On prep sports: Waterford football program receives aid from unlikely place

CALDWELL – The Waterford High football team has brand new wooden lockers, courtesy of the Noble Correctional Institution.

All told, the Wildcats gained 82 lockers in their facility thanks to work done by the maintenance staff at the prison as well as several inmates.

Waterford football coach Tom Tucker was more than pleased with the work that was done.

“I don’t know what we would have done without them,” Tucker said. “I appreciate their effort. They did an outstanding job. To say thanks is not enough.”

“We’re blessed to have an experienced maintenance staff capable of performing these types of projects,” said NCI warden Tim Buchanan.

Having this work done at NCI was crucial, as it saved Waterford several thousand dollars. It also gave the inmates who participated a chance to give back to the community, said NCI Public Information Officer David Gray.

“These guys take pride in being able to give back to the community something they’ve taken away,” Gray said.

Buchanan agreed and added “It offers opportunities for offenders to create projects like this so they can help the community.”

The last of the lockers were hauled from Caldwell to Waterford Tuesday by Tucker and Waterford football assistant coach Bob Lemasters. The money Waterford has saved on the lockers has gone towards renovations on the team’s locker room floor and weight room.

NCI case manager Doug Schaad, a Waterford resident, said having the lockers done at the prison was not only cheaper, but more convenient.

“The big benefit for us was getting to custom design (the lockers) in a way you can’t get from a manufacturer,” Schaad said. “It’s great for our facility.”

The lockers were designed in such a way that they serve as chairs as well as a storage place for the players’ gear.

Schaad got the idea from co-worker Bryan Kerns, a maintenance repair worker at the prison. Kerns is a football and baseball coach at Philo High School. He installed lockers created at the prison at Philo’s facilities.

“Good information travels fast,” said Schaad, who followed Kerns’ lead by presenting the idea to Tucker and his staff.

82 new lockers later, Waterford’s football facilities are looking pretty sharp.

Jordan Holland is a sports writer for The Marietta Times. He can be reached at 740-376-5449 or at jholland@mariettatimes.com