Bartow Sports Zone is proud to bring you the first installment of a new Q & A series: “Where Are They Now?” The current series of articles will feature former Bartow County football players. In this opening edition, we feature former Woodland football letterman -- Cole Fountain. Fountain played on both sides of the line of scrimmage early in his high school career, but eventually moved to the offensive side of the ball, where he excelled and moved on to the next level. Cole went on to play and letter at Georgia Southern University for three years. He is now thirty years old and lives in Waycross, GA with his wife Sloan and son, Cooper.
What years you were at Woodland, what was your position and who was the head coach?
I played at Woodland from 2001 to 2005. I played offensive and defensive line my freshman year, moved to defensive tackle my sophomore year and my last two seasons were spent at center and offensive tackle. John Camp was my coach for my first two season, then it was Todd Simpson.
Do you have a favorite coach from Woodland? If so, who and why?
Nicky Moore was one of my favorite coaches. During my sophomore year we were on our way to South Forsyth and we did not know who was starting that night. I was playing defensive line and he got us together on the back of the bus and told all of us, “we got two boys that will be growing up tonight.” Those two boys were Kenny Baker and me. We started for the rest of our careers at Woodland. Coach Moore left after my sophomore year to go to Adairsville and then I had coaches Brian Knuchel and Tony Plott. They were both awesome coaches and extremely knowledgeable.
PHOTO RIGHT: Cole Fountain holding son Cooper with wife Sloan and parents Chris and Lynn Fountain.
Coach Plott and Coach Simpson worked hard on the recruitment of his players, myself included. Coach Plott was a tough coach that knew how to inspire. I remember one instance where I was having a bad day in the weight room and he pulled me aside and said, “you have the ability to play for a Division One school, but the way you’re working will not get you to that level.” That stuck with me. If it were not for Coach Plott and Coach Simpson, I would likely not have had the opportunity to play at the next level. Coach Simpson worked as hard coaching the game as he did getting his guys recruited. We had five seniors sign scholarships from our class.
Favorite high school teammate and why? From my class, I would say Kenny Baker, Chima Ikwuezunma, and Quentin Kent. We all were like brothers, playing together all four years and signing scholarships after our careers at Woodland. Matt Stephens and Jermile Richards were older guys that took me under their wing and taught me how to mature as a player. It was like having two big brothers that you could lean on during practice and school to help you grow up and show you the ropes.
Favorite high school moment? Beating Cass my junior year. It was a very tight game and I just remember it went down to the wire. They had some great athletes and we squeaked it out, 20-18.
Best player you played against in high school? I didn’t play against him in games, but I attended camps with Tray Blackmon, who played at LaGrange High School and signed with Auburn. He was just a freak athlete. I remember watching one of his highlights from our senior year and Blackmon breaking another player’s jaw with a hard hit.
Best you played with? David Malone. He played running back and was a freak in the weight room and a phenomenal athlete. He ran a 4.3 40-yard dash and probably bench-pressed 350 pounds in high school.
What years you were at Georgia Southern, what was your position and who was the head coach?
I was there from 2005 – 2010. I played all five positions on the offensive line, but started at right tackle my junior and senior seasons. I played for Mike Sewak in 2005. Brian VanGorder in 2006, and Chris Hatcher from 2007 – 2009.
Who else recruited you? Air Force Academy, Northeastern University in Boston, Middle Tennessee State, Tusculum College.
Why did you choose Georgia Southern? They won six national championships since starting the program in 1981. They won their last two national championships in 1999 and 2000 and then had won four of the last five Southern Conference championships before I arrived.
What years you lettered: 2007, 2008, 2009
Do you have a favorite coach from Georgia Southern? If so, who and why? The two that stick out the most was my position coach Shawn Bostick in the Hatcher Era. He was a “players coach” that played offensive line at Valdosta State, so he knew what our lives were like. He was very knowledgeable and a great coach on and off the field. The other was Rance Gillespie who is now the offensive coordinator at Georgia Southern. He was the smartest coach I knew. He understood every aspect of offense and really loved teaching the game.
Favorite teammate and why? My best friend on the team was Chris Ashkouti from Atlanta, Georgia. He went to Marist for high school. Being from two different areas, we did not have much in common but we clicked anyway. He was in my wedding and we still talk on a regular basis. I was also very close to Jonathon Loving, who played on the offensive line with me. We were roommates with the same major, so we spent many hours together.
Favorite moment? The definite highlight of my career was playing UGA in 2008. Growing up in Georgia, you always dream of playing in Sanford Stadium. They were the top team in the nation at the time and while we did not win the game, we beat UGA in one thing that day. We had less guys cramp up in the game then they did! We were in great shape and it was about 100 degrees on the field that day. The second was beating Appalachian State in Boone in 2007. We snapped their 30-game home win streak and they later went on to beat Delaware in the national championship.
Best player you played against in college?
I played against Jarius Wynn of Georgia and Robert Quinn of of North Carolina, both guys were freaks of nature that were fast and impossible to move. Wynn played in the NFL for awhile and Quinn is still with the Los Angeles Rams.
Best you played with? Jayson Foster of Canton, Georgia. The guy literally could move in ways the human body shouldn’t be able to move. He had unbelievable speed and quickness and could make guys look silly. He played in the NFL with the Miami Dolphins and a few other teams. I also got to play with him in 2007 when he won the Walter Payton award (Division 1-AA Heisman Trophy). He also broke the school record of Tracy Hamm for the most total yards in school history in 2007.
What is your life like after football? Life after football is great. I met my wife Sloan of Waycross, while we were at Georgia Southern and we were married in 2010. We have a two year old son Cooper, who is spoiled rotten and is loving life. He enjoys anything that has to deal with “Toy Story,” bulldozers and dump trucks.
I began working for Flash Foods in 2010 as a division supervisor. I worked in Brunswick from 2011 – 2014. Then we moved back to Waycross and I worked there from October 2014 to January of 2016. In January, I was promoted to Category Manager for our warehouse Distribution South in Alma that services all 165 of our Georgia and North Florida stores.
I am responsible for buying all the products that come through our warehouse, managing monthly promotions, and deciding what products go on our shelves and where. It’s an awesome job and a great company. Flash Foods is based out of Waycross and has stores as far north as Woodstock, east to Savannah, West to Thomasville and south to Fernandina Beach Florida.
How did football affect your life in a positive way and do you have any advice for young players? Football is one of those games that has every aspect of life within the game. There are highs, lows, tough times, and great times. It teaches you to weather the storm. There’s no better feeling than a big win and there is no worse feeling than a tough loss.
Football is about managing emotions. I know with all the media attention football gets, because of the possible physical repercussions that can happen, parents are making tough decisions regarding letting their kids play. Bad things can happen anywhere, anytime. If my child wants to play, he will. If he doesn’t then life will go on. I will definitely push him to a team sport, just because of the life lessons that are involved.
My advice for young players is always keep things in this order when going through life and playing the game: God, Family, Football. When it comes to the game of football: Work Hard, Play Fast, and Have Fun. If you can stick to those three basic things, football will take you as long as you want it to.