E.A. Sports Today

Updated: Felder out at Donoho

Headmaster confirms long-time Falcons football coach, AD no longer with school

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

There’s a dark cloud hovering over The Donoho School today and it has nothing to do with the recent rainy weather.

Headmaster James Hutchins on Saturday confirmed to East Alabama Sports Today that Falcons head football coach and athletics director Shannon Felder has been dismissed from his duties. Felder also was the boys basketball coach.

It also was reported Lyndsey Mullins, the assistant athletics director and junior high volleyball coach, also was released, but Hutchins said she is still under contract with the school. Her contract runs through May.

According to sources at the school, Felder was told he would have his contract renewed, but the school’s board decided it was time to move in another direction. It had been said he recently expressed a desire to remain the head football coach but divest himself of the other responsibilities.

Hutchins said he would not discuss specific issues surrounding the decision, but did say there were a “lot of issues involved with personnel.” Felder, meanwhile, told East Alabama Sports Today in a text message Saturday he couldn’t comment “right now.”

“He has been a great influence on our kids’ lives,” Hutchins said. “We agreed to part ways.”

Hutchins said no interim head football coach has been appointed. He said the plan was to “cast a wide net” through the independent and public schools to hire a football coach and athletics director. If that individual had experience and interest in coaching basketball that would be a plus, otherwise he’d been in the market for a boys basketball coach as well.

He said it would be in the Falcons’ best interest to have a football coach in place to get the team through the spring. Felder also was putting together a large spring football jamboree in May. Hutchins said there was no decision on that at this time.

“It’s a big job, but we’re ready,” Hutchins said. “We think Donoho is an attractive opportunity for someone.”

Felder was the second-longest tenured head football coach at any Calhoun County school, behind Jacksonville Christian’s Tommy Miller. Interestingly, he recently was recognized by the school for becoming it’s all-time winningest football coach.

Sources within the school describe Donoho’s philosophy towards athletics as about more than wins and losses, so whatever success or lack of it the Falcons had between the lines was unlikely a factor in the move.

Felder was 67-54 in 11 seasons with the Falcons football team, surpassing Robert Green by two wins during this past season’s 11-1 run that ended in the second round of the 1A playoffs.

His teams had made postseason play eight times, including each of the last five years.

His team this season posted eight shutouts, including one in each of the first five games, and set records for fewest points allowed in a season, most points scored in a game and a season.

“His record on the field speaks for itself and … I applaud what he and his assistants have been able to do,” Hutchins said. “It’s great to win and we hope we can continue that winning success (but) while it’s important to go after an individual who can continue that, we want to make sure they can get academics done and help our students take the next step in their lives.

“As you said in your earlier article it’s not about winning and losing to us. It’s about living the newly revised mission of the school.”We’re all empowered as individuals to lead and we take it very seriously. Coaches and teachers impact kids more than you ever know.”

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