When Chris Labatch arrived at Wilson as football coach this season, it didn't take long for Terrance Mainor Jr. to make an impression on him.
"The first day he came into the weight room, he just shook my hand and he says, ‘I’m Terrance Mainor, I’m here to play.’ And I was like, all right, then let’s get after it. I said to the seniors my example what I wanted and he took it and ran with it," Labatch said.
It might have been the first time the two met, but the former Saucon Valley defensive coordinator knew plenty about Mainor before taking over the Warriors.
“Before I came here, we played against him. And when you go into meeting rooms and you watch film and you sit there and look at the film, you’re like, ‘OK, he stands out.’ As coaches, you go into film rooms, you look at it, that’s the player you got to look out for," Labatch said.
Mainor signed his National Letter of Intent to play at Monmouth University in West Long Branch, New Jersey, on Wednesday afternoon with his parents Terrance and Grace by his side.
The Hawks compete in the Big South Conference at the FCS level.
“I decided in September. Kind of when they first gave me the offer, I just decided that’s going to be a school for me and that’s going to be a school that I can strive in academically and athletically," Mainor said.
He plans on studying accounting at the school.
“I’ve had about two, three visits. I had a visit in the summer. I had a visit a couple of weeks ago. Every time I go there, I feel like it’s a new experience. I fall in love with it every time I go there. I’m going to do that all four years," Mainor said.
“I love the campus. The campus is beautiful," Mainor added. "All the classes are really close to each other. Even beside the campus, there’s a beach. That’s going to be good to go to in the summer. Just to have fun and enjoy myself there.”
ALSO: Where Lehigh Valley football players are committing
Monmouth finished 4-7 overall this past season under longtime coach Kevin Callahan. Mainor hopes he can be part of a turnaround when he becomes a Hawk.
"I believe that if we keep working together and keep coming together as a team and we want the things that we want, we want wins, we want national championships. We’ll all come together and we’ll be able to achieve those goals," Mainor said.
The Hawks will host Lafayette and Lehigh to begin their 2017 schedule.
“It’s going to be cool. Some of the local schools that I’ve been around for a couple years, going to come down, play with us. I’m really looking forward to those first two games. Those are the games that I kind of want to go off and do some damage in," Manor said.
“Knowing his work ethic and how bad he wants it, I think he can make an impact as soon they’re ready for him to make an impact," Labatch said.
Despite a season-ending injury after Week 7, Mainor had 48 total tackles, eight sacks and three blocked passes in his senior season. The 6-foot-5, 220-pound defensive end made the lehighvalleylive All-Area second team.
“It was a good experience. Really good. I learned a lot from football," Mainor said about his years at Wilson. "Was able to be a leader at this school and hope to carry that to Monmouth. I hope that my leadership will be able to carry out throughout with all the players in the future.”
“Never give up," Mainor continued about what he learned at Wilson. "Always strive for your goals. Always strive for your dreams. Anything you want in life, just keep pushing for it and eventually success will come.”
"It wasn’t just his acts on the field," Labatch said. "Leadership role, being around all the time, telling the kids how to do things and all that. Even towards the end of the year when he got a little banged up, a couple injuries, he was here every day, he was helping the kids. The character part is something very special to me as a coach.”