E.A. Sports Today

Felder fits for Tigers

Former Donoho head coach approved by Talladega city schools to be new head football coach at Talladega High School

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today
It doesn’t matter if he was hired last night, last week or last year. Now that he’s here, all that matters to Shannon Felder is getting down to business.
Felder is back in the area as a head football coach after the Talladega City school board approved him Tuesday night as Talladega High School’s new head coach.
He succeeds Ted Darby, who took the Tigers to two playoff appearances but was relieved of his coaching duties last Wednesday morning after not being approved the night before as the head coach at White Plains.
“I’m super excited about the job and the people I’ll be working with and people I’ll be working for,” Felder said Tuesday night. “I’m excited about meeting the coaches and the kids and just getting started.”
Felder was a coach Talladega schools superintendent Tony Ball was “very interested in” when the vacancy was created. Ball spoke to several educators around the state during the process, including former Donoho head of school Jan Hurd, who Ball said spoke very highly of the coach.
Felder coached 11 years at Donoho with a 67-54 record, two region championships, six winning seasons and eight playoff appearances. The Falcons reached the third round of the playoffs in 2006 and 2011. He had three seasons of 11 or more victories and two years in which his defense allowed fewer than 100 points.
He takes a program Darby built into a playoff participant after not going to postseason play for 22 years.
“I know Ted did a great job,” Felder said. “Ted did a great job in changing the mindset of the players, did a great job of getting the fans excited and made a connection with those kids and they bought into what they trying to do with the program. My goal is just to come in and build off the success they had and take them to the next level.
“The fans already have an expectation of making the playoffs because they’ve done that. Now what they want to do is see the program go to that next level. My job is to try to get in there and get them busy and help the guys improve each and every day as students and athletes and to continue to work hard and try to make the program the best we can.”

Before getting the call to return home, Felder was about to begin his first season as defensive coordinator at Class 1A title contender Sweet Water High School. He had been the head coach at Sumter Central the two previous seasons.
Now that he’s officially on board at Talladega he has little time to rest. He has a meeting with his coaches Wednesday morning, then meets the press Thursday at the Talladega County Football Media Day. The start of practice is two weeks away.
The Tigers open their season at Alexandria on Aug. 22 and play their home opener Aug. 30 against Munford, another team that will be sporting a new head coach (former Saks assistant Michael Easley).
“Somebody asked me if I was at a disadvantage coming in the game so late,” Felder said. “What I said was the fans don’t care if you get hired the day before the season starts, the expectations are the same. It’s irrelevant (when). Whether it’s fair or not; it’s irrelevant. We got the job, we wanted the job and now it’s time to do the job. That’s what I’m going to do.”

Longtime Calhoun County Paul Farlow is expected to join the staff, but Felder declined to confirm any staff appointments.
“Until I get the approval and everything, all that is irrelevant,” he said. “I’m trying to get the best I can get to help me do the job I’m trying to do.”
Meanwhile, White Plains is hoping to have its new head coach in place Thursday. The job posting for a history teacher closes Wednesday at 4 p.m., not in time for approval at that day’s board meeting, and White Plains principal Andy Ward is expected to interview finalists throughout the evening.

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