Year filled with coaching turnover and title runs

Published 12:00 am Friday, December 30, 2005

Greenville football coach quits

July 20 edition — Five weeks before the high school football season kicks off, Greenville High is kicking off a search for a new head football coach and athletic director.

Alvin Briggs resigned after four seasons, compiling

a 19-24 record. Briggs led the Tigers to the playoffs in his first three seasons.

When Briggs confirmed that he had resigned on Monday, he said that he didn't want to comment on why he made the decision.

&#8220I'm doing what is best for everyone's sake,” he said.

Fort Dale girls win AISA

Class AAA tennis team title

May 4 edition — The Fort Dale Academy girls tennis team came close to making it a complete championship sweep on Tuesday, but came just one singles title shy.

Nevertheless, the Eagles came away with their sixth Alabama Independent School Association state championship as a team in the school's history at Lagoon Tennis Center. It marked Fort Dale's first title since 2000.

&#8220We had the championship wrapped up (on Monday), but I didn't know it until (Tuesday,” Fort Dale coach Johnny Mac Brown said. &#8220There was a mathematical error made in tallying the total number of points. But I'm kinda glad that happened so that way our kids would come out fired up.”

The Eagles won every match they played in so far Tuesday afternoon. Laura Skipper, Janie Mullins, Kayla Butts and Renee Scott won their singles matches and the No. 2 doubles team of Whitney Jacks and Butts won the state title.

McKenzie football coach quits in the middle of the season

Sept. 21 edition — After losing 13 straight games, McKenzie now is heading in a different direction.

David Kirkland resigned Tuesday morning as head football coach and athletic director, said McKenzie School Principal Randy Williams.

McKenzie has not won a football game since topping Flomaton in the first game of the Tigers' 2004 season.

&#8220I resigned to give the football team a fresh start with hopes that they can win with a new coach,” Kirkland said.

Williams said that junior varsity head coach Timothy Moorer will be the interim head coach for the remainder of the season. Williams said that he will assume the responsibilities as the athletic director.

&#8220I wasn't expecting this,” Williams said. &#8220I talked to (Kirkland) and asked him if he had given his decision a lot of thought and if he felt that was what he needed to do.”

Williams said that he knew Kirkland was &#8220under a lot of pressure” of losing 13 straight, but said that he had not talked to anyone about Kirkland's future as football coach.

McKenzie Quarterback Club President Tommy Bush said that &#8220he saw the writing on the wall” in regards to Kirkland's resignation.

&#8220I wish him well; he came into a tough situation,” said Bush, who also has a son on the football team.

Fort Dale's attempt at repeat fails in AAA finals

Feb. 23 edition — After the Fort Dale Lady Eagles beat the Lady Gators of Glenwood School by 29 points in the semi-final, a 30-plus point loss in the AAA State Championship wouldn’t have even been considered.

That is until they took the court against the Faith Lady Rams.

The Lady Eagles and the Lady Rams had met three times, each time in tournament finals. And each time they met the score became more and more one-sided.

&uot;I am still very proud of the team,&uot; said Reggie Mantooth, coach of the Fort Dale Lady Eagles. The seniors accomplished a lot, and I am proud that we got back to state this year.&uot;

Fort Dale ended the 2004 season by knocking off Faith in the AISA State championship, 57-50. That also ended Faith’s five-year reign as defending champions.

From there, the Lady Eagles and the Lady Rams met up again in the finals of the Fort Dale Thanksgiving tournament that resulted in an overtime loss for the home-standing Lady Eagles. Faith defeated Fort Dale a second time in the Faith Christmas tournament and then handed the Eagles their worst loss of the season in the Lee-Scott Tournament, 73-37.

&uot;We got a lot of motivation after losing to them last year,&uot; said Woodie Head, coach of the Faith Lady Rams. &uot;We played really good team basketball today. It took a while for the team to gel this year, but it worked out well. We are only losing 2 players this year. Every year our goal is to win State. We might not get it every year, but it’s always our hope.&uot;

Williams named Tigers' interim football coach, AD

July 30 edition — Mike Williams has a history of turning football programs around.

