E.A. Sports Today

Nix named new PV coach

Record is important, but Raiders’ new leader is about more than wins and losses



By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

Jonathan Nix, who kept the playoff train going at Ragland in his three seasons there, was approved to become the next coach to get it rolling at Pleasant Valley Thursday night.

He was approved as the Raiders’ new football coach unanimously and without discussion by the Calhoun County Board of Education.

He succeeds Jeff Davis, who resigned last month after 10 seasons.

“I’m excited about the opportunity, excited about the belief (principal and AD Mark Proper has) in me and what we can do and looking forward to doing great things,” Nix said. “I’m real excited about the challenges that I have in front of me.”

Paramount among the challenges is turning the program into a consistent winner. The Raiders enjoyed the most success in their history under Davis, but it wasn’t overwhelming success — the type enjoyed by Nix, 37, at 1A Ragland.

The Purple Devils have made the playoffs 14 years in a row. The Raiders have had only two winning seasons in the same period.

If his new program is going to have anything close to that kind of success, he’s convinced it will start in the weight room and bringing the entire community together to support it.

Nix said while he understands people will look at wins and losses, there was more to football than that and he adheres to a series of what he calls “concrete believes I won’t jeopardize.” His approach is develop solid and productive citizens as well as good football programs.

“I don’t mean this in a bad way at all, but winning is not everything to me,” he said. “Coaching’s calling and I got into coaching to affect kids. My record at Ashville (7-23) wasn’t near as good as it was at Ragland (30-5), but I affected just as many kids at Ashville as I did at Ragland.

“Sometimes I think society wants to always look at the wins and losses, but to me it’s about how many kids are getting jobs once they graduate your program, how many of them are going to college, how many of them are taking their grades more serious, how many of them have made a change by you and your coaching staff. … I think it’s all about maxing out the potential that God’s given you.”

Family considerations also played into his decision to pursue the PV job. His wife is a teacher and band director at Gaston.

Nix will remain at Ragland through April, which will keep him through the softball season, and join the Raiders in time for spring practice. The Raiders play Saks in the Spring Jam at JSU Stadium in May.

He called himself “a player’s coach” and although he enjoys both sides of the ball he believes in defense more than offense. There was no immediate word on the staff Nix may be able to assemble at PV.

Nix was one of 21 candidates interviewed for the job from a pool of 73, Proper said. He declined to identify the other two finalists.

“We think we’ve got the right man for the job at this time,” he said. “He’s obviously built a good program. I want to bring in somebody who’s going to be well-respected through the ranks, which all the candidates who interviewed for this job were.”

When Nix coached at Ashville he was hired by Jody Whaley, the current Saks principal. Whaley was in attendance at the board meeting and greeted Nix warmly after he was approved.

The Pleasant Valley community will get its first formal look at the new coach at a meet-and-greet being planned for the near future. Judging from the initial buzz, it promises to be a rousing affair.

“We’re excited to have a man of his caliber,” said booster club president Danny Craven, a member of the search committee. “The principal saw it was time for a culture change within the school … sometimes you just have to shift gears … and Coach Nix was the man to move us forward right now.

“And the conversation wasn’t just this is what we want to do. It was this is what people want to do and let me tell you how we were able in the past to get there. He had a plan. That meant a lot to all of us. He had a plan of how do we get to do well.”


Ragland (30-5)
2014 — 11-2 (2-1 playoffs)
2013 — 10-2 (2-1 playoffs)
2012 — 9-1 (0-1 playoffs)

2008 — 0-10 (0-7 region)
2007 — 3-7 (2-5 region)
2006 — 4-6 (2-5 region)

You must be logged in to post a comment Login