Mantooth leaving Fort Dale

Published 12:00 am Sunday, July 8, 2007

After 13 years, five state championships and more than 500 wins, coach Reggie Mantooth is leaving Fort Dale Academy.

Mantooth is headed for Oak Mountain High School in Shelby County, the eighth largest high school in the state, although an official announcement is still pending board approval.

&uot;I really wasn’t looking to leave, but this was too good of an opportunity to coach at the 6A level,&uot; Mantooth said.

&uot;It’s difficult to leave, and I have no reason other than the opportunity was too good,&uot; he continued.

Mantooth leaves behind a pair of basketball programs that he helped develop into an AISA power.

&uot;He’s meant a lot to our school,&uot; said headmaster David Brantley. &uot;He’s built our basketball programs into what everyone in AISA tries to measure to. Our boys and girls are consistently competitive and well prepared, which is a tribute to him.&uot;

&uot;Administratively, they were always well cared for, properly supervised and well behaved,&uot; Brantley continued. &uot;Most importantly, they have always represented the school very well.&uot;

Prior to Mantooth’s arrival at Fort Dale, the school had just one state championship in basketball.

In the 13 years since Mantooth became the basketball coach, the girls team won championships in 1996, 1999 and 2004, and the boys won championships in 2003 and 2004.

With two wins on this season’s senior night, Mantooth reached the 500-win mark for his career, becoming one of the few AISA coaches to do so.

&uot;I can’t say enough good things about him,&uot; Brantley said. &uot;I’ve been in education for a long time and he’s one of the finest basketball coaches I’ve been around.&uot;

In addition to coaching both basketball teams, Mantooth was also the boys’ golf coach and spent the last eight years as athletic director for the school.

&uot;He’s done well as athletic director and been accountable for all the sports at the school,&uot; Brantley said.

Once Mantooth gets to Oak Mountain, he will serve as the boy’s basketball coach, and possibly as a coach on the golf team.

&uot;It’s very difficult to leave Fort Dale,&uot; Mantooth said. &uot;I enjoyed my time here, and it was a great place for me to be.&uot;

&uot;We wish him well because he has a wonderful opportunity,&uot; Brantley said. &uot;As a professional, I wish him well, and I wish him well as a friend.&uot;

With such a key figure in Fort Dale athletics moving out of the picture, Mantooth’s replacement has a lot to live up to.

&uot;Obviously, those are big shoes to fill, but he’s left the program in a good condition to move on,&uot; Brantley said.

&uot;We owe a lot to him.&uot;

Brantley’s recommendation is that Fort Dale head football coach James &uot;Speed&uot; Sampley be made athletic director, but that move is pending approval from the board of directors.

An official announcement about Mantooth’s replacement at Fort Dale is expected some time next week.