AHSAA schools continue to fill their head football vacancies as spring practice days are set to begin for most schools within the next three weeks.
Matt Putnam is the new head coach at Madison County. Putnam arrives from Sylvania, where he was a 1996 graduate. Putnam has won 38 games during his Sylvania stint and holds a region record of 21-16. After Putnam’s first year at Sylvania, the Rams went 8-4, won the 3A Region 7 championship, and they lost in the second round of the playoffs. During his third season with the Rams, they went 11-2, took second in Region 7, and made it to the third round of the playoffs. Putnam’s 2020 season with the Rams, he went 5-6 and took the fourth place spot in Region 7. Before going to Sylvania, he was the head coach at Hazel Green.
Shane Smothers is the new head coach at Cordova. Smothers joins the Blue Devil program after several years on the staff at Muscle Shoals. Smothers has been a head coach at five different schools in Alabama – McKenzie, W.S. Neal, Walker, Georgiana and Lawrence County. His career record as a head coach stands at 62-59.
Beauregard has named Justin Jones to run their football program. The former Prattville defensive coordinator takes over the Beauregard program after spending time as the head coach at Florala, New Brockton and Cordova. He has a 47-40 overall record as a head coach, and has made playoff appearances in six of his eight previous seasons at the helm. Jones hopes to help the Hornets return to its championship history, where Beauregard made ten straight postseason appearances from 2009-2018 and a trip to the state championship in 2016. “I think it’s the history of the place,” said Jones about his new position. “They’ve had so much success over the past 15-20 years, and for us, it was the community, the family atmosphere that my family needed to come here, and I’m just excited to get started.”
Rodney Dollar has returned to Headland to lead the Rams football team. He was the head coach there in 1990 through 1992. His coaching stops have included Samson, Frisco City, Houston Academy, Tallassee and Carbon Hill. His career record stands at 151-103. “I look so forward to bringing this place back to where it needs to be and that is a championship level in all sports,” Dollar said. “I want to make everybody understand here, I am the Athletic Director before I am anything. In all sports, I want to be at championship levels.” He takes over a Ram program that went 1-8 last season after moving to Class 5A. The Rams set a school record under Danny Raines in 2018 by winning ten games.
Central Phenix City assistant Tyler Crane is the new head coach at Oak Mountain High School. Crane, a Cedar Bluff High graduate, is beginning his second stint at Oak Mountain, having served as the Eagles offensive line coach in 2016 and 2017. He began his coaching career as a volunteer assistant at Sand Rock before taking over as the defensive coordinator at Winterboro. The Jacksonville State alum also spent time as an assistant at Cherokee County, Foley, Oak Mountain, Northridge and Central-Phenix City. “We’re going to try to do everything we can to make Oak Mountain successful and not just football,” Crane said. “Oak Mountain is a family, very tight knit, from football to baseball to soccer, basketball, volleyball, everything, I want to make sure I do everything in my power to help these sports be successful. The most important thing is this is about the kids. It’s all about them, helping them be successful.
Brandon Wilcox has signed on as the new head football coach at W.S. Neal. Wilcox is a 2002 T.R. Miller graduate, so he is familiar with the territory. Wilcox served as the offensive coordinator at Center Point in 2020 where he helped guide the Eagles to a 7-4 record, 5-2 in 5A Region 6 play. Before joining George Bates’ squad at Center Point, he spent four seasons at the helm of the Montevallo Bulldogs program. He left Montevallo as one of the most successful Bulldogs head coaches in recent memory, leading the 4A program to a 28-16 record, three playoff births and a 15-9 mark in region play over four seasons. Earlier in his career Wilcox spent a pair of seasons as the head coach at Marion County High where he guided the Red Raiders to 10-14 record including a trip to the 1A semifinals in 2014. His head coaching record currently stands at 38-30, 21-15 in region play, with four playoff births over six seasons.