Stokes officially named ECA head coach

Published 10:47 pm Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Ellwood Christian Academy officially hired Mike Stokes as its football coach Monday evening, according to the Rev. Gary Crum, who serves as the school’s board chairman.

Stokes, who was a faculty member at the school when Ellwood was first founded, was the school’s head football coach until 2013. Crum said Stokes has been a part of the football staff the last two seasons, despite not being the head coach.

Now, he’ll take back over the program.

“He’s familiar with our operation, familiar with the system and already familiar with the student population, so he had three plusses,” Crum said.

It was Stokes that guided Ellwood Christian to the school’s first ever football 11-man football win in 2012. He also led the Eagles to their first ever playoff appearance in 2012.

In AHSAA play, Stokes has a record as a head coach of 7-14. The Eagles also played 8-man football and in the Alabama Independent School Association football under Stokes.

He replaced Trey Pike, who coached the Eagles for one season before taking a position with St. Clair County. Pike’s contract was not renewed after his one year at Ellwood.

Crum said no other candidates were considered for the football position.

“We wanted to keep it in-house since it’s so late in the year,” Crum said. “We didn’t want to put anybody under any more pressure trying to learn the boys and things of that nature, so we thought this would be a perfect fit.”

Crum said the rest of Ellwood’s coaching staff will largely be volunteers.

“We are going to depend heavily on volunteers. We have a lot of retired coaches in our congregation, so we are going to be alright,” Crum said. “We are going to be in good shape.”

Ellwood finished last season with a 3-7 record and missed the playoffs. The Eagles will start this season at Wilcox Central on Aug. 18.

Stokes could not be reached for comment.