ALUMNI SPOTLIGHT: England resident Levi Edwards ’13 is passionate about Benedictine

By Noell Barnidge
Levi Edwards will be cheering for Benedictine Military School’s football team from his family’s home in England until approximately 3:30 a.m. Saturday, when the game ends.

Edwards, a graduate of the Benedictine Military School Class of 2013 and one of the school’s most passionate supporters, will stay awake with his parents, Brandi and Glenn, and listen to’s broadcast of BC’s GHSA Class AAAA football semifinal game against Troup County at Memorial Stadium. Kickoff is at 7:30 p.m. but it will be 12:30 a.m. in England. The Edwards family does not mind the five-hour time difference. BC football is a late Friday night/early Saturday morning tradition for the Edwards family, which lives in Chester, England, about 15 miles outside of Liverpool.

“Definitely, we will be listening to the BC game,” the 26-year-old Edwards, a former BC student-assistant athletic trainer, said Nov. 15 during a one-hour video interview via Zoom.

When BC used to have BCTV and video-broadcast the Cadets’ football games, home and away, via the Internet, Edwards and his parents would stay up into the wee hours Saturday watching BC. The games now are broadcast on ESPN Radio and

“It was an experience for the entire family,” Edwards said. “We enjoyed so much going to the (BC) games and tailgating. My mom, being American, had the understanding of it. My dad, being English, it was a totally new experience for him, so he loved it as well. It became ingrained in us, even after I graduated, that I helped out and we still went to games.”


As a BC student, Edwards played soccer as a freshman before becoming a member of the baseball, football, basketball, and wrestling teams as an unpaid student-assistant athletic trainer/equipment manager. He did seemingly everything, like raking the baseball infield, filling water coolers, taping student-athletes’ ankles, and washing jerseys.

BC Head Athletic Trainer Brian Tuten said Edwards, and Edwards’ best friend and classmate Conner Deaton, were incredibly dependable Cadets.

“Levi and Conner Deaton came through together, and both of them you could entrust,” Tuten said. “They’re both highly driven. Levi, from the time he got here, he was a highly driven young man. Very mature for his age. Not shy. He’s willing to learn anything and everything, so you could put tasks on him that other high school students couldn’t handle. You could trust he was going to come through and do what you asked. That was even early, before his junior and senior year. It was neat being around a young man like that. Levi was, by far, student-wise, one of the best I’ve ever been around in my career. I love the kid. He’s phenomenal. He just wants to work. He wants to help. He wants to learn. He’s not afraid to learn. I’m not going to say he demands respect, but he gets respect. Nobody crosses him on that front.”


After graduating in 2013, Edwards continued to help BC during its state championship-winning baseball and football seasons in 2014. At that time, Edwards was a freshman at Valdosta State University. He only stayed one semester, leaving after accepting a job offer in professional baseball with the Savannah Sand Gnats, a minor league affiliate of Major League Baseball’s New York Mets.

“Staying in Savannah, it gave me the opportunity to be around (BC) and involved as much as possible,” Edwards said. “I was involved with the 2014 football season, the state championship season, helping (BC Head Athletic Trainer) Brian (Tuten) with games, helping Coach Charlie Jung out (with equipment). And in 2015-16, I moved over to the UK. I wasn’t part of the 2016 BC state championship football team. I had been in the UK and flew back (to the United States) for Christmas. I flew into Atlanta and made sure I lined it up with the weekend that we (BC) played. I flew to Atlanta and met all of the guys from my BC class at the game. I stayed with them that weekend and then came down to Savannah for Christmas.”

Leaving Valdosta State to work for the Savannah Sand Gnats, before the organization moved to Columbia, S.C., was an easy decision for Edwards.

“The baseball opportunity grew out of a summer job I had that (BC Baseball Head Coach) Kevin Farmer had set up for me,” Edwards said. “I jumped at that opportunity, and the Valdosta stuff would take a backseat. I did some online schooling here and there at Georgia Southern, but the baseball stuff was gung-ho, full-blown. I took those opportunities. I was very fortunate to go to a couple of spring trainings and go to the Mets’ spring training complex (in Port St. Lucie, Fla.) for a couple of years. I got to work there and got to work full seasons, traveling up and down the east coast with the Sand Gnats, and got to experience a lot, and go to lots of different places.

“And then as the team was set to move to Columbia, S.C., it was an impasse moment for me where, do I want to keep on doing this or do I want to have a change?” he continued. “It timed out funny because my parents were moving back to England. I made a decision to leave (baseball) behind and move back to England, and then I was going to crack on with university. The university system in the UK is different, where you graduate in three years with an undergraduate degree and then your master’s degree is another year.”


Instead of completing his undergraduate studies in three years, Edwards decided to pursue coaching. At 21, he was hired as the head coach of the Chester Romans, a professional football team in Chester, England, that plays American-style football. At the time, he was the youngest head coach in England. The Chester Romans are one of the oldest teams in the United Kingdom and have been playing for about 45 years.