Williams led Samson to its first undefeated season in school history in 1980. A year later, he led Conecuh County High to its first winning season in school history.

Then in 1986 he led Carroll High of Ozark to its first seven-win season in 26 years.

Williams is now being asked to bring some of that magic to his hometown school.

Williams was announced as Greenville's interim coach Thursday night to replace Alvin Briggs, who surprisingly resigned

almost two weeks ago, and Williams makes his debut as the Tigers' new coach during Monday afternoon's practice.

&#8220My staff and I will be working this weekend to put a good practice plan together so that way we'll be on the same page on Monday,” Williams said.

Williams returns to football after being away for almost

six years. After a two and a half seasons as head coach at Jacksonville State University, Williams took a leave from football. He spent three years as principal at Elba and then returned to Greenville in 2004 to take care of his ailing parents.

York named principal; Ennis named new Panthers football coach

May 18 & July 23 editions — Keith York knew his time would come, but he didn't expect it would come this soon.

Per the recommendation by interim superintendent Wayne Boswell, the Butler County Board of Education unanimously approved York's promotion to become principal of Georgiana High School effective immediately at its regularly scheduled board meeting Tuesday at R.L. Austin Elementary School.

York was named acting principal by the board last month following the untimely death of Georgiana's principal of eight years, Roland Pettie.

York's first item of business as Georgiana's principal came after the board meeting Tuesday. York is stepping down as head football coach, so he now is in charge of finding his successor.

York did name Ray Wilson to take over. But after accepting the position, Wilson called York and told him he didn't want the job.

Greg Ennis was in Luverne to inquire about its head coaching position vacancy when he saw some tape on Georgiana.

During a conversation with some of the remaining football staff at Luverne it was mentioned that Georgiana also was looking for a head coach.

So Ennis called Georgiana Principal Keith York. York verified that the position was still open, so the next stop for Ennis was Georgiana.

Now Ennis is Georgiana's new head football coach.

Greenville Dixie Majors win district crown

July 7 edition — After 17 years of coaching Dixie Majors baseball, one victory made those years of spending summers coaching on a baseball diamond instead of lounging by a swimming pool worth it for Ed Kimbro and John McGough.

The Greenville All-Stars scored four runs in the sixth and seventh innings to claim their first district championship with a 12-6 victory over Opp to earn a berth in the state Dixie Majors tournament in Thomasville next week.

&#8220We had made it to the finals before and come away as runners-up, but never champions,” Kimbro said. &#8220I've never had a group of 18-year-olds come together and work as hard as this bunch.”

Allen new Lee coach

April 2 edition — Gene Allen was unanimously voted in as the new head coach at Robert E. Lee High School despite only posting 13 wins in his five seasons at Talladega High School.

Allen was voted into the position after Chris Baxter was dismissed for having improper relations with another school employee.

Allen has been in the coaching field for 15 years, 10 of those being spent in Greenville where he led the Tigers to a runner-up finish in 1993 and then to the 5A State Championship in 1994.

Georgiana native elected to AHSAA Hall

March 30 edition — Georgiana’s W.R. Averette found himself in the spotlight once again. After years of stalking the sidelines as coach of the J.F. Shields basketball team, Averette was recognized for his coaching accomplishments while in the garnet and gold as he was inducted into the Alabama High School Athletic Association’s Hall of Fame.

&uot;You never know how thngs are going to turn out,&uot; said Averette. &uot;Somebody had to recommend you and then you had to be voted on.&uot;

Averette was in the business of coaching and teaching for 35 years. 33 of those were at J.F. Shields High School in Beatrice.

Averette graduated from Georgiana Training School and then attended Alabama State University where he earned his bachelor’s degree.

Fort Dale upsets Edgewood in playoffs

Nov. 5 edition — Before Fort Dale's first round playoff game against highly touted Edgewood quarterback Phillip Moore, Eagles defensive back Mika Jones told some friends he was going to get four interceptions.

His prediction almost came true as he picked off Moore three times and senior tailback Tim James rushed 32 times for 246 yards to lead the Eagles to a 22-17 upset win over the favored Wildcats in the opening round of the Alabama Independent School Association playoffs.