To date, there have been 29 vacancies for head football coach in the AHSAA.
Of those 29, 13 spots have been filled as of National Signing Day when Brian Seymore was plucked from Mary G. Montgomery to head up Demopolis. Seymore was 8-12 with the 7A Region 1 Vikings, missing out on a 2016 playoff spot, along with Theodore, in a three-way tie to Murphy. Seymore’s 2016 squad went 5-5, the best record for MGM since their last playoff appearance in 2002 when they went 9-2. The biggest cause for concern comes from Seymore’s playoff history. In seven appearances (five at Andalusia, two with AISA’s Pike Liberal Arts), Seymore has never made it out of the first round.
One coach Mary Montgomery likely won’t turn to is Mike Dean. The former Vikings head man was dismissed from his post at Stanhope Elmore after just one season. In a similar fashion to his dismissal from MGM in 2014, Stanhope Elmore cited a change in direction as their reason. Dean had replaced Jeff Foshee just a month before the 2016 season after Foshee had been accused of paying a teacher to allow a student to stay eligible.
The biggest of the four hires this last week came in Class 3A as Colbert County replaced the retired Dale Jeffreys with Decatur offensive line coach Brett Mask, son of St. Paul’s head coach Steve Mask. The 32-year-old steps into his first head coaching job with a school that has missed the playoffs just once since 1981. Mask’s father was also the last coach to lead the Indians to the state title game in 2002. Mask’s offensive line at Decatur helped create holes for running back LaDarius Woods, who rushed for over 2,100 yards. The Red Raiders also averaged 32.8 points in a 10-2 season.
Class 7A Huntsville followed rival Grissom’s suit by looking outside the state for their new head coach. Former Troy offensive coordinator Mark Fleetwood decided to leave his current head coaching position with Peachtree Ridge in Georgia for the Huntsville job. Fleetwood went 41-27 with GHSA Class AAAAAAA Peachtree. His 2016 team went 6-6, finished tied for 2nd at 4-2 in their region, and lost to state runner-up Roswell in the second round.
Class 4A Dora looked to 1A Sumiton Christian for their new era as the Bulldogs brought in Bart Lockhart. Lockhart recorded a 12-10 record with the Eagles, including a 9-3 season in 2016 and their first playoff win in 12 years. Dora took a step back under Mike Cain, going 4-16 in two years after five straight playoff appearances under three different coaches.
Finally, Lincoln’s Brad Wallace turned in his resignation Thursday. The Golden Bears have not been the same since Keith Howard’s untimely death in 2009, but under Wallace, Lincoln went to the playoffs three out of four years. The 2016 Bears finished just 4-8 but defeated Region 3 champion Demopolis in the first round of the playoffs.