“The league in the UK is mandated that it has to be classified as amateur, so the guys are not allowed to receive payment for playing,” Edwards said. “It’s kind of like a roundabout. Guys will get paid for other things. It’s classified as amateur. We operate the same as the professional leagues throughout Germany. We’ve taken on the form of kind of like what NFL Europe was. We’re structured in a similar way. The only thing that’s different is crowd sizes and stuff like that.”

The Chester Romans play a 10-game regular season, followed by playoffs and a championship game.

“We have players coming from Manchester and Liverpool, players coming from as far away as Leeds, so that’s two hours away from where we’re at,” Edwards said. “Players come from all over to come play for us. It’s a pretty large commitment for the guys. We play opposite of the American (football) season. We play through the summer. Right now, we’re in the middle of the soccer and rugby seasons. We’ll start up with our games in April and run through the end of August. We’re in preseason mode right now.”

During Edwards’ first season as Chester Romans Head Coach, his team went undefeated until it lost in the championship game.

“But that got us promoted into the next league up,” he said. “Then we had an up-and-down season that (second) year, finishing 3-7, after taking the step up, traveling farther, taking on bigger teams. And then we had the COVID year. Over here, they shut everything down. One season (Edwards’ third) got completely canceled. The next season was done completely regionally so it was like friendly games, but football was what kept a lot of guys going through COVID. We did as much as we could outside, together, but we had some really, really, strict COVID rules here. And then this past season, finally getting back to normality, we went 8-2 and we finished second in the division, made it to the playoffs, and lost in the playoffs to a team from Leicester, who ended up playing for the championship. We’re developing something special, and coming out of COVID, we’ve got a team that we’re excited about.”

On Nov. 14, Edwards was promoted to be the tight ends coach of the Great Britain national American football team. He will do that job along with his Chester Romans job.

“The national team is a selection team,” he said. “In December, we will add some guys to the roster. Oct. 30, we played Milan, the Italian national team, and we came up six points short there. Italy are the European Champions.”


An only child, Edwards was born in Milwaukee, Wisc., his mother’s hometown, and lived there for three years before his family moved to Chester, England, his father’s hometown. They remained in England, where Edwards played rugby and soccer, until he was 10, and moved to Savannah for middle school and high school. In July, Edwards returned to Savannah to visit BC. He sounded vastly more English than when he was a Cadet with hints of a South Georgia twang.

“It’s a running joke with my accent because it’s like the biggest mongrel mix,” Edwards said, laughing. “It’s up, down, and all around.”

Perhaps “up, down, and all around” is a fitting way to describe Edwards’ journey, both academically and professionally. Nine years after graduating from BC, and many  jobs, sports, and countries later, he graduated from the University of Chester with a bachelor’s degree in sports psychology.

“I just had graduation the other day,” said Edwards, who is pursuing a master’s degree in sports performance analysis, also at the University of Chester. “I’m also working as a performance analyst for the Chester Rugby Club, which is a professional rugby team here in Chester. Between those two, that kind of functions as my full-time day job. Also, not really a day job because it’s pro sports and you know the schedule that comes along with that.

“The virtue of being slightly older and going through this process is you have a better idea, and you understand the importance of it more,” Edwards continued. “It’s great seeing on BC’s Facebook that Mr. (Mike) Carbo has come on board and he’s going to help Cadets who, at 18, might not know what they want to do with the rest of their life. BC equipped me so well to take on all of the challenges that life can throw at you, and understanding that everybody’s life is different, and chase opportunities when they arise. It’s really equipped me well to continue on, and keep traveling and keep chasing different opportunities. The world is a very big place. I’ve been fortunate to explore a lot of it and hope to keep doing more of that as I go.”

Edwards said he never imagined he would take a non-traditional path after high school. And he said he certainly never thought it would take nine years to earn an undergraduate degree.

“It’s funny because in high school, my senior year of high school, I had worked with Brian (Tuten) for so long and I was like, ‘OK, I have my (life) plan,” Edwards said. “I know exactly what I’m going to do. I know exactly how my life is going to go.’ I still remember Chief (Donald) Schaefer, he had us do an exercise where we had to write down where we would be in three years, where we would be in five, where we would be in 10. He said, ‘I’ll give this back to you guys. Eventually, you’ll find it in a box when you’re moving house. I just want you to take a moment and do this as 17-, 18-year-olds.’ I thought, ‘Cool. I’m going to be the different one. I know exactly what I’m doing.’ I was all guns blazing towards what I was going to do.”


When Edwards attended St. Peter the Apostle Catholic School on Wilmington Island, he also never imagined he would attend Benedictine Military School.

“Originally, I wasn’t going to come to BC,” he said. “We had a preconceived idea, a preconceived notion, of what the school was. We had never been to the school, but we had a preconceived idea of what it was. We went and toured (other private high schools in Savannah), and my dad said, ‘We’re going to go look at BC. This way, we know all our options, we’ll have seen everybody, and then we’ll know where we want to go to school.’

