John Page, boys basketball head coach at Southeast Bulloch High School, is usually on the sidelines coaching the Yellow Jackets to victory. However, for the third annual SEB Coastal Empire shoutout Friday, Page traded in his coaching whistle and notepad for cooking gloves and a spatula.
SEB began its role as host of a 14-team tournament on Friday, with proceeds going towards the boys basketball program.
The two-day tournament allows teams to bring its varsity and junior varsity squads to Brooklet.
“This is a tough task, but somebody has to keep up with it,” laughed Page, who was in charge of the concession stand and preparation of grilling burgers for the event Friday. “It’s all for the program.”
Coach Page said some former players came back to Brooklet for the third annual Coastal Empire Shootout to help manage the game clocks.
“They’re willing to help and we put them to work. They always come back and I think that’s a good sign that we’re doing something right here,” Page said.
Southeast Bulloch utilized three gyms in order to handle the demand of hosting a 14-team tournament. Assistant basketball coach Josh McGruder said it’s the most teams the school has hosted since the start of the annual tournament.
McGruder, who came to Southeast Bulloch to coach in 2013, said the tournament has gone well so far.
“We’re definitely pleased with the turnout. I brought the idea to (coach) Page in 2013 and he was all for it as long as he didn’t have to do all the work,” McGruder said, laughing.
Despite a light-humoured jab thrown in Page’s direction, McGruder made sure to clarify just how much work the Yellow Jackets head coach does to make the tournament come together.
In addition to being the head cook for the concession stands, Page takes care of all the smaller details of hosting a tournament, McGruder said.
“Coach handles all the behind the scenes issues. He works concessions and gets everything organized,” McGruder said. “I mainly contact coaches and put the schedules together but he does a lot of the grunt work. My job is pretty easy once the schedule is set.”
Page said the tournament brings in just enough revenue to break even with expenses, however seeing old players and seeing the team bond is something he looks forward to.
“We have a great group of guys here. The young guys are looking at the older players as role models and I enjoy it,” Page said.
The Yellow Jackets varsity squad will play two more games in today with the first game scheduled at 9 a.m.
Horace Holloman may be reached at (912) 489-9408.