E.A. Sports Today

Monroe headed to Westbrook

Lincoln assistant gets his first head coaching job, calls it ‘a dream come true’

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

Shea Monroe figured he would be a head football coach some day. He just didn’t think it would be this soon.

The timetable moved “a lot sooner” this week when Monroe, Lincoln’s offensive coordinator the last three seasons, accepted Westbrook Christian’s offer to become its new coach.

He succeeds Tony Osborne, who retired from football at the end of this past season after 21 years as the Warriors head coach.

“I thought maybe by the time I was 40 (he’d be a head coach),” Monroe said. “I’m about to turn 28 (next month), so it’s about 12 years early. It’s crazy, it really is. I guess it hasn’t hit me yet.”

In addition to his football duties at Lincoln, Monroe also is the Bears’ girls basketball coach and boys soccer coach. He will coach only football at Westbrook.

“I’ll be honest, I wasn’t going to leave Lincoln just for any job and I wasn’t looking to leave Lincoln,” he said. “I love those teams and I appreciate what they’ve done for me as a coach and as a person … God opened the door for me and called me to walk through the door. It’s a dream come true.”

Monroe broke the news to his Lincoln players Friday afternoon and hoped to meet with his new players as soon as possible. He officially starts at Westbrook Feb. 1, but will coach the Golden Bears’ girls basketball team to its season’s conclusion.

“Telling the kids, that’s going to be the worst part of the whole deal,” he said. “I just hope when I leave here these kids will remember I did something positive, that I had a positive impact on them.”

In his three years at Lincoln, the Bears made the playoffs twice and won a region championship. They scored nearly 600 points over those three seasons.

Osborne was 121-106 at Westbrook with five region championships, 12 playoff appearances, one trip to the state finals and one NFL quarterback, Brodie Croyle, who had a hand in the hiring process. He will become director of the Big Oak Girls Ranch.

The Warriors were 3-7 this past season and missed by playoffs by a game in a region that included eventual 3A state champion Piedmont, Glencoe, Wellborn, Weaver, Ohatchee, Ashville and Pleasant Valley. Monroe wasn’t certain if the Warriors would remain in that region when the new AHSAA alignments are disclosed in February, but was ready to take on whoever fell on the schedule.

“All I know is (Osborne) is a really good man; they scored a lot of points and won a lot of games,” Monroe said. “So, I have some big shoes to fill.”

The “biggest thing” Monroe wants to do at Westbrook is implement his coaching style, which he says is being upbeat with an emphasis on the run and playing sound defense.

Westbrook athletics director Matt Kennedy said the school had five “really qualified” candidates for the job and that Monroe’s personality shown through in their multiple interviews.

“I think the biggest difference was his charisma, his energy, his passion about life,” Kennedy said. “Not just for football, but for kids in general. That’s the passion I saw from him that day. We as coaches call it the ‘it’ factor. That’s what Brodie said — he’s got that ‘it’ factor.

“Wins and losses on the football field look good and that helps build your program, but most kids don’t go play on the college level. The thing we strive for is men of character and just being great men one day. Shea has a lot of those traits he could give our kids. I respect Tony and he had a great tenure with us. I’m interested to see how Shea changes the face of our program.”

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