THOMASVILLE — Catching passes was Tirrell Andrews’ job on the field.

These days, the Thomas County Central graduate is more like a quarterback — steering children and families in the right direction.

The former Yellow Jackets wide receiver is a licensed marriage-family therapist, counseling at-risk youth and their families.

“I always wanted to do counseling,” Andrews said. “I always was interested in that area, even in high school. It became more defined when I got into college, but I’ve always had that desire to want to do that.

“I often times describe the job as being a challenging but rewarding experience; challenging in a sense of having families present to therapy that have this problem. They’ve been so ingrained in certain situations for so long and then trying to move them past it and getting them to see something different. The rewarding aspect is when you see change in behavior, you see people make significant progress in their presenting behaviors.”

Andrews had to undergo a change of his own during his senior year in high school. In 1991, his final season at Central, Andrews had to adjust new coach Ed Pilcher’s run-first philosophy.

“Initially, it was frustrating, but the frustration easily went away when we started producing wins,” Andrews said, adding that he could sense Pilcher was building something special at Central. Five of the next six years, Central was crowned state champion. “We definitely maximized the time when we did throw the football.

“I could actually tell with the work ethic and stuff he brought in, the attention to detail, those things really stood out. I knew something was going to be happening. Also, standing firm on his philosophy. My senior year, we had a great group of receivers, but his philosophy was basically to, we were going to run first and pass if we needed to.”

Following Andrews’ time at Central, he moved on to Valdosta State where he again had to adapt to a new style of offense.

“That was a great experience. I had a chance to play with some great athletes,” Andrews added. “We had some great coaches. I actually played for coach (Hal) Mumme at Valdosta State, which was in total contrast to my last year at Central. We were pass-happy. That definitely satisfied me. I had some few great years over here at Valdosta State with some good numbers.”

Andrews’ solid production helped Valdosta State to a Division II Gulf South Conference championship his final year with the Blazers.

“That kind of made up for some of the state titles I ended up missing,” Andrews added.

Currently, Andrews lives in Valdosta with his wife of nine years, Lucretia. He said the two have a dream that he hopes, one day, they can fulfill.

“Ultimately, my wife and I have always had a desire to open our own private (counseling) practice,” Andrews said.

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