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AHSFHS Article Series

   The best of the best in Alabama High   
  School Football over the past 100 seasons.

2022 Football Coaching Changes

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New Hires: Nine
Best Hire: Ben Blackmon, Enterprise.
Hardest to Replace: Josh Niblett, Hoover
Best Job: Hoover
Toughest Job: Mary Montgomery
Most Interesting: When Josh Niblett decided to leave Hoover in December for Gainesville High School in Georgia everyone wondered who would get the job. Dozens of names were thrown around before the Bucs decided to hire Wade Waldrop to lead their prestigious program. Niblett led the Bucs to a combined 171-26 record including six state championships and eight region titles during his 14 year stint in Hoover. Those are big shoes to fill for Coach Waldrop especially when you consider Thompson is in the same region.
 2022 Coaching Changes 

   Five of the new coaching hires in 7A were head coaches at a different school last season. The other four were coordinators. Ben Blackmon moves to Enterprise and brings with him a record of 129-52 in fifteen seasons as a head coach. While Enterprise is considered a very good football school, they have won just five playoff games since 1994.

   Coach Blackmon's team at Spanish Fort won that many the past two seasons alone. The Wildcats also have not won a region championship since 1991. The hire could be just what the Wildcats need to advance to the next level in 7A.

 Team  2021 Season  2022 Season

Albertville (1-9)Chip EnglishChip English
Autauga Academy (4-6)Jeremy PerkinsJeremy Perkins
Baker (7-4)Steve NormandSteve Normand
Baldwin County (7-4)Steve NormandSteve Normand
Chelsea (4-7)Dustin GoodwinTodd Cassity
Davidson (3-7)Rick CauleyRick Cauley
Davidson (3-7)Rick CauleyRick Cauley
Decatur (3-7)Rick CauleyRick Cauley
Decatur (4-7)Jere AdcockRick Cauley
Dothan High (4-6)Smitty GriderJed Kennedy
Enterprise (8-4)Rick DarlingtonBen Blackmon
Florence (5-6)Wade WaldropKenny Morson
Highland Home (9-3)Josh FloydJosh Floyd
Hoover (12-1)Josh NiblettWade Waldrop
Huntsville (3-7)Mark FleetwoodMark Fleetwood
J.B. Pennington (4-6)Rory BellRory Bell
J.B. Pennington (8-4)Todd CassityRory Bell
Mary Montgomery (0-10)Stan McCainZach Golson
Mary Montgomery (0-10)Stan McCainZach Golson
Opelika (9-4)Erik SpeakmanErik Speakman
Opp (9-4)Erik SpeakmanErik Speakman
Opp (9-3)Mike DuboseErik Speakman
Percy Julian (8-3)Eric HudsonDreQuay Everett
Smiths Station (2-8)Mike GlissonMike Glisson
Spain Park (2-8)Shawn RaneyTim Vakakes
Vestavia Hills (4-6)Sean CalhounRobert Evans

 Most Victories 
   The most successful coach in 7A and one of the best coaches in any classification is Mark Freeman at Thompson. His teams have won 236 games under his direction including nine state championships at Bessemer Academy, Spanish Fort and the last three at Thompson.

Mark Freeman Thompson 236 52
Laron White Sparkman 177 55
Keith Etheredge Auburn 160 54
Tim Carter Fairhope 144 82
Ben Blackmon Enterprise 129 52
Adam Winegarden Tuscaloosa County 106 39
Wade Waldrop Hoover 100 75
Patrick Nix Central Phenix City 87 28
Jeremy Perkins Austin 83 53
Kelvis White Bob Jones 72 78

 Longest Tenure at Current School 
   The longest tenured coach at their current school in 7A is surprisingly Jeremy Perkins at Austin who is beginning his thirteenth season with the program. His teams at Austin have finished 83-53 and have gone 8-8 in the playoffs. They also won region championships in 2016, 2017 and 2020.

   The average tenure of all 7A head coaches is just 3.6 years. That is the lowest of any classification except the 3.5 years in 4A.

 13 - Jeremy Perkins, Austin
 9 - Josh Floyd, Hewitt-Trussville
 8 - Tim Carter, Fairhope
 8 - Mark Freeman, Thompson
 7 - Kenny King, Daphne
 6 - Mark Fleetwood, Huntsville
 6 - Laron White, Sparkman
 5 - Erik Speakman, Opelika
 5 - Mike Glisson, Smiths Station

 Coaching Turnover 2000-2022 
   The lack of success in most football programs often leads to a change in the head coach. These schools have had the most head coaching changes over the past 23 years. There are a few notable schools here that are not considered losing programs in Enterprise, Florence and Spain Park.

9 Albertville  
9 Alma Bryant  
8 Grissom  
8 Mary Montgomery  
7 Baker  
7 Enterprise  
7 Florence  
7 Lee Montgomery  
7 Smiths Station  
7 Spain Park  

David Parker

Great Moments in Alabama High School Football History

The Tuscaloosa Black Bears were considered one of the best programs in the nation from 1925-1931. Their record over that span was an amazing 61-0-3.