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Hazel Green, Russellville and Dothan Hire New Coaches

Sometimes a coach just needs a change, or maybe another opportunity.  Sometimes a coach rebuilds a program and is rewarded with a step upward.  All of those things seem to be happening as schools rush to hire coaches in time for spring practice.

Russellville hired West Morgan coach John Ritter as their new head football coach.  Ritter took West Morgan from football obscurity to a 10 win season. The Rebels had won but 2 games in the three previous seasons when Ritter arrived. After suffering through an 0-10 first campaign, Ritter led the Rebels to a 7-4 and then a 10-2 season. Ritter had previously been head coach at Red Bay where he went 16-7 in two seasons. He replaces Mark Heaton who resigned in February.

Park Crossing’s Smitty Grider is leaving the Montgomery school to take a new challenge at Hazel Green. Grider led the Eagles to great success in their first few seasons. He went 38-9 in four campaigns, including a 13-1 record and semi final berth in 2016 and a 10-2 record last year. Before becoming head coach at Park Crossing, Grider spent 8 seasons as head coach at Beauregard.  He was the 4A Coach of the Year after an 11-2 season in 2012 and won 64 games there.

Wayne White has been named the new head coach at Dothan High School, becoming the first coach to serve as the head man at both Northview and Dothan. White led the Northview program from 2009 through 2011.  He has spent the past six seasons as head coach at Carver Magnet School in Dothan.

White is a 1991 graduate of Dothan High School, and served as assistant coach and defensive coordinator there from 1997-2005.  He played at UAB after graduating from Dothan.  He is thrilled to be able to come back to his alma mater.  The Tigers were 6-15 the last two seasons under Kevin Jackson, who resigned in January.

“I feel extremely humbled and honored,” White said in the Dothan Eagle. “There is no doubt to me that this is a God thing. Anybody that knows my journey understands that. I had a lot of prayers go up and He answered. This was God’s will.”

Here is the latest list of coaching changes this offseason.

Arab                                   Adam Gilbert                                  Unfilled

Ardmore                            Andrew Smith (interim)               P.J. Wright

Ashford                             Mitch Sellars                                    Unfilled

B.B. Comer                       Mike Battles, Sr.                             Adam Fossett

B.C. Rain                           Tellis Stone                                      Unfilled

Benjamin Russell            Danny Horn                                     Kevin Smith

Bessemer City                  Quintin Jackson                              Unfilled

Center Point                     Shawn Gregory                                George Bates

Chickasaw                         John Beverly                                    Jason Rowell

Clay Central                      Chris Herron                                    Danny Horn

Corner                                Zac Willis                                          John Clements

Cottage Hill                      David Peebles                                   Chris Brazzell

Cullman                             Mark Britton                                    Matt Plunkett

Dale County                      Pate Harrison                                   Don Moore

Danville                              Josh LouAllen                                 Shannon McGregory

Dothan                               Kevin Jackson                                 Wayne White                                              East Lawrence                  Jarrod Helms                                  Matthew Pettus

Elba                                     Ed Rigby                                          Pate Harrison

Ellwood Christian            Mike Stokes                                     Unfilled

Elmore County                  Norman Dean                                 Jordan Cantrell

Eufaula                               Bryan Moore                                   Ed Rigby

Faith Academy                  Jeff Estes                                         Jack French

Florence                             J.B. Wallace                                     Will Hester

Fultondale                         Richie Busby                                    Don Dover

Gardendale                        Matt Plunkett                                  Chad Eads

Glencoe                              Rusty Davis                                      Brian Alred

Hazel Green                      Will Wagnon                                    Smitty Grider

Helena                                Watt Parker                                     Richie Busby

Houston Academy           Jimmy Addison                               Jamie Riggs

Jasper                                Heath Brunner                                 Bryan Moore

Mary Montgomery          Chris Wilson                                     Stan Cain

Minor                                 Curtis Graves                                    Adrian Abrams

New Hope                         Kenny Chadwick                              Bart Stephenson

Oneonta                             Brandon Herring                             Phil Phillips

Opelika                               Caleb Ross                                        Erik Speakman

Pell City                             Keith Etheredge                               Wayne Lee

Phil Campbell                   Ryan Swinney                                  Keith Barnwell

Prattville                            Chad Anderson                                Caleb Ross

Priceville                            Dirk Strunk                                      Jason Simmons

Ragland                              Brian Alred                                       Derrick Sewell

Robertsdale                       Brian Campbell                               Chase Smith

Russellville                        Mark Heaton                                    John Ritter

Satsuma                             Justin Thomas                                 Unfilled

Smiths Station                 Adam Fossett                                    Mike Glisson

T.R. Miller                         Andrew Thomas                              Keith Etheredge

West Limestone               Jordan Cantrell                                Unfilled

West Morgan                    John Ritter                                        Unfilled

Winston County               Bart Stephenson                              Mark Mitchell

Woodlawn                          George Bates                                    Unfilled


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