Although the Stockbridge High School weight room is usually one of the loudest, most crowded locations on the Tiger campus, especially in the afternoon after school, it was quite different last week.

It was still jammed with Tiger varsity football players, but one could hear a pin drop in the room, said Tiger athletic director and head football coach Kevin Whitley, as the Tigers’ new strength, conditioning and linebacker coach Stoney Lunsford addressed the team.

The 20-year strength and conditioning skipper held a near 100-minute meeting with the Tiger varsity squad, outlining the strength and conditioning program the Tigers started this week.

Lunsford, who started as a student assistant strength coach at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill followed by a stint at Western Carolina University, told the gathering of players about his background but, more importantly, how he wanted the off-season workout program done and what he expected of them before the start of fall practice.

Lunsford said the team was not only going to be lifting weights, but will also do what he called “strong-man exercises.”

These will be in addition to the major lifting regime of bench press, dead lift, power clean and snatch and squat lifts.

“We will also be doing Olympic lifts,” he said.

“Since I am the strength and conditioning coach, I want you to do all the weight training in the way I was taught was most beneficial.”

Although he also spent 15 years coaching high school football in South Carolina, it was after Lunsford and his wife were married three years ago and he moved to Atlanta where she lived that he and Whitley finally met.

“Once in Atlanta, we took a map and drew a circle which encompassed a 35-mile radius of Atlanta and I sent resumes to numerous schools in that radius, including Stockbridge,” Lunsford said.

He did not hear back from Whitley and took a coaching job with another school, where he spent two years before resigning.

“After a year, I realized how much I missed coaching and, out of the blue, coach Whitley texted me and said he had a strength and conditioning coaching position available. I jumped at the opportunity,” Lunsford said.

He said he has high expectations for the Stockbridge varsity football team and wants them to train with intensity and make a commitment to the football program.


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