High School in Pitt County has a new head football Coach this year. But
Paul Cornwell's story to the top of the Chargers program is not your
normal success story. It is a lesson about not giving up.
Cornwell played football at A-G and graduated in 1987. He took a few
community college classes, but was never really into the next level of
education. Cornwell found a pretty good job with the Red Cross, and the
hours allowed him to stick around football. He became an assistant
coach at North Pitt High School.
But then the Red Cross down sized, and Paul was out of a job. He did
what ever he could to make ends meet. He sold cars, he did computer
technical support, he did landscaping, he sold insurance,
Then at age 31, Cornwell woke up one morning and it was clear as the
nose on his face. He wanted to be a teacher and football coach. So Paul
quit work and went to school full time. He attended East Carolina and
shared classes with students more than 10 years younger than him. But
the dream kept him going, and despite some struggles, Cornwell
graduated from ECU with a teaching degree. He became the first member
of his immediate family to graduate from college.
Then things fell into place. A job came open at his alma mater. He
became an assistant coach to B.T. Chappell at Ayden-Grifton. Then when
B.T. retired, Paul interviewed for the job, and he was chosen to take
over the Chargers program. At his introductory press conference,
Cornwell had to fight back the emotions. He had taken a chance in
midlife when most people are settling into their ways, and the gamble
Paul Cornwell, ECU grad, shows us it's never too late to learn. And
dreams, no matter how big or small, can come true if you really believe
and put forth the effort. Ayden-Grifton will open the Paul Cornwell era
this Friday night at Pamlico, and there will be no one with a bigger
smile on their face at kickoff.