by Aly Henneberry
John Stokes is the new boys’ PE coach, girls’ weightlifting coach and defensive coordinator for the Blue Devil football team.
Stokes loves to kayak, hike and be outdoors, but he did not always want to be a PE coach. When he was growing up, he wanted to be the next Jerry Rice, a professional football player.
“[He] was the best football player there was when I was young, and I always wanted to be the best. The desire to be the best at what I do has never left me,” Stokes said.
Stokes graduated from UNC at Pembroke with a Bachelor’s degree in Science in Physical Education and a concentration in Exercise and Sports Science. His favorite thing about UNCP was how beautiful the campus was and how great the staff was.
While at UNCP he was part of the Braves football team. His favorite part was how it was more like professional football and while he was on the field “it was like my job.”
Growing up, he moved all over, including Parris Island and Charlotte. When he was 19, his friend had him sub for a PE class, and he had fun doing it and loved being around sports. Even when he was growing up PE was his favorite class. This led to him getting a degree in Physical Education and eventually becoming part of the BHS staff.
To Stokes, the most rewarding thing about his job is seeing the students have fun.
“I’m not a morning person,” Stokes said. “I feed off of [the kids].”
When he is in a good mood, he feels it rubs off on his students and vice versa.
For Stokes, the most rewarding thing about being a coach is meeting a freshman and helping them throughout the years and seeing how much they have improved once they become a senior.
Dolly McCall’s son, freshman Avery McCall, is on the team. She really likes Stokes’s coaching style because “he lifts the players up instead of bringing them down.” She thinks one thing he has done to help the team has been creating “unity amongst the team.”
“I love [coaching]. It’s what I love to do, and I get to do what I love to do every day,” Stokes said.
To him, the secret ingredient to being a good coach is simple.
“Just be energetic and have fun,” Stokes said.