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AHSFHS Article Series

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

2023 Football Coaching Changes

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New Hires: Twelve
Best Hire: Ed Rigby, Luverne
Hardest to Replace: Stacy Luker, Clarke County
Best Job: Luverne
Toughest Job: Barbour County
Most Interesting: The most interesting coaching changes were the coaches that exited 2A during the off season. Stacey Luker moved to Mississippi. Clifford Story leaving Lanett was also a surprise but The Panthers should be in good hands for the future. Ed Rigby returning to the wiregrass following one year at Pike Road will also be interesting to watch in the future. He found great success at nearby Elba winning a state championship in 2015.
 2023 Coaching Changes 

   Class 2A saw the second fewest coaching changes percentage wise as only twelve schools will have new leadership as the 2023 football season begins. Only five of the new hires have no head coaching experience.

 Team  2022 Season  2023 Season

Barbour County (0-10)Daniel PowellDerrick Levett
Clarke County (7-6)Stacy LukerRob Carter
Gaston (3-7)Matt HarrisAlan Beckett
Greene County (4-6)KaRon ColemanCory Cockrell
Holly Pond (0-10)Chris MossColeman Mason
Lanett (5-6)Clifford StoryChip Seagle
Lexington (9-3)Jason LardBlake Killen
Luverne (6-5)Jason RowellEd Rigby
Section (1-9)Chris HammonRiley Edwards
Sulligent (5-5)Daniel MerchantBrian Gunnels
Tharptown (2-8)Jacob HamiltonJohn Johnson.
Winston County (7-5)Mark MitchellCaleb Simmons

 Most Victories 
   Coach Paul Benefield leads the list of 2A coaches with 337 victories in thirty-two seasons. His winning percentage is among the best of all time in any classification. Many articles have been written about him and I think there will more ahead for this coach. Look for Fyffe to be back in the hunt for another championship in 2023.

Paul Benefield Fyffe 337 55
Josh Wright Tuscaloosa Academy 148 45
Ernie Willingham Collinsville 142 94
Ronn Lee St. Lukes 132 169
Steven Kilcrease Ariton 102 40
Adam Fossett B.B. Comer 94 76
Jimmy Nave Whitesburg Christian 88 82
Ed Rigby Luverne 88 353

 Most Playoff Victories 
   It is 2A so the answer to most every question is Fyffe or Coach Benefield. He ranks fourth on our all-time list of the most successful coaches in playoff victories. Only Terry Curtis, Danny Horn and Jamie Riggs are ahead of his 63 playoff wins. Newcomer to the AHSAA Josh Wright has his program at Tuscaloosa Academy very competitive after moving from the AISA last year.

Paul Benefield Fyffe 63 23
Josh Wright Tuscaloosa Academy 29 10
Steven Kilcrease Ariton 14 9
Ed Rigby Luverne 14 9
Adam Fossett B.B. Comer 11 10
Ernie Willingham Collinsville 11 17
Ronn Lee St. Luke's 10 13
Rob Carter Clarke County 9 5
Matt Johnson Reeltown 7 6
Tate Leonard Isabella 7 7
   * only in-state wins counted

Longest Tenure at Current School
   In twenty six seasons at Fyffe, Coach Benefield has led his teams to a post season appearance in all but one season. That includes the last twenty-two in a row. Only two coaches, Jamie Riggs and Buddy Anderson, have won more games at a school than the 292 victories for Coach Benefield at Fyffe. His next win will tie him with Coach Riggs.

   The average tenure of all the 2A coaches is 4.9 years. That is the longest of any classification.

27 - Paul Benefield, Fyffe
15 - Ernie Willingham, Collinsville
14 - Wesley Sims, J.U. Blacksher
12 - John Limbaugh, Fayetteville
11 - Daryl Davis, Thorsby
10 - Josh Cox, Wicksburg
9 - Jonathan Nix, Pleasant Valley
9 - Ronn Lee, St. Lukes
8 - Steven Kilcrease, Ariton
8 - Denton Bowling, Hatton
8 - Tate Leonard, Isabella
8 - Keith Kirby, North Sand Mountain
8 - Stephen Bailey, Ranburne
8 - Matt Johnson, Reeltown
7 - KaRon Coleman, Greene County
7 - Robert Bradford, Lamar County
6 - Adam Fossett, B.B. Comer
6 - Luke Pruitt, Pisgah
6 - Jason Wambles, Samson
6 - Kevin Byrd, Southeastern
6 - Oscar Bonds, Tanner
6 - Lucas Weatherford, Vincent

 Coaching Turnover 2000-2023 
      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 24 years.
      Aliceville has to be the surprise in 2A. The Yellow Jackets have had only four losing seasons during this time but have made a dozen coaching changes.

12 Aliceville  
12 Barbour County  
11 Sulligent  
10 Central Coosa  
10 Highland Home  
10 Tuscaloosa Academy  
9 Ariton  
9 Francis Marion  
9 Holly Pond  
9 Samson  
8 B.B. Comer  
8 Cold Springs  
8 Geneva County  
8 Horseshoe Bend  
8 Locust Fork  

David Parker

Great Moments in Alabama High School Football History

The Morgan Academy Senators have appeared in 14 state championship games from 1984-2008, winning the title 11 times.