Sports

Sid Edwards Show Kicks Off This Thursday

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Submitted by Jon Fine Sports

Two great stories converge this Thursday, July 1.  The return of a weekly Central sports show to the radio and Internet, which has been sorely missed by Central sports fans the last 3 ½ years, will coincide with one of the coaching legends in Louisiana, the man who resurrected the long-dormant Central HS football program, being on air weekly.  All this just 3 days before Independence Day.  There’ll be a lot for Central citizens to celebrate this week including the debut of The Sid Edwards Show, which will air 52 weeks a year!

Starting this Thursday, July 1, The Sid Edwards Show comes to the airwaves.  Broadcasting live from Fox’s Pizza Den in Central, The Sid Edwards Show will air Thursday nights, 5pm-6pm, on WPFC, 1550AM, Baton Rouge.  The program can also be heard live on the Internet at SportsGumbo.net.  A Jon Fine Sports Production, The Sid Edwards Show will be co-hosted by City of Central Athletic Director Sid Edwards and Central HS assistant football and baseball coach Steve Johnson.

The Sid Edwards Show will concentrate largely on Central HS athletics, with Wildcats coaches and players as guests on the show each week.  Ex-Wildcats coaches and athletes will also be featured regularly on the program.  The Sid Edwards Show proudly embraces Central High School academia, with a weekly academic segment that will include an interview with either Central HS principal Bob Wales, a member of his administrative staff, teaching staff, or a Central student.  Quite often, The Sid Edwards show will include a piece on the vibrant City of Central Chamber of Commerce and major stories that are taking place in the community.

Anyone who thinks The Sid Edwards show will be a typical coaches show does not know The Sid Edwards Show co-host Steve Johnson!  The former co-host (with Wes Watts) of the extremely popular Central Coaches Corner, which aired between August 2005 and December 2006, the only thing predictable about Steve Johnson is the unpredictable.  There’ll be a lot of good solid Central sports information conveyed on The Sid Edwards Show.  Yet, with Johnson involved, it could, at times, be a circus.  But, it will be a Central Circus, one that will resonate with Central sports fans.  One of ringleader Sid Edwards’ major tasks may be to, at times, reign in Steve Johnson!

Born and raised in Baton Rouge, E.B. ‘Sid’ Edwards has had a remarkable coaching career.  As the freshman coach at Catholic High School, between 1986-1996, Edwards

led his team to an astounding 104-5 record.  Amongst several great players that Edwards coached, perhaps Warrick Dunn stands out not only for his on-the-field exploits (a tremendous career at Catholic HS, Florida State and in the NFL), but most impressively for the work that his foundation has done in helping single mothers move into new houses.  When Dunn’s mother, Betty Smothers, was tragically shot and killed in Baton Rouge in 1991, Dunn was just a senior in high school.  As the oldest in his family, he suddenly became the person in charge.  What Dunn has accomplished since then, in overcoming seemingly insurmountable odds, is one of the great stories of humanity.  Dunn should get just about all of the credit.  Yet, he was helped by several people along the way.  One of his early mentors was Sid Edwards.

As the Head Football Coach at Redemptorist High School, Edwards compiled an overall record of 73-17.  His Wolves football teams won 2 state championships and were a perennial Louisiana high school power. Incredibly, in the 2002 season, Edwards’ teams won state championships in both football and basketball!

After 1-year stints at (New Orleans) Jesuit High School and (Alexandria) Menard HS, Edwards came to Central as Head Football Coach in 2007.  He inherited a once-proud program that experienced tremendous success under Sonny Jackson and John McCann in the 70’s, but has seen largely desultory results since. In a monumental turnaround, the Wildcats went 30-7 in Edwards’ 3 years at the helm, with 2 district championships and reached the 5A state semifinals and quarterfinals the last 2 seasons.

Known as a master motivator and organizer, Edwards has had a reputation of letting his coaches’ coach.  His staffs at Central have included several veteran coaches who have had head coaching experience.  One of them, standout defensive coordinator Doug Dotson, has succeeded Edwards as head Football Coach of the Wildcats.  Edwards relinquished the position to expand upon his position as Athletic Director of Central High School.  Edwards now is the Athletic Director for the entire City of Central school system.

Edwards is real fired up about his radio program. “I am very excited about (The Sid Edwards Show).  We are going to concentrate on the schools, athletics, the community, but mostly the kids.  It is going to be a blast.  We are going to promote great things in Central that many people may not know exist.”

