Latest Coaching Hires and Openings

February 13, 2018

Three of the state’s assistant best coaches have taken head coaching positions in North Alabama as schools make their hires for the 2018 season.

P.J. Wright has been a long time assistant at Davidson, working many years with head coach Fred Riley to give the Warriors consistently good teams year after year.  Last season he worked at Spanish Fort with Ben Blackmon and the Toros had another outstanding season. He also spent his first four years in coaching at Baker. One of the most respected assistants in the Mobile area, he now travels to the far other end of the state as he becomes the head football coach at Ardmore High School.  The town is so far north that it sits on the Tennessee line, right across from its sister city, Ardmore, Tennessee.

“Becoming the head coach at Ardmore High School was unexpected, but exactly what I was looking for,” Wright said on Al.com. “It is a small school in a close-knit community that loves their kids and loves their football. It is a supportive community. They are proud of where they live, and I am proud to call it home now, too.”

“I have been a part of several successful programs and have learned a lot from (Davidson) coach (Fred) Riley and (Spanish Fort) coach (Ben) Blackmon,” Wright said. “They are two extremely talented and respected coaches.”

It will be a rebuilding job.  Ardmore was 3-7 last season and has had one winning season since 2006. Ardmore will play in Class 5A, Region 8 in 2018 along with ArabBrewerEast LimestoneGuntersvilleMadison AcademyMadison County and Scottsboro.

Danville completed its coaching search by hiring in house-selecting assistant coach Shannon McGregory. The Hawks play in 4A Region 7 with DAR, North Jackson, Fairview, Priceville, Randolph School, West Morgan and St. John Paul Catholic.

McGregory has been an assistant at the school for two years.  He had previously been a head coach at South Lamar and Colbert Heights. Danville finished 3-7 in 2017 and have not won a playoff game since 1994.

Austin High school defensive coordinator is the new coach at Priceville High School.  Simmons is a native of Sylacauga and has been an integral part of a coaching staff that has led Austin to two straight semi final berths with a record of 32-9 over the past two seasons.

“Priceville has not had a lot of football success,” Simmons said in the Decatur Daily. “Hopefully, they are hungry for some winning football.”

Part of what drew Simmons to Priceville is the growth of the area.

“The growth that is coming to Priceville reminds me of what happened to places around Birmingham like Chelsea and Pelham,” Simmons said. “Those communities had a lot of growth and developed successful football programs. “I see no reason for the same thing not to happen at Priceville. The new school is amazing. The athletic facilities are impressive. I’m excited to get started.”

Here is the latest list of coaching changes in the AHSAA.

TEAM                                 FORMER COACH                          NEW COACH.

Ardmore                            Andrew Smith (interim)               P.J. Wright

B.B. Comer                       Mike Battles, Sr.                              Unfilled

Benjamin Russell            Danny Horn                                     Unfilled

Bessemer City                  Quintin Jackson                              Unfilled

Chickasaw                         John Beverly                                    Jason Rowell

Clay Central                      Chris Herron                                    Danny Horn

Corner                                Zac Willis                                          John Clements

Cottage Hill                      David Peebles                                   Unfilled

Cullman                             Mark Britton                                    Matt Plunkett

Danville                              Josh LouAllen                                 Shannon McGregory

Dothan                               Kevin Jackson                                 Unfilled                                                                      East Lawrence                  Jarrod Helms                                  Matthew Pettus

Elba                                     Ed Rigby                                          Unfilled

Ellwood Christian            Mike Stokes                                     Unfilled

Elmore County                  Norman Dean                                 Jordan Cantrell

Eufaula                               Bryan Moore                                   Ed Rigby

Faith Academy                  Jeff Estes                                         Jack French

Florence                             J.B. Wallace                                     Will Hester

Gardendale                        Matt Plunkett                                  Chad Eads

Glencoe                              Rusty Davis                                      Brian Alred

Helena                                Watt Parker                                     Richie Busby

Houston Academy           Jimmy Addison                               Jamie Riggs

Jasper                                Heath Brunner                                 Bryan Moore

Mary Montgomery          Chris Wilson                                     Stan Cain

Minor                                 Curtis Graves                                    Adrian Abrams

New Hope                         Kenny Chadwick                              Bart Stephenson

Oneonta                             Brandon Herring                             Phil Phillips

Pell City                             Keith Etheredge                               Unfilled

Prattville                            Chad Anderson                                Unfilled

Ragland                              Brian Alred                                       Unfilled

Robertsdale                       Brian Campbell                               Unfilled

Priceville                            Dirk Strunk                                      Jason Simmons

Smiths Station                 Adam Fossett                                    Unfilled

T.R. Miller                         Andrew Thomas                              Keith Etheredge

West Limestone               Jordan Cantrell                                Unfilled

Winston County               Bart Stephenson                              Mark Mitchell