Tyler Vann’s introductory team meeting as Woodville head football coach wasn’t the typically introductory meeting.
“I got introduced to the team over Google Meet — not how I expected it to happen,” Vann joked.
Vann is doing what he can in his new role as he waits out the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic.
“I’m just trying to make out a summer (workout) schedule, waiting to see all the guidelines, so we can get started,” Vann said. “I’m ready to get to work.”
Vann, who was hired May 7, is the Woodville football program’s fifth coach in its soon to be 16-season history. The 2012 North Sand Mountain High School graduate worked as an assistant football coach at NSM, Arab and Scottsboro before spending the 2019 season at Buckhorn.
“I’m excited,” Vann said. “The opportunity to be a head coach attracted me to the job. I’ve learned a lot from the head coaches I coached under, Coach (Jeff) Monroe (at NSM), Coach (Adam) Gilbert (at Arab), Coach (Don) Jacobs (at Scottsboro) and Coach (Keith) Henderson (at Buckhorn). I want to take what I’ve learned from them and also add some things I want to do. I’m going to coach like I played, play hard, give everything I’ve got. Our guys are going to work hard, going to bring a lot of energy and have a lot of fun.”
Vann was a three-sport standout at NSM, and was the Bison’s starting quarterback for three seasons under Gilbert from 2009-12. During his final three seasons, Vann passed for 5,616 yards and 54 touchdowns and rushed for more than 1,000 yards. The two-time Class 2A all-state honorable mention quarterback went 21-11 as a starter, helping the Bison make back-to-back playoff appearances for the first time in school history in 2011 and 2012. He also started the final few last games of his freshman season in 2009. Vann was also an all-state basketball player during his prep career.
Vann replaces Jay Powell, who went 24-39 and led Woodville to the first four playoff appearances in program history. Powell was the offensive coordinator at NSM when Vann played for the Bison.
“As a player, (Vann) was always a student of the game,” Powell said. “He could take plays and concepts and find ways to make them effective. He knows the game. I think he’ll be a great leader for the (Woodville) program.”
Vann said the Panthers will work from multiple formations offensively, including the spread, which he ran at NSM and at several other of his coaching stops. Woodville will also install a new defensive system.
Despite the challenges he and his new team face because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Vann likes the potential of the 2020 Panthers.
“The program is in a good spot,” Vann said. “Coach Powell built it into a good place that can be successful. We’re going to go out there try our best to be that.”