Blackmon named GHS athletic director and head football coach

Published 12:00 am Sunday, July 1, 2007

Ending weeks of speculation, Ben Blackmon was confirmed by the Butler County Board of Education Thursday night as the 27th head football coach at Greenville High School.

Blackmon, the former quarterbacks coach at Opelika High School, takes over as athletic director and head football coach just three weeks after Bryant Vincent resigned from the position to take over at Class 5A Spanish Fort High School in Baldwin County.

&#8220To say it again, I'm ecstatic,” Blackmon said with a smile. &#8220I am so excited.”

&#8220It's just been a whirlwind,” he added.

Blackmon emerged as the frontrunner to replace Vincent one week into the coaching search and he was officially put to work Monday after the Board granted Superintendent Mike Looney the power to begin Blackmon's tenure immediately.

Thursday's vote was merely a formal beginning to what Blackmon hopes is a long tenure at Greenville.

&#8220This is my passion,” Blackmon said of coaching. &#8220I take every minute and enjoy it.”

Blackmon, 29, is a 1996 graduate of Robert E. Lee High, where he played under Spence McCracken, current head coach at Opelika.

From Lee, Blackmon earned a scholarship to play at Troy University, where he lettered at quarterback in 1998-99.

After graduating from Troy in 2000, Blackmon joined McCracken's staff at Opelika and has served in that capacity ever since.

Blackmon is the son of Greenville natives Larry and Jean Blackmon, with his mom being a 1967 Greenville High graduate. He is married to wife Misty and they have one daughter, Elle Caroline.

Now that he has officially begun, the 2007 season is just two months away and Blackmon knows he must get his players ready in a hurry.

&#8220Our biggest challenge is going to be getting the kids focused and motivated,” Blackmon said. &#8220They have really accepted me, so far, done everything I have asked them to do and we have to keep that going.”

In addition to approving Blackmon as the new Greenville athletic director and head football coach, the Board also approved the hiring of one of Blackmon's Troy teammates, Michael &#8220Mookie” Moore, as the offensive line coach for the Tigers.

After his playing days at Troy, Moore played seven years in the NFL with the Washington Redskins, Denver Broncos, Atlanta Falcons and Green Bay Packers.

&#8220I'm trying to keep myself calm,” Moore said with enthusiasm. &#8220I just want to do everything possible to make sure we have a winning season.”

Looney said he is excited to have a person with professional experience working with the players and it should show on the field.

&#8220He certainly understands what it takes to go to the next level,” Looney said.

Blackmon agreed.

&#8220(Moore) is a better person than he is a football player and his career shows he is a really good football player,” Blackmon said. &#8220The kids have just taken to him and they're excited about him being here.”

Although this is his first coaching job, Moore said he intends keep things simple and to stick with what works while also leading his players by action, not just by words.

&#8220Communication is a big thing and you have to push some kids differently than you push others,” Moore said. &#8220I want to get (the players') trust by being with them and not just telling them to work out, but actually getting in there and working out with them.”

&#8220It's certainly going to challenge me,” he added.

Now that Moore is on board, Blackmon said he is looking to fill one more coaching position.

Currently on the staff are Bard Horn, Matt Coghlan, Bryan Marlow and Joey Hamilton.

Blackmon is looking for a running backs coach.