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Parkview building off "tradition" as they prepare for the 2023 season

Often times, people will look to a familiar face when having to have a need met, and in the case of the Parkview Panthers football team, that face is also experienced in the history of the program. Back in March, Joe Sturdivant, a Parkview alum, was named the Panthers’ new head coach, marking his return to the program for the first time since his playing days from 2000-2002, which he helped lead the Panthers to three consecutive state championships.

“It’s been awesome to be back home. It’s been 20 years, I’ve been all over the world, coached in a bunch of different states,” Sturdivant said about his time away from Parkview after graduating. Following his collegiate career at Southern Methodist University, the former standout began his coaching career in 2007 at SMU. Last season, Sturdivant was at nearby, Providence Christian and his return to Parkview is something he believed was meant to happen. “I always felt there was a wind blowing against me going somewhere else and I feel comfortable being back,” Parkview’s new head man said.

Sturdivant added that having been a part of the Panthers’ program during its historic runs from 2000-2002, that experience allowed him to “see this place at the top, what it’s supposed to be like. So it wasn’t like I came in and didn’t know what to do. I knew exactly what to do and how to do it because I had great coaches that have come before me, great coaches that have been here, and I’ve seen the pathway, so it’s been a lot of fun,” Sturdivant said admitting that at times, he does catch himself in aww of the fact that he is coaching at his ala mater.

And as for the past few months with his players, Sturdivant says that they are picking up quickly on what he and his staff are installing. “This is probably the fastest group that I’ve seen buy into the energy, the effort,” he said about the team. And while there are few areas he still wants to work with his team on, he sees the effort from them, especially given the fact that for many of the upperclassmen, there dealing with a “new coach…they’ve really done a great job, I love our effort and I love the fact that some of our top guys are some of our hardest workers”.

And in addition to seeing his players embrace the work ethic that he and his staff is looking for in them, Sturdivant also wants the Panthers to understand and build off the “tradition” of Parkview and not just on the football field. “We never played for ourselves, we always played for something bigger, it was the guys that came before us. The 95 team, the 97 team and so if I can teach them the tradition, those are the guys that laid the foundation, that’s who we’re playing for,” Sturdivant said as he expressed the importance of playing for the Parkview community.

“I want to leave these guys with a legacy. I remember when we got done and all the teams in our high school, if you walk in our cafeteria, were winning, when you would leave every exit or entrance to this town of Lilburn said, ‘welcome to Lilburn, Georgia, city of champions’, I want that for these guys,” Sturdivant added.


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