Once a Newton-Conover football player, Antonio Lyerly is making new waves this season at Bandys High School.
Lyerly is serving as a volunteer wide receivers and defensive backs coach for the Trojans this fall.
He also plans to coach the Lady Trojans junior varsity basketball team this winter.
Lyerly spent the past two years as sports coordinator at a YMCA in Charlotte.
“I wanted to get back into coaching and move back into the area because my family is here,” said Lyerly, who played both basketball and football at N-CHS. “I called (Bandys coach) Trent (Lowman) over the summer to see if anything was available. They had a position for me, and I jumped on it. It was an opportunity of a lifetime.”
After attending Mars Hill College for four years and graduating in 2010, Lyerly served as a student-teacher at N-CHS, working on the varsity football staff under former Red Devils head coach Nick Bazzle.
When Bazzle left N-CHS for Alexander Central after the 2011 season, Lyerly soon found himself out of Catawba County, but his passion for helping young people remained.
“This is an opportunity to give back and be a role model,” Lyerly said of his position at Bandys High. “You can influence kids and do the right thing. That’s the main thing we try to do here at Bandys. We try to get kids to that next level. I just want to come to a school where they are looking to do that and give back. I’m trying to get these kids in the right direction.”
Lowman said that Lyerly is a welcome addition to his coaching staff.
“Antonio is a big help,” Lowman said. “He has a really good rapport with the kids already. He is really young, really excited and really motivated to coach. He is also knowledgeable.”
Lyerly’s alma mater meets his current team when the Red Devils travel to Catawba on Nov. 8 to take on the Trojans.
It is a game Lyerly is looking forward to.
“That is going to be incredible,” Lyerly said of the Newton-Bandys match up late in the season. “I’ve actually got sisters enrolled at Newton-Conover. One is a freshman and the other is junior. It is going to be interesting. It’s been a house divided since I took this position, but it’s all fun.”