Leading the Commerce High School football team as quarterback, Bobby Lamb looks to the sideline to receive a play call. His coach sends one in, but he’s not just any coach — he’s Bobby’s father, Ray Lamb.
That was more than 40 years ago. Football runs in the Lamb family DNA. Bobby Lamb is now Mercer football’s head coach. His brother, Hal Lamb, is the head coach at Calhoun High School.
Bobby Lamb’s son, Taylor Lamb, just graduated from Appalachian State University, where he played quarterback. He is now a graduate assistant at the University of South Carolina.
It’s these family ties — and relationships like them — that have molded Bobby Lamb’s coaching philosophies. Those philosophies have reaped 100 career victories after Mercer’s 45-3 victory over Jacksonville on Sept. 8.
“If you coach long enough, you’re eventually going to run into it,” Lamb said. “But to do it here at Mercer and to do it at home in front of the home fans was pretty special. … I’ve gotten a lot of notes and texts from players (and) Facebook posts.”
The game was Lamb’s 33rd win at Mercer. The others came during his nine-year tenure at Furman, where he led the Paladins to a Southern Conference Championship in 2004.
Before taking over as head coach in 2002, Lamb played quarterback for the Paladins and served as an assistant from 1986-2001. During that time, Lamb was under the tutelage of coaches Dick Sheridan, Jimmy Satterfield and Bobby Johnson.
Along with his father, Lamb said those three coaches left a mark on what his own personal philosophy would become.
“You kind of roll all their philosophies into one, put a little bit of yourself into the program, and you have to create a culture that’s going to be successful,” Lamb said.
Lamb learned the fundamentals, hard work and leadership from his father. Sheridan was a “stern disciplinarian,” who would make the team run a play 30 times correctly if it messed up just once. Satterfield would give Lamb room to coach his players.
“We just want to do things the right way on and off the field. We want to play hard when we’re on the field, and then we want to act like gentlemen when we’re off the field,” Lamb said. “Those things that I’ve learned from those coaches has certainly taken me this far.”
Johnson left Furman in 2001 to take the heading coach job at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, which opened the door for Lamb to step into the role of head coach. Lamb said Johnson practiced many of the philosophies Sheridan and Satterfield preached, but Johnson specifically taught him there was more to life than football.
“To coach (players) and play games with them is great, but at the end of the day they have to leave here and become husbands (and) fathers,” Lamb said. “And that’s the most important thing: that we have a little bit of say in that.”
Mercer next plays at 3 p.m. Saturday at Samford.