Soldier a truck driver by day, volunteer coach by night
October 7, 2011
FORT STEWART, Ga. - The second quarter is coming to a close. The 12-year-old-and-under South Georgia Youth Football League, Richmond Hill Wildcats, are down by seven points at home, but the football game is far from over.
Sergeant Walter L. Watley, donned in a black and yellow Army baseball cap and a matching Wildcats polo shirt, taps the helmets of the defensive players along the sideline and tells them to get ready. When the boys take to the field, the Mobile, Ala., native shouts words of encouragement and hunkers down for the snap.
As a Soldier, Sgt. Watley drives military vehicles for Company A, 703rd Brigade Support Battalion, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, Third Infantry Division; as a father, Sgt. Watley helps drive the enthusiasm and esprit de corps of area youths by volunteering as a Wildcats defensive line coach.
"I know I'm doing what needs to be done for these kids," Sgt. Watley said. "It's all about teaching them … teamwork and teaching them how to hustle, [which will] help them through life as they grow."
The motor transport operator said he jumped into coaching the youth right before the recreational league's football season began in August--and right after he had redeployed from a 12-month tour in Iraq. The team needed coaches because some of the fathers on the team were set to deploy to Afghanistan, Sgt. Watley said, and he could offer the experience he gained in his past playing in the middle linebacker position for his high school's football team.
Sergeant Watley said he volunteered to coach the boys as other fathers have volunteered in the past to coach his son while he was deployed. The motor transport operator said the team's community of fathers steps up to take care of others to ensure the young players are never left without guidance.
"I want to positively influence [the kids] so they grow up to be better people," Sgt. Watley said. "They're going to be growing up and… running this country."
Troy Watley, the coach's 11-year-old son, and an offensive tackle for the Wildcats, said it's a great opportunity to play on the team his father helps coach.
"I just have a lot of respect for him," Troy said. "It feels nice for him to watch me, and he's just a great coach."