Russellville's Chad Sears talks about life's roller coaster ride

By Staff
Kim West, Franklin County Times
Chad Sears graduated from Russellville High as an All-State quarterback and star basketball player, and then signed a football scholarship to UNA and embarked on an up-and-down college career.
Sears joined the Lions in fall 1995, but actually played from 1997-2000.
"My college career was a roller coaster," Sears said. "In 1996 I quit the team, but I missed playing football. I walked back on in 1997, and coach [Bobby] Wallace switched me to defensive back.
"It was a blessing in disguise because I got to experience playing in the NFL."
Sears started his UNA career under center and quickly found himself playing against the Purple Swarm defense, which propelled UNA to three straight national titles from 1993-95.
"I look back and laugh now, because I was 18 years old going against the Purple Swarm defense," Sears said. "My first play was at Braly [Stadium], and I had the chance to go up against a defense that probably could have played against Division I schools. On the first play I ran an option and twisted my ankle, and I missed all of preseason camp."
As a senior, Sears led the Lions in tackles and was selected to the Cactus Bowl, the Division II all-star game, and the All-Gulf South Conference, All-South Region and All-American teams.
He signed with the Buffalo Bills in 2002 and was assigned to NFL Europe's Amsterdam Admirals but then he injured his back.
"I signed with the Buffalo Bills, who allocated me to the Amsterdam Admirals, and I spent two or three months in Tampa Bay, Florida, and I ended up hurting my back. I thought life was more important than being injured. I went back and finished my recreation administration degree, and graduated in December 2002.
"You can ask for things, but God has different plans for us."
While Sears was at UNA, he worked for the parks and recreation departments in Florence and Muscle Shoals, which helped him land the postition of Russellville Parks and Recreation director last year.
"I love the City of Russellville, and my degree is in recreation, so I said, 'Why not?' I take this just as a blessing from God.
"I manage approximately 20 full-time, part-time and seasonal employees, and I coordinate activities and events. I try to implement new activities and events and make sure the department runs effectively."
Sears said the department's most popular sports are T-ball, softball and basketball, and youth soccer grew from 70 participants to 100 last season.
"I'm going to let my son decide which sports to play as long as he gets good grades and gives 110 percent," Sears said.
"I will push him to do that because it will prepare him for life and the work force.
In his spare time, Sears enjoys spending time with his wife, Lameka, who also attended UNA, and 5-year-old son, Mark, who loves to play video games.
"One of my buddies tried to get me to go to the UNA library after a workout, and I met Lameka there," Sears said. "We saw each other every day from then on."
Sears used a football metaphor to explain his outlook on life.
"Russellville was a tremendous experience. It prepared me for college, and it prepared me for life," Sears said. "In football, you can take things positively or negatively, and you can feed off it and succeed, or not feed off it and fail.
"If you get a fumble on offense, and the other team gets the ball, how are you going to react?"