Edwards and his wife Beanie are the parents of 4 children:  Cody (22), Delaney (20), Chase (18)—a Central High School student and Jack Ryan (9)—a Tanglewood Elementary student.

In a figurative sense, Edwards may be, at times, inheriting a fifth youngster one hour a week.  That would be his The Sid Edwards Show co-host Steve Johnson!

The irrepressible one, Steve Johnson is a native of Baker LA.  One of the standout players in the state at Baker HS, Johnson was recently inducted into the Baker HS Sports Hall Of Fame.  An all conference defensive back at USL in 1972, Johnson has weaved coaching into an eclectic career.  He’s been an executive.  He’s sold insurance.  He was (and is) a man of the cloth.  Johnson also has recently served the City of Central as Justice of The Peace.  He has been the Pastor at Immanuel Baptist Church for the last decade, and has served Central HS as a volunteer coach in football and baseball, PA announcer at Boys basketball games and announced Central HS Football games for one year on SportsGumbo.net, in addition to being the Central representative on THE High School Sports Show.

Most recently, Johnson has been a volunteer coach for the Central HS football team the last 3 seasons under Edwards.  Last month, Johnson was appointed as a full-time physical education teacher and assistant football and basketball coach with the Wildcats.

Johnson is married to the former Darryl Brupbacher of Lafayette.  They have 2 children, Jaime and Steven, and 3 grandchildren.  Steven Jr. was a standout baseball and football player at Central High School, and played professionally in the N.Y. Mets system.

The Sid Edwards Show is a Jon Fine Sports Production.  Fine’s company produced Central Coaches Corner, The High School Sports Show (which featured 4 high schools including Central) and has produced Central High School Internet football broadcasts the last 4 years.  In addition, Jon Fine Sports Productions produces radio broadcasts for Denham Springs HS and Episcopal High School and 2 other weekly high school sports shows—Plaquemine Sports Weekly and The Dru Nettles Show.  Fine hosts and produces a weekly sports talk show, Monday Morning Quarterback.  For more information on Jon Fine Sports Productions, please visit SportsGumbo.net.

The Sid Edwards Show has emerged from 3 prior weekly sports shows: not only Central Coaches Corner and THE High School Sports Show, but from Livingston Sports Weekly.  Central Coaches Corner aired on The Score, 1210AM and SportsGumbo.net.  As Central Coaches Corner left the airwaves in December 2006, Livingston Sports Weekly (another show produced by Jon Fine Sports Productions) continued to air on The Score, 1210AM and SportsGumbo.net.  In January 2008, at the behest of Jon Fine (and the approval of The Score, 1210AM and Denham Springs HS football coach Dru Nettles from whom Fine requested approval before proceeding), Central HS joined the party in what then became known as THE High School Sports Show.

Central Coaches Corner aired its first 3 weeks at Legends Sports Bar in Central, before moving to Lafleur’s in Denham Springs (but owned by the late Ben Berry, a big Central supporter) for the duration of the program. The program aired Monday nights, 6pm-7pm on The Score, 1210AM and SportsGumbo.net.  Livingston Sports Weekly aired its entire time at Lafleurs on Thursday nights, 7pm-8pm.  THE High School Sports Show aired initially at Lafleur’s, before moving to Fox’s Pizza Den in Central in August 2008.  Initially hosted by Josh Ward, Fine succeeded Ward in January 2009. Both Ward and Fine not only hosted the show, but also handled the Denham Springs HS segment. Since the show’s inception, Johnson has been the Central correspondent, with Robbie Harrison representing Live Oak High School and Chris Ledoux the Walker HS contributor.

And, that is how we have arrived at The Sid Edwards Show.  This Thursday, July 1, 2010, THE High School Sports Show branches off into The Sid Edwards Show and The Dru Nettles Show (Thursdays, 7pm-8pm, The Score, 1210AM, Fox Sports Radio, Baton Rouge/Internet:  SportsGumbo.net, co-hosted by Dru Nettles and Jon Fine, broadcasting live from Big Mike’s Sports Bar & Grill in Denham Springs).

