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Throckmorton learned from the best

SoVaNow.com / July 30, 2020


Grayson Throckmorton landed his first head coaching job at Dinwiddie, in 1991. He had just completed a one-year assignment in Lynchburg, running the offense for E.C. Glass.

When he left Dinwiddie after a two-year stint, Throckmorton moved on to Nottoway.

Throckmorton ran the defense for Joe May, a member of the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame.

Throckmorton learned football lessons from May, who had been at HCHS earlier.

“Oh super guy. Coach May taught me a lot of things. He was a very level headed person, very calm and collected. I learned to calm down as a coach,” said Throckmorton.

May taught the lessons of maintaining an even keel and make solid decisions on and off the field.

“Just learned a lot from (May), how to treat people fairly. How to set expectations and hold people accountable for that,” said Throckmorton.

“I learned how to run a program under coach May.

When May retired, Throckmorton took over the head coaching duties for the Cougars.

Throckmorton later took Nottoway to the VHSL state semifinals before losing to Glenvar to cap a 12-3 season in 2014.

Throckmorton learned hard-nosed discipline from Fred Palmore, and Ferrum coach Hank Norton, who amplified the lessons.

“Coach Palmore was my high school coach, discipline and structure with that,” said Throckmorton. Norton, meanwhile, only added more life lessons.

The message from the Ferrum coach was “do the right thing all the time, and put in hard work and keep things simple. But yet be aggressive (on the field).”

Throckmorton’s football philosophy remained intact until his retirement last week.

“Low-risk involvement, hold on to the football, play tough defense, which I think is a recipe for most winning teams,” he said. That applies at every level, from youth league to the NFL Super Bowl champion. “The teams that can hold on to the ball and run the ball, and usually play tough defense, they’re the ones that are going to win.”

Throckmorton also learned more football lessons from HCHS coach Larry Smith.

“I learned a ton of things from Larry Smith. Mainly what I learned from Larry Smith, was you can skin a cat a million different ways. And you be innovative, and do things and take risks,” said Throckmorton.

Smith had the benefit of some very talented athletes, especially on the state title team.

“We were doing things that wasn’t even really the trend at that time. We would get into shotgun and use spread formations. He had different defenses, according to (the opponent). You didn’t have to run a 4-3 defense or a 5-2 defense.”

Smith also adapted the offense production according to the personnel available at the time.

FINISHING WITH THE COMETS: Throckmorton said of his return to the Comets, “I think that was probably something that will resonate with me for the rest of my life. Not a lot of coaches get to come back or be at their home town for their entire career, or come back at the end of their career and be able to retire in their home town. That means the world to me. I played football here and I played baseball here. I have a lot of friends here, and ties. I wanted to come back and try to do the very best that I could to try to get the program going back in the right direction. I feel that our staff worked hard and we saw some good results in the past three years,” said Throckmorton.

The Comet coach went to the playoffs all three seasons in his return. He went 5-5 in the regular season in his first season. He went one step further, finishing 5-6 after a tough loss to North Stafford. Throckmorton saw significant improvement in final season, hosting GW for the first home playoff appearance since 1991.

He was asked about his path at HCHS and beyond.

“My legacy is…I want people to think and understand that I wanted the best for the team I was associated with, whichever team that may be. I worked hard, and tried to do the right things all the time. I tried to bring the best out in people by holding folks accountable, by making them understand the difference between right and wrong and what you need to do to be successful.”

Throckmorton said this lesson does not just apply to football, but life in general. Throckmorton has hoped he has sent the value system of doing the right thing, and not always in football. “It’s one of those things, I’ve had a ton of response since Friday from former players, and coaches I’ve worked with (from around the region), and community members.

Throckmorton said the response has been wonderful. Former players have completed Throckmorton for his influence on the path to adulthood. “That right there in itself means so much,” said Throckmorton.



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