Our coaches double as athletic trainers and role models. Each coach has valuable sports experience, and is ready to transform you, or your child, to the highest athletic level possible. BlackWatch is unlike any other fitness training facility in that it has a team of coaches that not only know your goals, but also your name! We take a personal interest in your progress. Your aspirations become our goals.
- Randy Beckham
CEO/FounderA longtime athlete and entrepreneur, Randy Beckham saw a need for a cutting-edge athletic training outlet that provides a holistic approach to wellness and fitness. “Athletics has had a significant impact upon my professional career, as well as my life as a person and a parent,” said Randy, who participated in collegiate athletics at Troy University and has 20 years of leadership experience in the healthcare, sports and wellness marketplaces. Through providing an all-inclusive athletic outlet, Randy said he hopes BlackWatch Sports becomes a positive place to build better people.
- Wes McCarter
General ManagerSports and healthy competition fortify our character and impact the way we see the world around us. I remember many times coaches and teammates along the way who encouraged me to give my all every play. I was the guy at practice who was smiling my way through sprints and drills while everyone else grimaced. I found that the more I concentrated on positivity and success the better I became. I learned that when the odds are against you that perseverance is not easy, but rewarding in the end. Accountability to yourself and your team yield the greatest results. These are just a few lessons learned through sports that carry over into daily living and for that I am forever grateful.
- Jeff Gillespie
Director of Sales & Business DevelopmentJeff loves developing kids, competition, the challenge to create a championship mentality and the chemistry of a team. His motto is "be early, stay late, love people". From youth sports to college baseball, Jeff says, "sports has made me a disciplined person and the ability to say "WE" in all situations". He promotes that "success only comes through sincere commitment and hard work".
- Willie J. Smith III
Director of Athletic PerformanceAlthough Willie J Smith III has a long list of athletic accolades (like two Olympic gold medals), he said the best award he’s received from playing sports is the dedication and motivation it yields. Growing up in Uniondale, New York, the longtime athlete credits sports for much of his successes. “I wanted to be like the best athletes in my school,” Smith recalls of his early athletic years. “They were well liked, performed well and stayed out of trouble.”
- Lissy Hutcheson
Director of Health and WellnessRespect, self-discipline and responsibility are just a few values Lissy Hutcheson has gained from participating in sports. She grew up playing softball, and then became interested in track, gymnastics and tennis. Hailing from Monroe, Louisiana, Hutcheson said through coaching at BlackWatch she aims to encourage others to realize their full potential as athletes and individuals.
- Kara Stafford
Director of AdministrationProviding a positive and safe place for people to better themselves through athletics is Kara Stafford’s goal. “I gained a huge passion for sports while working with professional teams such as the St. Louis Cardinals and the St. Louis Blues,” said Kara, who is from St. Louis, Missouri. “I’m so excited to see the talent come through BlackWatch. I think this is such a great opportunity for people of all ages.”
- Mary Kate Smith
Director of MembershipSeeing others excel and grow through athletics and fitness programming is Mary Kate Smith’s passion. She began coaching volleyball in college and quickly realized she not only had a talent for coaching, but a love for it as well. “I love helping people set goals for themselves and then creating a plan to achieve that goal,” said Smith, who is from Greenville, South Carolina. “I love to see others push themselves and grow as athletes and individuals.”
- Taylor Kelley
Assistant Director of Athletic PerformanceTaylor Kelley remembers many of his athletic coaches from childhood — and he hopes to have the same positive impact on others that he had from his coaches. Taylor started playing baseball at age four, and has had a love for the game ever since. “Some great coaches have made a huge impact on my life, and I want to do the same for kids today,” said Kelley, who is from Hoover, Alabama.
- Ryan Elm
Assistant Director of Athletic PerformanceRyan Elm credits athletics to his ability to stay focused and out of trouble from an early age. Through hard work and dedication, Ryan said, you can achieve anything. “I love working with kids and getting them to achieve the highest level of success through hard work,” the Montevallo, Alabama native said.
- Ali Meister
CoachAli Meister’s sporting career began at an early age. Starting with gymnastics, then learning how to swim and run track, Ali credits much of her successes to lessons she’s learned through playing sports. “Doing sports has taught me to work hard and dedicate myself if I want to succeed in life,” said Ali, who hails from Spencer, Ohio. Her early love of sports set the stage for her strong coaching career. Through coaching at BlackWatch Sports, Ali hopes to mold more budding athletes into successful individuals.
- Ken Hollis
CoachKenneth Hollis first stepped foot on a football field at age 7, and the rest is pretty much history. After forming a deep passion for the game, he realized he wanted to share his talents through coaching. “Sports have taught me so many things and has given me the passion to develop kids and help them reach their goals,” The Birmingham, Alabama native said. “Sports have taught me discipline, commitment, toughness, effort and pride in everything I do.”
- Jesse Handlon
CoachJesse Handlon has been an avid athlete his whole life. Hailing from Alabaster, Alabama, Jesse said he hopes to see others reach their athletic and personal goals at BlackWatch Sports. “Sports have made me a better person in the sense of being more dedicated and a harder worker at anything I do,” he said. Through participating in sports, Jesse said he's learned nothing good ever comes without hard work.
- Braxton Barker
Assistant CoachBraxton is a student at Spain Park High School who plays football and baseball. He has played sports from a young age and is thankful for the lessons he has learned about teamwork and perseverance. Braxton says the best advice he has ever received from a coach is: "A goal without a plan is just a wish". He knows that it takes planning and hard work to achieve goals and wants to help athletes at BlackWatch not only reach their goals but exceed them.
- Rick Herring
Board MemberFounder of Worksite Benefit Services, Inc., Rick Herring has seen a strong correlation between athletics and a solid work ethic. He decided to invest in BlackWatch Sports because he believes in its motto — bringing world-class training and instruction to anyone looking to better themselves. “Participating in sports has given me great friendships in life and memories to share,” said Rick, who is a proud Birmingham, Alabama native. “I’m thankful sports taught me to be proud of whom I am and appreciate every day.”
- Justin R. Craft
Justin R. Craft is President of Nowlin & Associates, a leading financial planning firm for over forty years in the Birmingham area. He has a Bachelors of Science degree in Business from UAB, where he attended on an athletic scholarship and also graduated from the Circle of Wealth curriculum, where he earned a mentor designation that enables him to teach and train other financial advisors. Justin is the Vice President of the UAB Athletics Alumni Society; a board member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes where he serves as President. Justin and his wife, Kim, have lived in the Greystone area for more than seven years where he enjoys golfing and coaching Little League football and baseball.