A Scottsboro alum is going from one track and field power to another.
Tom Esslinger, a 1998 Scottsboro graduate and former SHS standout athlete, has been named the new track and field head coach at Hewitt-Trussville High School near Birmingham.
Esslinger, the son of hall of fame Scottsboro track and field and cross country coach John Esslinger, was previously the head track and field coach and the track and field/cross country program director at Homewood High School.
Esslinger’s hiring as a teacher and coach at Hewitt-Trussville was announced by the school on May 14. He replaces David Dobbs, who retired from the sport after a long career as Hewitt-Trussville’s head coach.
“I have such tremendous respect for Coach Dobbs and the track and field program he built,” Tom Esslinger said in a press release. “I am so excited for the opportunity to build on the momentum of the program and help Hewitt-Trussville athletes reach their full potential. I am extremely thankful to get the chance to be a part of the extraordinary athletic department, school, and community in Trussville, and I can’t wait to meet the student-athletes and get to work.”
During Esslinger’s tenure at Homewood, the Patriots won 31 state championships in cross country and track and field. Esslinger was named the 2017 Girls Track and Field National Coach of the Year and Girls Track and Field South Coach of the Year by National High School Federation. Esslinger has also been named Alabama Track and Field Coach of the Year four times, twice by the NFHS and twice by the USTFCCCA. Esslinger was a coach for the U.S. Navy Team for the Warrior Games in Colorado Springs in 2014.
“I have known and coached against Tom Esslinger for many years and have always known that we have very similar coaching philosophies,” Dobbs said in a press release. “I have watched him develop from an outstanding athlete in high school and college to an outstanding coach. We are very fortunate to have him come to Hewitt-Trussville High School. His knowledge and enthusiasm for the sport ensures the continued success of the program for many years to come.”
Prior to earning his Master's degree in Education at UAB, Esslinger graduated magna cum laude from the University of South Alabama with a degree in Political Science. At the University of South Alabama Esslinger was an All-Conference Decathlete in 2001 and 2003 in the NCAA Division I Sun Belt Conference, earned the Perseverance Award for Courage and Character in Athletics, won the Most Outstanding Student in Political Science Award, and was selected to the Verizon Academic All-District IV Team for NCAA Track & Field. Esslinger was a 1998 graduate of Scottsboro High School where he was an AAU All-American in the decathlon and was All-State multiple times.
Esslinger lives in Homewood with his wife Amanda, who is an administrator at Homewood High School, and their two sons, 12-year-old John and 9-year-old Will.
“(Esslinger) has a proven track record of success and I have been impressed with his character and passion,” said Trussville City Schools Athletics Director Lance Walker. “We are all excited about working together to make our program the best that it can be.”