Richmond Hill's Zach Broome made the University of South Carolina football team as a walk-on earlier this year and will be on the Gamecocks roster in 2011. That apparently makes Broome the first player from Richmond Hill High School to play on a Southeastern Conference team. Broome, who is 6-foot-3 and weighs 205 pounds, will be at wide receiver for South Carolina.
Here in a Q&A is his take on football and much more.
Q: Talk about your football career, starting with your rec league days and moving on through high school. Did you play other sports?
A: I've been involved with football since I could walk. It started with me watching my older brother Max practice when I was the age of 5 and sometimes his coach would allow me to stretch with the team and hit dummies. Finally, when I turned 6, I was able to join the rec league here in Riichmond Hill. I grew up playing running back all the way up to high school. I left Richmond Hill in the 6th grade and played at Calvary until the 10th grade. My freshman year at Calvary, I played a little running back but started free safety as a freshman. I had always wanted to come back and play for my hometown and did that entering the 11th grade. Once arriving at Richmond Hill, my running back days were over and I slowly made the transition to wide receiver and quarterback, mostly just for the option offense.
I also grew up playing baseball since I was 5 and played all the way up until high school. Many believed that I would have gone somewhere to play baseball and were bummed that I decided to make football my number one priority.
Q: Talk about some of the people who were important to you growing up as an athlete in Richmond Hill.
A: Trent Lemonds, better known as "Coach Trent," was like my second father. He coached me most of my childhood in football and baseball. If it weren't for him, the values and work ethic I have today would be nowhere near where they are. He was one of those rough and tough coaches that literally pushed you to the max. Even at 9-years-old we were running as much as some high school and collegiate athletes -- and I can truly say that. There was no room for excuses but only room for improvements. He truly was a blessing even though it's hard to understand when you're running and hitting as much as we did at such a young age. It goes to show that being tough on kids really pays off. There are six of us who played for Coach Trent that have the opportunity to play college ball. That tells you something in itself and how great he made us become.
Playing ball in middle school, I grew a tight relationship with a man named Dustin Dauphinee. He passed away April 6, 2010. We had a tight, brotherly bond in middle school. When he passed it certainly was a tough deal. I can remember the work ethic he put in every day with his father and no one could match his dedication. We would always joke around about playing against each other in college one day. I now consider it fulfilled that we play on the same team because I know he watches over me and has my back. He truly is an inspiration. I wear a bracelet that honors him and as a reminder of what he stood for. He lived by, "For I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me." Phil 4:13.
Of course, Coach Lyman Guy is not only my coach but my mentor. He is, without a doubt, a blessing to not only me but this entire community. His strong values are hard for some to comprehend, but the ones who truly spend time with him understand his message and his reasoning behind every action he takes. I can honestly say he is the type of man who doesn't live through sight, but through faith. I am so thankful for everything he has done for me and he is exactly what this community needs. He knows what it takes to rise to the top and without question has the most dedication to his purpose out of anyone that I know. He is the definition of a leader, coach, friend and father. I look forward to seeing his bright future ahead here in Richmond Hill.
Finally, my father (Butch Broome). If it weren't for him who knows where I would be. I thank him for everything he's done and the sacrifices he has made. When God had me in mind, I know he had the perfect father for me and I thank him for that.
Q: What made you decide to transfer from Calvary to Richmond Hill High School?
A: Well I grew up in the rec department playing with everyone and they were all like my brothers. I missed everyone and at Calvary, I never really had that hometown feel. Nothing beats playing for a team that represents an entire community.
The program is definitely headed in the right direction. Coach Guy really knows what its going to take in order for us to be at the top. Last year was a huge improvement. If we can get the town behind the team, the possibilities are truly endless for Richmond Hill.
Q: How important is faith in your life?
A: God is one of the driving forces of my motivation. I truly believe we are not created to be average. We were created to do amazing things throughout our life to show the power of God and anything is possible. We get one life, one shot to do everything we can; whether it be through helping others or giving inspiration to those in needs. We are all called to perfect our craft.
Q: You injured your knee in high school. How bad was it?
A: My junior season, we started off great. Fifth game into the season, I was carrying out a fake to the right side and the line collapsed on my left knee, completely tearing my MCL and meniscus. Completely sliced. That took me out for the rest of the season and once senior season started, they had to go back in and fix my meniscus again which took me out for half of my senior season.
Q: Why was it important for you to come back and play again?
A: Coming back was extremely important. No matter what you go through in life, you never stop. Like I mentioned before, you get one shot, no more. Back from when Coach Trent was coaching, there is no time for excuse, no room. You have to keep moving and never back down from what you set out to do.
Q: How did the injury impact recruiters who might have been looking at you?
A: I had about four big schools interested before I tore my knee, UGA and Georgia Tech included, and about 10 smaller schools. After the injury, all the big schools were gone but the smaller schools remained. After my senior season, I was encouraged by South Carolina special teams Coach Shane Beamer to walk-on (Beamer is now at Virginia Tech with his dad). I knew it would be hard work but knew my capabilities. I ignored all offers and set out for Carolina.
Q: What are your goals? Do you want to play in the NFL?
A: I want to be able to help others as much as I can, I want to inspire and motivate people to be there best. If football inspires others, then it's doing what I intend. Playing on Sundays is definitely something I've wanted since I could walk, this is just the first step on a long journey that will be impossible to reach without God's grace. Only God knows what's in store. I do want to own my own business at some point in my life and get the absolute most out of life. I also want to help this football program grow and manifest into what its true capabilities are.
Q: What's Steve Spurrier like?
A: Most people wouldn't think it, but he's a great guy who likes to have a little fun, he cares about his players and takes time to get to know them on a personal level.
Q: What's on your bucket list?
A: As I mentioned earlier, I want to help as many people as possible. Also getting the most out of life, seeing the world and what it has to offer and just having fun. Definitely some crazy things like jumping off cliffs, sky diving, bungee jumping etc., (are also on the list.)
Q: What do you like to read?
A: Anything written by Dale Carnegie for sure. "Miles to Go" by Richard Paul Evans, "Common Sense" by Glenn Beck, The Bible, of course, and I hate to say it, but the Twilight series is pretty good.