Selma takes over Dothan

Published 9:41 pm Monday, July 28, 2008

With its hire of Bill Porter Jr., Dothan High School is turning into a hotbed for Selma basketball expertise.

The Selma native was recently named boys basketball coach at the 6A school. Andrew Sewell, the son of A.A. Sewell — Porter’s basketball coach at Selma High — is principal of Dothan High.

“To be able to work with someone I’ve known my entire life is a blessing,” said Porter. “There’s a built-in comfort level.”

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The hire is not one based on friendship, but on coaching ability. Porter has experienced success at every coaching stop.

“Everywhere he’s been, he’s done the most with the least,” said Sewell. “Even in a rebuilding year, he’s done the most with the least.”

George Bennett Jr. — another Selma product — filled Porter’s vacated position at Headland. He was Porter’s teammate at Selma High and a member of his staff at both Dallas County High and Headland. His hire gives the Dothan area three Selma products in prominent positions.

“I was just talking to George, and we were just talking about how wild it is,” said Porter.

He landed his first head coaching job at Wilcox Academy and led the Rams to the 1999 AISA Final Four. He was at Dallas County High School from 2002-05 and won the area title in 2004.

He led Headland to a 23-11 record last season. The Rams were the area and Wiregrass Athletic Conference champions, and Porter was named WAC Coach of the Year.

Porter had a hard time leaving Headland, but could not pass up the opportunity to coach a 6A program.

Though his prior relationship with Porter made the hire easier, Sewell also relied on the basketball talent churned out by Selma.

“If I’m looking for a basketball coach, I’m looking from Selma first,” said Sewell. “When you talk about basketball, from my era on up, Selma was it.”

Porter’s decision to leave Headland was difficult. But in the coaching world, one cannot afford to refuse an opportunity to move up the ladder.

“When the job came available, he was extremely interested in me, and I was extremely interested in him,” said Porter. “It’s a tremendous opportunity to move on to a 6A program and be able to run a program the caliber of Dothan High School.”

Porter hit the ground running on arrival. Former Dothan basketball coach Terry Goodson resigned in June. Between Goodson’s resignation and Porter’s arrival on July 15, the Dothan players missed 1 1/2 months of conditioning workouts.

Porter has already put them through workouts and won two scrimmage games against Slocomb and Houston Academy.