Where to start when searching for new coaches

Published 8:03 pm Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Over the last week, I’ve written about two different local football coaches that have left schools in the county.

Dallas County’s Marty Smith and Selma’s Keon Handley both resigned to move back to the Birmingham area. You can’t blame either one of them. The majority of Smith’s family lives in Birmingham and points north and Handley’s wife and kids live in Hoover.

Handley also had a chance to return to Fairfield High School, where he graduated from in 1997. The allure of returning home is always hard to pass up and nobody can blame him.

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Now, both schools have to look at potential candidates for those open spots. Obviously, finding a person that fits the more important faculty need is the most important thing, but I’m confident many candidates will be interested in both jobs, so that shouldn’t be a problem.

As interviews begin, I hope that each school system tries to find candidates who are willing to move to the Selma and Plantersville area. That’s not meant as a criticism of Smith or Handley, who each had their own reasons for living where they do, and both did commendable jobs in very different situations.

Smith stuck around as football coach longer at Dallas County than anybody in almost 20 years and he turned the Hornets into a playoff team and the best team in the county. There’s no doubt the team is in much better shape than it was before he took over. The proof is in the wins. He was the perfect hire at the time and already had connections to the school.

Handley took over a program ready to run the power-I and saw the athletes Selma had on the roster, so he tried to implement a spread offense.

It’s not hard to see that being successful at Selma, but the transition was always going to take more than one year. So yes, Selma went 1-9 in 2016, but it’d be unfair to judge him on only one season.

With all that said, it’s time for the schools to look ahead and not backwards.

Living close to where you work — especially in a job of public service — shows commitment and gives the indication of investing in the community and school. It doesn’t necessarily mean an employee will stick around longer, but it indicates a little more buy-in.

At the newspaper, it’s required for the news staff to live within Selma because we want everyone to be within the city we cover. We want to live here, be a part of the community and be invested in what happens in Selma. Obviously, that doesn’t mean we all stick around for years, but it is a plan we have in place so we can provide the best coverage possible.

Both jobs figure to attract many coaches willing to take on a job at a 5A or 6A program, but how many people are willing to relocate?

That should be one of the first questions asked. Both schools could use some stability.