Coaches Continue to Come and Go as Spring Practice Approaches

As the end of March looms days ahead, schools are scrambling to get their head football coaches hired in time for spring practice.



Cris Bell has left his post at Oak Mountain to become the new coach at Scottsboro. He replaces Don Jacobs, who retired from public school service to accept an assistant's position at Houston Academy in Dothan. In nine seasons at Oak Mountain, Bell went 47-49. “I’m excited about where we’re going,” Bell said. “I certainly wasn’t looking for jobs, but this one intrigued me because of where it is, the reputation of the town and the people. Once we began communicating, it’s one of those deals where every box got checked.”



Rich Dutton is the new head man at Grissom. He comes from 5A Lawrence County, his alma mater, where he had served as head coach for nine seasons. His Lawrence County teams made four trips to the playoffs during his tenure there. “I am pleased with the numbers we have on the team. We’ll be able to field a freshman team and play guys only on offense or defense,” Dutton said on al.com. “I look forward to recruiting the hallways.



Southside of Gadsden has hired Miles Holcomb as their new head football coach. The former Crossville head coach arrives to lead a Panther program that went 7-4 last season under Gary Nelson. After a pair of seasons at Crossville, Holcomb joined Josh Niblett’s Hoover staff where he coached quarterbacks and receivers for two years before spending 2020 as offensive coordinator at Alpharetta High in Atlanta. He had also served as an assistant at Crossville, North Jackson and Haleyville.


The new head coach at Excel High School is Jason Phillips. Phillips has served as an assistant coach at St. Luke's, Saraland and Citronelle. He takes over an Excel program that has struggled since becoming 3A in 2010, with 11 consecutive losing seasons.



Caleb Ross is leaving Prattville High School to take a job as player personnel director and director of high school relations at Troy University. He spent three years as head coach of the Lions, leading them to a 23-11 overall record. Prattville went to the playoffs each year and the second round in 2019. “In many ways, this was one of the hardest decisions I’ve had to make,” Ross said. “It took a couple of days to finally make that call. There were some sleepless nights. Prattville is home. We poured our heart into the job here, and we’ve got the program turned in the right direction. The kids believe in the program again".