There is a big shakeup in the Jackson County coaching ranks coming next season.
A number of longtime coaches’ resignations were accepted and others were hired during Thursday’s Jackson County School Board of Education meeting.
In football, former North Sand Mountain quarterback Tyler Vann was hired Thursday as Woodville’s new head coach. Vann spent the past two seasons as an assistant at Scottsboro and Buckhorn high schools respectively.
Vann replaces Jay Powell, who stepped down after a six-year stint in which he led the Panthers to 24 wins and four playoff appearances.
On the basketball court, Woody Beard’s resignation as Pisgah’s varsity boys basketball coach was made official at Thursday’s meeting. Beard was Jackson County’s longest tenured varsity boys coach, having coached his alma mater for 23 seasons and compiling 366 wins, two Final Four appearances, eight regional appearances and 14 sub-regional appearances.
Lamar Hendricks, a Fort Payne assistant coach the past few seasons, was hired as the Eagles’ new head coach. Hendricks is a Pisgah alum.
Zac Barringer has resigned as the North Jackson varsity boys basketball coach. He led the Chiefs to 40 wins the past three seasons with one Northeast Regional appearance — just the second in school history — and two sub-regional appearances. The Chiefs finished 17-11 this past season. The 17 wins are tied for second most in a single season in program history.
Brian “Bubba” Smith has resigned his position as Woodville’s varsity girls basketball coach after four seasons. His resignation was also approved on Thursday. Smith will continue to serve as Woodville’s varsity boys basketball head coach. He coached both Woodville varsity hoops teams the past three seasons.
In volleyball, Crystal Heard is returning to the sideline to coach the Pisgah volleyball team. She was previously the Eagles coach from 2013-15. Heard led the program to two Jackson County championships and its first Super Regional appearance during the 2015 season. Heard replaces Carey Ellison, who coached Pisgah to three Jackson County titles and one Super Regional appearance during his three seasons.
Pisgah cross country/track and field head coach Gus Hembree’s retirement from teaching was approved during Thursday’s meeting. Hembree, however, is expected to retain his coaching duties at the school. He has held those coaching positions at Pisgah since 2009.
A former multi-sport coach is retiring from education. Eddie Kirby’s retirement was approved Thursday night. Kirby, who has taught at NSM since 1986, served as a boys basketball head coach at the varsity, junior varsity and junior high levels for numerous years during his career. He also held head-coaching and assistant coaching roles with the NSM football and track and field programs.
A number of assistant coaching positions were filled as well during Thursday’s board meeting.
The North Jackson football team added Jamaal Bess and Gerald Riggs, Jr. to its coaching staff as non-faculty assistant coaches. Bess, a former University of Rhode Island defensive back and Delta State defensive backs coach, will serve as the Chiefs’ defensive coordinator. Riggs, a former Tennessee Volunteer and NFL and CFL running back, will coach the Chiefs’ running backs.
Meanwhile, Colt Schrader was hired as a teacher and assistant football coach at Section.
Natalie Stevens was approved as middle school cheer coach for North Jackson while Beth Caperton was approved as the junior high cheer coach at Pisgah.
Also at North Jackson, Melissa Brown was approved as an assistant volleyball coach.
In some approvals from the 2019-20 year, Meagan Willis was approved as the cheerleader sponsor for North Jackson while Callie Porter was approved as an assistant softball coach for North Jackson and Jacob Croft was approved as an assistant baseball coach at North Jackson.
Look for more on all of the moves in the coming issues of the Sentinel.