Randall Football Camp a labor of love for founder

Who would volunteer to spend one of the hottest days of summer running 100 kids through the paces? For Grand Strand native and namesake of the fourth annual Jerome Randall Football Camp, it’s all part of a higher calling.

“Growing up I had some great people who looked out for me as a young men, so when I finished college I wanted to pay it forward,” said Randall, a North Myrtle Beach High and South Carolina State graduate who has been mentoring area youths for more than two decades. “My first day after college I volunteered for North Myrtle Beach basketball. I’ve been coaching rec football for 13 years and varsity football for six, and I love it.”

Randall’s passion for the game and the kids were evident as he and a handful of volunteers, including former Clemson and NFL veteran Ricky Sapp and former North Myrtle Beach and current Union (KY) College standout Kendrick Furness, ran approximately 100 kids through drills at Ashley Booth Field in Myrtle Beach on Saturday. The camp was free to kids ages 7 to 15, many of whom were participating for the fourth straight year.

“I’ve been to a lot of camps this summer and this one is a lot of fun,” said Randall’s son, Adam, a rising freshman receiver for Myrtle Beach High. “It shows you how hard you have to work if you want to get better.”

The elder Randall also delivers the message that there’s more to success than sports. When he was injured during his senior season at S.C. State, Randall recalled an important lesson he learned from a former coach.

“I remember my high school math teacher told me when I graduated: ‘Jerome, what are you going to do when the crowd is no longer behind you and they don’t pat you on back after the games? What are you going to do then?'” Randall said. “That’s why one of the things I tell the kids is, ‘You’ve got to get your education and stay healthy if you want to play football, and you have to have a backup plan if things don’t work out.”

Randall practiced what he preaches. As the chief investigator for the 15th Circuit Court and a real estate listing agent, he keeps busy yet continues to find time for his two sons, as well as hundreds of others. He also started his own foundation to raise funds for scholarships to benefit local students. Over the past five years the foundation has awarded 28 $500 scholarships “thanks to so many generous donors,” he said.

“The first year I held the camp I thought, ‘Hey, if I can get 50 to 60 kids come out that would be great’ and 125 showed up,” Randall said. “”Now I’ve been in it so long that I’m starting to see kids I coached in rec league go on to play high school and college ball. Some of them are coming back to work at the camp and learning about giving back. I hope it’s something they continue to do because it has been very rewarding for me.”

And for a lot of hot but happy campers.

– Photo by Janet Morgan/myhorrynews

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