Atmore native hoping Tigers’ dream season continues
By JOSH FRYE
News Sports Writer
In just his fifth season as assistant coach with the Auburn Tigers basketball team, Atmore native and Escambia Academy alumnus Chad Prewett is headed for the big showdown as the Tigers are set to make their historic, first-ever appearance in the NCAA Final Four.
“This is huge,” Prewett said during an interview with Atmore News. “One of our goals has always been to make it here, and our ultimate goal has always been to win the championship.”
The Tigers have a chance to do just that after their 77-71 overtime defeat of Kentucky on Sunday (March 31).
“For right now we are relishing the moment,” said Prewett, a 1990 graduate of EA and former basketball coach at the local independent school. “We are about to play on one of the biggest stages in basketball.”
Growing up an Auburn man, Prewett always dreamed of becoming a Tigers coach.
In 2014, that dream became a reality.
“I always wanted to be a basketball coach at Auburn, and God blessed me with a chance to fulfill my dream,” he said. “However, I always dreamed of going to the NCAA Final Four and winning a championship. God has just blessed my team with another part of that dream coming true.”
Prewett made clear however, that the main goal right now for the Tigers is making it past Virginia. Auburn will go into the national semifinals as an underdog — just as it did against North Carolina and Kentucky — and will try to again overcome the odds when the Tigers and Cavaliers clash this Saturday, April 6.
“Virginia has been here before and they are no stranger to the national stage,” Prewett said. “It has been an unbelievable, wild ride, but we are ready to go to a different level. We set our goals in the beginning, and it was just a process of getting there. We have some great guards on our team, and overall, we love the team that we are going in with. It is going to be a great game to watch.”
Prewett set his personal goals at an early age.
His dream of playing and coaching at the collegiate level and his dream of going to the Final Four have both come true. His current dream — for himself and his team — of winning a National Championship is in the works but close at hand.
A man of strong religious faith, he pointed out that his job, the team’s success, his family and the support of his hometown are all God-given.
“I thank God for blessing me, for everything that he has given me and all he gave me the chance to do,” the AU assistant said. “My family is everything to me, and I have been blessed with a beautiful wife I have shared this journey with.
“Dreams are something that are within reach. I love Atmore and all of my family and friends back there. Atmore is home. I am humbled by the support the community has given to me and my family. We love everyone there, and I will never forget where I came from.”
Prewett’s dream will either be extended, or it will end, on Saturday. He knows that the eyes of the nation and the state, especially his hometown, will be on the team, and he’s sure the Tigers won’t be caught looking ahead.
“We are all excited to be the first team in the history of the state to go to the Final Four,” he said. “However, we focus on one game at a time, and now it is time to get back to work and try to capture the next phase of our goal. We are not satisfied until we get a championship win.”
In parting, Prewett offered some advice to the youth of Atmore.
“Dreams are within your reach. Dream big, set your goals, stretch yourself and dream together,” he encouraged. “With God, every dream is possible.”