The Sid Edwards Show will air on a gospel station—WPFC (and on the Net at SportsGumbo.net).  WPFC stands for We Pray For Christ.  Pastor Ralph Moore, the station’s owner, is largely involved with WPFC both on and off the air.  Pastor Moore is also a coach of a youth football team, the Baton Rouge Raiders.  He resides in the city of Central

Producer Jon Fine of The Sid Edwards Show is excited about the prospects of The Sid Edwards Show airing on WPFC.  “Pastor Moore should be great to work with.  We have a station with a great signal, not only in Central, but with a tremendous radius.  Most importantly, we’re on in prime time, 5pm-6pm, a wonderful time to be on the radio”. 

Fine emphasizes, though, that there will be a major challenge to overcome for the show to succeed.  “In order for us to make it in the long-term, it is imperative that the good people of Central help us in spreading the word about The Sid Edwards Show. We have a nice station with a perfect time slot.  WPFC has a good listener audience.  Unfortunately, as a gospel station, many of their listeners may not reside in Central.  So, in a certain sense, we have to build up our audience ourselves from the ground floor.”

How can people help?  Fine will be sending out The Sid Edwards Show flyers and cards to many Central businesses in the next week.  He requests that businesses display these

flyers in visible locations and put out the show cards for people to take.  Fine also encourages businesses to e-mail him at Jon@SportsGumbo.net for these publicity items if they have not received them in the next week-10 days.

Fine also points out that in today’s edition of Central Speaks.com Newspaper, there is a full page ad publicizing The Sid Edwards Show.  He says that this ad will appear in the next 3 editions of the paper.  “This may sound crazy, but these beautiful color ads are suitable for framing. If we could get numerous businesses in the Central community to frame this ad and put it up in a place where there customers can see it, this would immensely help The Sid Edwards Show.”

In addition, Fine says that he is counting on Central Speaks.com Newspaper and Jon Fine Sports Productions to have an excellent, mutually beneficial working relationship.  “We have an extraordinary, unprecedented (for Fine) working relationship with Jeff David and the great people at the Livingston Parish News for our Denham Springs HS and Livingston Parish programming. I’m hoping that this is the type of working relationship we can establish long-term with Central Speaks.com Newspaper.  I’ve been very impressed with (Central Speaks.com Newspaper owners) Austin Myer and Dave Freneth and their new publication.  So far, we’ve gotten off to a great start in working with them.  I really hope that we can have a win-win with this newspaper, so that Central Speaks.com Newspaper benefits, Jon Fine Sports Productions (including The Sid Edwards Show) benefits, and most importantly, with our 2 organizations working together, the Central sports fan reaps the benefits with greatly enhanced sports coverage of Central HS sports.”

Fine is also counting on support from the Central Chamber, which has had Jon Fine Sports Productions as a member since 2004, in helping publicize the Sid Edwards Show.  He calls the Chamber and its leader Ron Erickson “dynamic”. 

Fox’s Pizza Den is located on Magnolia Bridge Road in the Magnolia Bridge Shopping Center in Central.  Owned by Joey Keller, Fox’s Pizza Den has been a big backer of Central High School athletics.  Fine has been overwhelmed with Keller’s support for THE High School Sports Show and, now, The Sid Edwards Show.  “Joey, his family and staff have been a dream to work with.  They are so into local sports, high school sports, Central sports.  It is mind-boggling.  We’re thrilled to have Fox’s Pizza Den as the home of The Sid Edwards Show and encourage everyone to attend to see and hear the program at Fox’s.”  Fox’s Pizza Den has a second location in Zachary.

Fine is especially appreciative of the loyal sponsors his company has had on its preceding high school shows who have continued to participate in The Sid Edwards Show.  They include:   Baker Printing, Central Drug Store, Demco, Fox’s Pizza Den, and Hunt’s Tire & Car Care.  “Along with Sid Edwards and Steve Johnson, they’re the real stars of the show”. 

Central HS teacher and coach Victoria Eskola, with husband, Thomas, loyal devotees of Central Coaches Corner and THE High School Sports Show, will provide The Sid Edwards Show with great assistance both leading up to and during the program.  Fine says that, “one of her prime areas of responsibilities is to limit the amount of pizza that Steve Johnson takes from Coach Sid and guests on the program!!” 

Fine eagerly anticipates The Sid Edwards Show.  “Central has its own show again.  We have 2 of the top personalities in the city as co-hosts.  If we’re able to get the city to embrace this program, the possibilities are unlimited….Their will be fireworks going off this weekend for the 4th.  Yet, metaphorically, we have the chance to have fireworks going off every Thursday at 5 pm, 52 weeks a year, with The Sid Edwards Show at Fox’s Pizza Den!!”

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