High School Sports

Adam Sanders hired as Apex Friendship’s first football coach

Chapel Hill celebrates during the fourth quarter including offensive coordinator Adam Sanders (left in yellow). The Southern Durham Spartans played the Chapel Hill Tigers in Durham, N.C. on Friday, November 28, 2014. Chapel Hill won 39-28
Chapel Hill celebrates during the fourth quarter including offensive coordinator Adam Sanders (left in yellow). The Southern Durham Spartans played the Chapel Hill Tigers in Durham, N.C. on Friday, November 28, 2014. Chapel Hill won 39-28 newsobserver.com

Adam Sanders has been tapped as the coach to build the Apex Friendship High School football program from the ground up.

Sanders, 28, will be 30 when the Patriots play their first varsity football game in the fall of 2016. Apex Friendship, which will join the Southwest Wake Athletic 4A Conference, will play only a junior varsity schedule in football in the school’s first year.

But Sanders has been a head JV coach in two different stops – Chapel Hill and Holly Springs. He returned to Chapel Hill two years ago as the Tigers’ offensive coordinator and associate head coach. The Tigers went all the way to the 3AA East final this year under head coach Isaac Marsh, who Sanders calls a mentor and friend.

“One of the things I really learned from him was to share leadership,” Sanders said. “That’s what I want to do in my system, I want to invite everyone on staff to have a stay and everyone to have buy-in, from the staff to the players.”

In his one year at Holly Springs, Sanders got to know Apex Friendship athletics director Matt Clifton, who was also a football assistant.

“I got a chance to see how he does things first-hand. You can look at the success Chapel Hill’s had over the last couple of years with him running the offense,” Clifton said. “He’s a good young coach with lots of enthusiasm. I felt like for the longevity of the program, he would be a good person to bring in.”

Sanders’ Chapel Hill teams ran a no-huddle, fast-paced offense.

But more than X’s and O’s, he’s excited about building the program around character.

“We really want to do it the right way and make sure we have some quality guys on board to help complete young men grow up. I just enjoy working with kids,” Sanders said.

“He’s been such a great mentor,” “I want to invite my staff

Sanders is a Rock Hill, S.C. native who played for Westminster Catawba and Furman University, where he was a backup to future NFL running back Jerome Felton. He teaches social studies at Chapel Hill but lives five minutes from Apex Friendship, which is still undergoing construction.

“I’ve cut my drive down from 45 minutes to five minutes,” Sanders said.

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