Recently, I had the privilege of interviewing former Gamecock linebacker, Shaq Wilson, on his return the South Carolina as a coach and why he chose coaching as the next step in his football career. After a brief interview, it is easy to see that Wilson’s heart is in the right place and he is ready to lead the Gamecocks on the sideline and in the locker room.
GnC: When did you realize that coaching was something you wanted to do?
SW: ”When I first arrived at First Coach High School and began getting coached by my defensive coordinator Fred Culver, aka Coach C. The impact he had on all the kids, being a father figure, and helping them get to their goals of getting into college and being a positive impact on the community. This was my 10th grade year in high school that all this happened and he has been there for many in Jacksonville. Not just my high school, but also the whole county of Duval.”
GnC: What is the best and hardest part of coaching at South Carolina?
SW: ”The best, I like to say, is yet to come. But a big plus is being able to continue my education and earning my masters degree in the college of social work. I’ll say the biggest plus is my co-workers and working with living legends and great men who have families and really cherish the little things. The hardest thing is probably forgetting it’s shorts season at the office and I tend to wear long dress pants or khakis. So they (other coaches) tell me to enjoy this period when we are allowed to wear shorts to the office.”
GnC: How has the Gamecock coaching staff supported you so far?
SW: ”They’ve been great. It’s just a family atmosphere and I learn something new with every encounter I have with every coach and grad assistant. Just seeing how everything is run and being there to help with the process of becoming an SEC champion and more. Everyday is another step up that ladder.”
GnC: What do you feel you bring to the table in terms of coaching, since your college career just ended, that other coaches might not have?
SW: ”Knowledge, energy, and the understanding of just being in the locker room and knowing what those guys are thinking and being able to be a bridge to get what the coaches may want to get across to the players; and just knowing what it takes to play linebacker at a high level and knowing what a good defensive player and special teams player’s mindset should be and how they should attack the game on and off the field.”
GnC: What’s your favorite Carolina Football memory of you and a particular coach, and why?
SW: ”Coach Botkin just coming to every meeting, practice, and game saying “If you don’t think everyday is a good day, just try missing one.” He just made sure every day that you knew that it was a blessing to do what we do and to take pride in every single thing you do.”
Clearly, Shaq Wilson is passionate about coaching and impacting those around him. Wilson’s leadership in the Gamecock defense was paramount to South Carolina’s success in previous seasons. Furthermore, having Shaq coaching the Gamecocks throughout the week and on Saturday’s will have an impact on the SEC title run that Gamecock fans are longing for.