Success Unlimited set for football later this year
By Tim Gayle
Bolstered by the acquisition of playing fields, Success Unlimited Academy is a big step closer to kicking off the Mustangs’ new football program in 2018.
“Our plan is, and always has been, to field a football team in 2018,” Success Unlimited founder and headmaster Susan Alred said. “That’s our goal, that’s the plan, that’s what we’re striving toward. Our only holdup is we need some partnerships with community leaders that are either going to come out and help us coach and take care of this team or some financial investments, people that care about the sport, the kids and getting things off the ground. That’s our biggest hurdle right now. We’re about 50 percent into our fundraising toward this program, but we’ve got a long way to go.
“Now that we’ve secured a field, we feel very strongly that we’re going to be able to get to the goal by August. There are some steps we’re still working on, but I’ve got the right coach to take care of it.”
Success Unlimited athletic director Bill Granger looked over the fields at True Divine Baptist Church on the Troy Highway (formerly the site of AISA member Calvary Christian School) and said his school’s multi-year deal with the church for usage of the fields was the last major hurdle for the football program.
“I’m going to say all indications are that football is a go,” Granger said. “Things are moving at a steady, progressive pace, we’re ahead of where we had projected but we also realize there are still hurdles to jump. With diligent work and God’s help, that’s going to happen as well.”
The Mustangs now have uniforms and a place to play, but need to secure equipment such as shoulder pads and helmets before the start of spring practice in May.
“Mrs. Alred and I have been seeking individuals who will partner with us to make this happen,” Granger said. “Because it’s still a big financial venture and it’s a faith venture. It’s one that we’re 100 percent sure is the right way to go. It offers our kids the same that others have, so we want that for them. We expect it to be excellent because that’s what we expect of ourselves.”
The football field, with maintains an operating scoreboard, hasn’t been used by a high school team since Calvary Christian’s final season in 2005. After a couple of owners, True Divine Baptist Church purchased the church and school buildings in 2010 but had no real use for the athletic fields behind the facility.
Workers hired by Success Unlimited are now working on the baseball and softball fields to get them ready for use this spring, with work on the football field to follow.
“In return for the usage, we’ll get it ready for competition,” Granger said. “It opens the door for our athletic department to continue to grow. It’s always a comfort to know that you can bring athletes to one place. It’s just a wonderful location because it is so convenient to our campuses.
One of my main concerns was a place where we could practice and play. Now we have that, so this is huge.”
True Divine pastor Steven Huntley said the agreement for the use of the field will help his congregation, which previously only used the fields for youth activities.
“We’ve had folks come out and partner with us as far as the gym was concerned,” Huntley said. “But we haven’t had a school that we engaged with that wanted a short-term deal in order to fulfill a purpose of using the fields. So when Success reached out to us, it was like this is what we need, this is what we want to happen in terms of helping young people out. Especially in the area where softball and baseball is concerned, because in a lot of the intercity communities, baseball and softball is not the thing. So this is big for us, for our kids to know they’re out there and to go to some of the practices and get some level of influence from them.”
The two campuses of True Divine Baptist Church may, in turn, become huge Success Unlimited fans in the future.
“Just the idea of baseball being played at the level Success will bring in is important,” Huntley said. “We do the RBI (Reviving Baseball in Inter Cities) program … but the skill-set level is minimal. With Success coming on campus, the kids get a chance to be introduced to a greater level of baseball, which I’m hoping will provide the intercity kids some motivation to play baseball.”
Granger said he has enough football-oriented teachers on the school’s staff to put together a football staff. The school just added a strength and conditioning coach this week in preparation for the upcoming football season. The Mustangs currently compete in the Alabama Christian Sports Conference but likely will add some Alabama Independent School Association opponents this fall.
“Presently, we’re in a situation in the (Alabama) Christian Sports Conference where we can compete in both, those that have football in our league and with AISA,” Granger said. “That opens up two leagues that we can actually play in. Right now, we have a league to play in.”