about football and football is very consuming. I've sacrificed my family for four years and I can't do that anymore. I've got to be a good daddy and husband and working two full-time jobs is not fair to them."

While he said he feels like he is making the right decision, he will miss being on the sidelines when the fall rolls around.

"It's been a joy," Luke said. "It's been the most difficult and challenging task I have ever taken. I'm a better person for having worked with these young men. I didn't teach them; they taught me. The toughest thing is leaving these boys and the coaching staff; I love them dearly. I'm going to miss it but this is what God wants me to do."

Westbrook named ELCA head coach: As a teen-ager growing up in Lee County, Nick Westbrook knew what he wanted to do with his life - become a head football coach.

Now at the age of 25, Westbrook has been named the head football coach at Eagle's Landing Christian Academy.

"I'm excited about it," Westbrook said. "I'm thrilled. This is what I've wanted to do since the 10th grade."

ELCA athletic director Scott Queen said the program is in good hands with Westbrook.

"It's awesome," Queen said. "He definitely has the knowledge and his passion and energy is incredible. For us to stay in house and keep everybody on the on the staff is the best situation we could have. I don't think we'll drop off at all. Nick is the guy for the job."

Westbrook replaces Tim Luke, who announced his resignation Monday. Luke was head coach for four years, compiling a 24-22 record.

"I think the direction of the program is great," Westbrook said. "I think coach Luke has done an excellent job. The future is great. There are a lot of good kids here and I think the direction of the program is amazing. I'm so thrilled to be here."

The 2004 season was Westbrook's first season at ELCA as quarterbacks coach. The team went 8-3 in its first season in the GHSA.

"It was exciting to go through the entire season," Westbrook said. "Nobody expected us to do what we did. It was really exciting to play in the region championship game against Landmark. We know Landmark is going to be tough competition and it's going to be a big rivalry for us."

Westbrook went to Lee County High School and then Valdosta State University. He returned to Lee County for one year before moving to ELCA.

"Nick has a tremendous amount of enthusiasm and energy," Luke said. "He's really young but one of the most spiritually mature person I've ever met. ELCA is still going to be a football force. I'm very happy for Nick."