Ambitious, hard-working, intelligent people aren’t hard to find throughout Emanuel County. From lesser-known citizens to well-known leaders, Swainsboro and other municipalities in the area are fortunate to call these folks, the ones who make a difference, “ours.” Of course, some of “our folks” have moved off and shared themselves with the world in various respects. The “Finding Our Folks” part of The Crossroads Chronicle aims to track down and catch up with our hometown people.
This week’s profile features Sean Patrick, whose interview was conducted by Halei Lamb.
Okay, start at the beginning. Tell us about yourself.
Patrick: I’m Sean Patrick. I’m 35-years-old. I’m from Swainsboro. My wife is Kayce Patrick; she’s also from Swainsboro. We have two children, Jaxson Patrick, 8, and Bradley Patrick, 5. My parents are Edwin and Beth Patrick, and I have two siblings, Faith Patrick and Maggie Denney. I graduated from Swainsboro High School in 2003. While I was at Swainsboro, I played football and was part of the 2000 state championship team.
Now tell us about life after high school, specifically your college years.
Patrick: Right away, I went to East Georgia. I graduated with an Associate of Arts in December 2005, then moved on to Georgia Southern. I graduated from GSU in December 2007 with a Bachelor of History with a minor in Applied Exercise Science. In May 2010, I graduated from Southern again with a Master of Arts in Teaching.
Give us an overview of your career so far. Please include any accomplishments of note, too.
Patrick: Sure! So I started working at Emanuel County Institute in 2006, and I stayed there until 2009. The first two seasons, I was on the middle school staff and helped whenever needed on varsity. I eventually served as the wide receivers coach. Over a four-year span, we had a 49-4 record with three region championships (2006, 2007, and 2008), one state title in 2007), and finished state runner-up in 2008.
In 2010, I moved to West Laurens High School and served as the running backs coach. (There, I got to coach UA commit Johnny O’Neal, a linebacker.)
I spent 2011 to 2013 at Thomson High School, working as the offensive line coach. We set a school record in scoring offense in 2011 and won a region championship in 2012. I got to coach a few more major commits there as well, starting with John Atkins, a defensive lineman. (He signed as an undrafted free agent by the Detroit Lions after the 2018 NFL Draft.) Another one was UGA commit Jordan Davis, a tight end, along with Georgia Southern commits Bernard Dawson, William Bussey, and Chris Jordan.
I spent 2014 and 2015 at Lincoln County High School, where I was the offensive coordinator. We made state playoff appearances both years.
In 2016, I moved to Houston County High School to serve as offensive coordinator there. We led Class 6A in scoring offense and ranked second in the school’s history in scoring offense per season. I coached UGA commit Jake Fromm, a quarterback, who was drafted in the fifth round of the 2020 NFL Draft by the Buffalo Bills. I also got to coach UA commit Trey Hill, an offensive lineman, who was drafted in the sixth round of the 2021 NFL Draft by the Cincinnati Bengals. I coached wide receiver Tyler Fromm, an Auburn commit, as well. A cool little nugget about this time in my career is that I appeared on the Netflix documentary QB!: Beyond the Lights.
In 2017, I was hired by Bleckley County High School as offensive coordinator. I worked there until 2019. Throughout those three seasons, we were ranked fourth, third, and second respectively in school history in scoring offense per season, and we received a ranking by the AJC for the first time since 1992. I coached UGA commit Amarius Mims, ranked as the No. 6 overall player in the country and the No. 1 offensive lineman by 24/7 Sports.
And where are you today? Tell us about the transition into your current role.
Patrick: I’m currently head coach at Trion High School, which is located in northwest Georgia. I was hired by Trion City Schools Board of Education in March 2020, and I’ve been here ever since. I began working the night I was hired, but I wasn’t able to meet with our players until June 8 because of COVID-19. There were a lot of staff and team meetings conducted on various computer-based platforms before we were able to meet face-to-face. Moving, changing jobs, and building a program are not easy, but the difficulty was amplified in the midst of a global pandemic.
I’m also a teacher at the high school. I teach weight training for grades nine through 12.
Give us some history about your early days at Trion. Try to recap the last season and tell us about any goals you have moving forward.
