J.R. Tidwell/FCT Belgreen head coaches Kenny Lindsey (far left) and Greg Watson (left center) and Phil Campbell head coaches Bo Culver (right center) and Darit Riddle (far right) have vacated coaching positions at county schools for one reason or another.

Archived Story

County schools must find new coaches

Published 6:00am Saturday, June 2, 2012

The Franklin County School Board has found itself in a precarious situation this summer. The board has to replace coaching spots in five positions between two schools.

Head baseball coach Darren Welborn and head softball coach Darit Riddle were expected to step down from those posts at the end of the season at Phil Campbell.

Head baseball coach Kenny Lindsey at Belgreen may or may not be hired back on at Belgreen, so that position is in question.

The board was already looking for people to fill in these posts when two more names were added to the list over the last two weeks: Phil Campbell head football coach Bo Culver and Belgreen head basketball coach Greg Watson.

Culver is now an assistant coach at Florence High School, and Watson left for his home town of Tullahoma, Tenn., last Friday.

This makes some four or five positions that the school board must fill as soon as possible.

“This has put a good bit of pressure on us,” Franklin County Superintendent Gary Williams said.  “We’re trying to get people in place now because everybody has summer programs, and I know Phil Campbell’s baseball team has a game I think on June 7.

“They need some time to get organized. You have basketball clinics going on, team camps in softball and weight training and conditioning in football.

“All of the students and players are ready to get started; they just need somebody to lead them. We’re trying to get that done as soon as possible.”

A few of the open positions were no surprise, but the departures of Culver and Watson were completely unforeseen.

“Coach Culver was kind of a surprise,” Williams said. “We did know a little bit beforehand about Coach Wellborn and Coach Riddle, but it hit us all at once, so we’re trying to get jobs posted and get them filled.[Coach Lindsey] got a pink slip, but he could be called back. We’re not sure that he’s gone.

“He’s paid with federal funds, and he was pink slipped on account of we’re not sure about the federal funds yet. Coach Watson is gone. He resigned last Friday and we posted that job [Thursday.]”

The school board is doing what they can to get those positions filled, which means going through a couple of different channels.

“We have posted the jobs on our website and on the Alabama High School Athletic Association website,” Williams said.

“Of course we send all of our postings out to the schools also. We’re just trying to get the word out that we have these openings, and as a matter of fact we had some interviews going on [Thursday] for Phil Campbell.

“We interviewed for some head football coaches Friday. Once we do the interviewing we will probably go ahead and put the people to work.

“They will be officially hired on June 21 at the next board meeting. We’ll poll the board and get their feelings on people that the interview committees come up with. If they are OK with it then we’ll tell the people they can go to work and we’ll hire them June 21.”

Filling four or five jobs between two schools is no easy task, but according to Williams, no one job will be more difficult to fill than the others.

“They’re all equally difficult because you want to find the best person for each spot,” he said. “Both schools have great academic programs, but these positions we have open are at schools where the people are interested in sports.

“We have people in both of those communities interested in sports, and they want the best we can find, so that’s what we’ll try to find.”

This summer has proved to be an eventful season in the coaching carousel, with four or five coaching positions at Franklin County schools needing to be replaced. As far as the city schools go, a new head baseball coach at Russellville High was just named recently, Coach Chris Heaps from Central High in Phenix City.

This is on top of Red Bay naming Jamie Easley it’s new head football coach earlier this year. There will be some new faces around the halls of county schools this fall.

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