By CHRIS HOBBS
CATAWBA – When Tom Eanes saw the head football coaching job at Bandys High was open, he decided to hit Hudl and watch film on the Trojans to get a feel for what they were about.
“I knew they had a run with Randy and Trent,” Eanes said, referring to previous head coaches Randy Lowman and his son, Trent. “I saw (on film) some hard-nosed, hard-playing kids and that was part of the appeal. The community is very supportive and loves athletics, so those were a number of the factors,” in his decision to apply.
Eanes — 62 and head coach for the last four seasons at Patton in Burke County — emerged from a field of nearly 30 candidates to become the choice to replace Trent Lowman, who resigned to become head football coach at East Surry.
Eanes will be introduced to players, faculty and the community in the school’s media center on Tuesday at 3 p.m., athletic director Brandon Harbinson said.
“We feel that Coach Eanes is the perfect fit for our program and community,” Harbinson said. “He understands the importance of youth programs and feeder programs and plans to bring us all together as one Trojan(s) family. He loves kids and loves doing what he does …
“His experience is invaluable and his presence will make an immediate impact on our program. His experience combined with the incredible football staff we have – who are all proven winners – will no doubt build a successful, competitive program at Bandys.”
Bandys went 5-7 last season and 23-35 in Trent Lowman’s five seasons after he replaced his dad as head coach. Randy Lowman, head coach for 26 years, won 206 games and guided the Trojans to three state championship games.
Bandys went 21-41-1 in Randy Lowman’s first six seasons as head coach, then 185-77 over his last 20 seasons and that included 51-6 from 1996-1999.
Eanes will debut Aug. 17 at home against St. Stephens in his ninth head-coaching position. His first job as head coach was in 1986, replacing retiring Bruce Bolick at East Lincoln, and he then was head coach at Hillsborough Orange, Albemarle, East Surry, East Rowan, Pender County, Wilmington Ashley and Paton.
His overall coaching record is 147-187-1 and he’s had 13 state playoff teams, including the last two at Patton. The Panthers were 8-5 two seasons ago and 9-4 last season.
Eanes’ son, Drew, has worked with him since 1995 at Pender County and will join him on the Bandys coaching staff as offensive coordinator. During his career, Drew Eanes spent three years working with the Georgia Southern offense while working as a graduate assistant.
Harbinson said Tom Eanes’ passion and ability to connect with a community helped Eanes land the job.
Eanes, a Davie County graduate, left Wilmington Ashley after three seasons to become head football coach at Patton in 2014, replacing Joey Glass when Glass left to become head football coach at Concord Robinson.
Patton went 1-9 in 2014, then 4-8 and to the state playoffs in 2015.
After winning eight games in 2016, the Panthers had a number of their top players returning last season – especially offensively – but had to tough out significant early-season injuries to finish second in the Northwestern Foothills 2A (5-1) and win nine games.
Joe Eakin, the returning starting quarterback who was coming off a season of 2,014 rushing yards and 2,273 in total offense, got hurt in the first game last year and was lost for the season.
Five games into last season, running back William Brawley – who had 1,514 rushing yards the year before — was lost of the season with an injury. He had 89 carries for 999 yards through five games.
“A lot of it (still succeeding) had to do with spending a lot of offseason (prior to the 2017 season) bringing kids on board,” Eanes said. “We had them learn all positions… we made them learn what all 11 positions would be doing.
“We got through it (injuries) because we were able to bring some kids in, and they were also in their fourth year doing this.
“We had to fight and have a never-say-die attitude. The players loved it (opportunity) – sort of next man up, No. 2 (guy) gets some reaps.”
While he will take some time to access the returning players at Bandys, Eanes said he’ll run some type of option offense because he has found success with it. He said he’s had quarterbacks with size and varying skills run the option well.
“You can be very successful if you have the brain for it,” he said. “I’ve never been able to have those 6-foot-3 and 6-4 linemen before. We’ll run some power, some triple and some doubles. All types mixed in with the other.”