It’s August and there are a million things a football coach could be doing other than getting sunburned and swatting flies in the Georgia heat.
For North Murray’s defensive backs coach Cody Rainey, though, there’s nothing else he would rather do. The 32-year-old Murray graduate starred on the gridiron at quarterback for the Indians and now he begins his 10th year with the crosstown Mountaineers. The game is part passion and part family tradition. He knew from early on that he wanted to follow in his father Roger Rainey’s footsteps and get into teaching and coaching. He has made a name for himself, though, as one of the top young coaches in the area. For him it’s about putting the athletes first.
“To me it’s all about relationships with the players,” Rainey said. “If you have mutual respect between player and coach, then that player is going to play hard for you. Getting players to give full effort on every play is what you strive for.”
Rainey grew up playing football, basketball, and baseball in the Murray County system. Basketball was his favorite sport until his freshman year, he said.
“I used to play basketball at my grandparents’ house every day growing up,” Rainey said.
There was just something about football that got his attention, he said, particularly the mystique of playing quarterback at Murray County.
“I had, in my opinion, the best quarterback mechanics coach that I’ve ever been around, coach Bill Napier,” Rainey said. “So just to go to work and practice every day and get better with him are memories I will always cherish. But back then, there was a lot of pressure because I followed in the footsteps of a long line of great quarterbacks: Napier, Statham, Fowler, Swilling, Baynes, Green. So that made it fun to try and play on their level.”
Rainey played at Murray before the schools split and he remembers the big game atmosphere in the stands every week.
“The thing that I will say about my memories is that it was the only show in town, and the stadium was packed with the entire community week in and week out,” he said. “As a player, probably getting my first start as a sophomore and rushing for an 80-yard touchdown on the first series (was a big memory).”
Rainey went on to play football at University of the Cumberlands before earning his degree in health and physical education at West Georgia. He knew all along that he would teach and coach because his father, Roger, had done that. Roger was a standout wide receiver at Murray and was a teacher, coach, and administrator in Murray County Schools for many years.
“My dad was a teacher and coach, so just watching him do that, I knew that’s what I wanted to do,” Cody Rainey said.
He was hired at North Murray in 2011 and has been there since. Rainey has a reputation for versatility and flexibility. Even though his degree was in health and physical education, he became certified in special education to help fill a need and has become one of the top teachers in the department. He has also been willing to coach multiple positions.
“Cody is a great and loyal coach for me,” said Mountaineer head coach Preston Poag. “He has coached many positions and has always had the best interest of the players in mind. He is a close friend of mine and I really enjoy coaching with him.”
Being a part of North Murray’s first playoff team and, of course, winning the region for the first time last year are highlights of his career so far, Rainey said.
“I still talk about last year all the time,” he said. ‘You cannot replace the feeling of being a champion, because nobody can ever take that away from the team. It was a sweet feeling that’s for sure.”
Rainey is about to experience a new milestone. He and his wife Kara are expecting their first child in October.
“My beautiful wife Kara supports me and the team 100 percent,” he said. “She and I will stay up late on game nights and talk about the games and watch film. She is a wonderful coach’s wife. Also, we are expecting, in October this year, a little girl, Charlee-Joan. It is going to be a fun year at the Rainey household.”