Patrick: Being a first-year head coach was challenging, but being a first-year head coach during a pandemic? That was really challenging. We were a young team that battled injuries and quarantines throughout the year. For example, our starting QB broke his leg during the first game of the season. Of the 60 players who were on our 2020 roster, only four were seniors. Fortunately, we return 20 of 22 possible starters from last season’s team. Our middle school program has a record of 17-1 over the past two seasons. We’re definitely excited about the future of Trion football; good times are coming. Our plan is to go wherever God leads us. For now, I just want to build the program and be as successful as we can be at Trion High School.
Do you have time for hobbies? How do you spend your free time?
Patrick: I obviously love football, but I also really enjoy fishing and hunting, although I rarely do either because I never have time.
Tell us about where you live now, the City of Trion. What’s it like?
Patrick: Well, Trion is a small town in the northwestern part of the state. It’s about 30 minutes east of the Alabama state line, about 45 to 50 minutes south of Chattanooga, Tennessee, and about 35 minutes north of Rome. We moved here in May 2020 to further my career. I like it because it’s a quiet, small town. The people here have been incredible to my family. They have welcomed us with open arms. The people of Trion care deeply about their schools and their children, and they come out in droves to support whatever event is going on. Obviously I love the fact that football matters here. It’s a big deal to people! It has been cool to me, our coaches, and our players to have that constant support and backing.
How is it different than Swainsboro?
Patrick: It’s actually not all that much different than Swainsboro. It’s smaller—if you can imagine that!
What, if anything, do you miss about home?
Patrick: For sure our family. It’s a long ride, especially with two kids, to get to see everyone. I miss hunting and fishing whenever I want to go.
How often do you guys get to come home? When y’all do return to Swainsboro, what are some things that are always on your to-do list?
Patrick: We come back probably two or three times a year. When we come home, our time is spent with family. We will get together with old friends on occasion, but the vast majority of our time is spent with family.
Looking back, how would you say growing up here helped get you where you are today?
Patrick: I was fortunate to grow up in a small, rural town. My parents taught me the value of hard work, and that has propelled me throughout my career. Those lessons were instilled at a young age working at places such as Swainsboro Electro Plating and Advanced Metal. Heck, I remember picking up bails of hay/straw for Frank Cannady at Yard Master. I worked the early morning shift at UPS for nearly five years during my college days before I would go to class.
Who are some important people who have influenced you?
Patrick: I would not be where I am today without my amazing wife, Kayce, who is also a Swainsboro High and GSU alumna. We were high school sweethearts and married a few years after graduation. She has been selfless while I’ve pursued opportunities to advance my career. She’s an amazing mother to our children. She puts everyone else’s needs before hers, and I am forever grateful to her. She is very much appreciated and loved.
My dad, Edwin Patrick, a current resident of Emanuel County, has been incredibly influential as well. Again, he taught me the value of hard work, which wasn’t always a fun lesson to learn at the time. He instilled values such as dependability and punctuality. I remember him constantly saying, “If you tell someone you are going to do something, you do it.”
My early years in the coaching profession at ECI had a profound impact on me and where I am today. I will be forever grateful for guys like Milan Turner, Chad Simmons, and Dwayne Tabor. Those guys invested so much in me and taught me the ins and outs of this profession. I still talk to all of them on a regular basis. Milan taught me that you could run a Christ-centered, successful program. All of the guys on that staff—Chris Kearson, Chad Harper, Brooks Collins, and Ron Flott—were remarkable. They all coached and worked so hard while conducting themselves in a respectable manner. I will be forever grateful for my time spent at ECI, and it has propelled me throughout my career.
Lastly, do you have any advice for young people who might read this interview?
Patrick: Absolutely. Put God first in your life and submit to His will. It doesn’t mean that things will be easy, but there will be a peace in your life that all will be okay.
Be a person of high character. We’ve all heard the saying, “Your character is what you are when no one is looking.” Character matters. Having morals and values matter. I constantly tell my players, “Football will end, but being a good person, a good husband, a good dad, a good employee, etc. will last forever.”
Finally, work hard and don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do something. Strive to be great, but understand that greatness has a price. It’s not always easy, it’s not always fun, but anything worth having takes work.
Do you have someone you’d like to nominate for inclusion in the ”Finding Our Folks” part of The Crossroads Chronicle? Call Halei Lamb at 478-494-3376, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or stop by 571 South Main Street, Swainsboro.