“We came to the open evening (open house) and we saw what the intentions were, how BC was going to take us as boys and craft us into young men,” Edwards continued. “We went down the stairs to the parking lot, took two steps into the parking lot, and my dad said, ‘I don’t care what anyone else thinks. That’s where you’re going to high school.’ I looked at him and I said, ‘Dad, I think you’re absolutely spot on. I like that. That is exactly what I’m looking for.’ And the rest just kind of grew from there. It was one of the best experiences of my life. It was an experience unlike any other.”

It is said that Benedictine Military School is not just for four years, it’s for life. Edwards’ lifelong allegiance to BC is evident in the numerous friendships that he continues to maintain.

“My best friend, Conner Deaton, I talk to on a regular basis,” he said. “I still play fantasy football, 11 years later, with the guys I went to high school with. We started the league in math class. It’s still called the BC Fantasy Football League. It’s cool. Guys are living all over the place now. Guys who have moved all over the country, all over the world, are still bonded together by the experiences we had at BC.

“I still have the lanyard that I wore at BC and it’s like a running joke here with the team because my whistle is on it,” Edwards continued. “They enjoy that. I’m very fortunate because I have a great relationship with guys like (BC teachers and coaches) Trevor Coleman and AJ (DeFilippis). We’ll talk a lot of football. When they’re in the offseason, I’m starting to come into my season, so we’ll bounce ideas off each other. I’ve spoken to AJ a good bit about different ideas, different formations, different plays, different ways to attack. I use a lot of the BC film through Hudl (an online and mobile platform for video sharing and review) to teach my guys so there’s a lot of similar plays and similar concepts that we use and they’re coming straight out of that BC offense.”

Edwards said he might eventually get back into athletic training but, for now, coaching has captivated his interest.

“I loved the athletic training and then I went off to Valdosta, and then the minor league baseball opportunity came up,” he said. “It kind of transitioned me into a different avenue (of athletics). I always had that passion. Being around and being involved with the team, I picked (the coaching) up and I did more than I realized, just being around practice and picking up different bits and pieces along the way. (Coaching) was something I thought more and more about as I was going through the process, as I was getting a bit older and seeing how I could still stay involved in the game. (Coaching) was definitely something I still wanted to pursue, and it was just a matter of finding an opportunity over here where I could get involved, taking a slightly different angle. You realize you’ve picked up more along the way, printing practice schedules and setting up cones and tackling dummies. All that good stuff.”


At football practices and games, Edwards said he often finds himself using sayings and tips that are hallmarks of BC coaches Danny Britt and the late Ken Cooper.

“All mistakes are on me,” said Edwards, laughing about a popular Britt phrase in the locker room before each game. “That’s a big one the guys always get. ‘If you mess up, it’s because I didn’t coach you well enough.’ That’s another one. And ‘The only thing you’re responsible for is going full speed.’ They get a lot of that. They get a lot the Coach Cooper wisdom about using proper technique and just the nuance knowledge he had about the offensive line. I’ve been able to impart just a fraction of that with the (Chester) Romans and the GB national team as well. It’s been really cool. I find myself reverting back to that. There are a lot of similarities between what the guys are doing at BC and the way we’ve built it at Chester as well.

“The guys laugh because, obviously, I’m from all over,” Edwards continued. “I’ve lived all over the place. I’ve spent so much time in South Georgia and around such influential people as Coach Cooper, Coach Britt, Coach DeFilippis, Coach Coleman, guys who have done this for so long and at such a high level, you end up picking up a lot of that.”

Edwards is on track to earn his master’s degree in June. After that, he plans to pursue whatever opportunities arise in professional sports. His goal is to return to BC as a full-time employee.

“I still wear my (BC) class ring every day,” Edwards continued. “It’s one of my most-cherished possessions. The school did so much for me and gave me so much through people like Brian (Tuten), people like Kevin Farmer, people like Charlie Jung. They taught me so much not just about a specific sport or field, but what it was to be an adult, and what it was to be a man, and how to carry yourself,  how to interact with people, how to make difficult decisions, both in my professional and school life, and in my personal life. I remember types of conversations I’ve had with all those guys. They’ve been such fantastic mentors to me. That is what I take away from my experience at BC.

“Being involved in so much, I was able to learn,” he continued. “Being able to spend a (wrestling) season with Coach (Joe) Tvrdy, and seeing how he interacted, and how he just developed people in a very different manner than, say, Danny Britt. Just seeing all of these fantastic role models who built up the individuals that they were coaching, I loved that. And I love that opportunity. And now it’s something that I take into all of my coaching, different ways of developing people, finding what works for that individual and trying to build them up. That’s what I learned from all of those people.

“The thought of being able to go somewhere is exciting to me, whether that be a professional rugby opportunity in Australia or New Zealand, or whether it’s a professional football or baseball opportunity in the States, whether it’s something close to (Chester, England) working in rugby, or soccer in the UK or throughout Europe,” he continued. “I have my ultimate dream and then I have my realistic plan. The ultimate dream is to move home tomorrow and work at the place that gave me so much. That is my goal. Everything else is passion projects so that when the opportunity arises, I can get back to BC.”