E.A. Sports Today

New coaches here

Taylor, Tyree, Etheredge represent largest influx of new head coaches in Calhoun County since 2015; Ginn, a first-year head coach last year, would advise them to be ‘super humble,’ expect a lot from players

White Plains’ Chandler Tyree (C) is the newest of three new head football coaches in Calhoun County. On the cover, Weaver’s Justin Taylor (C) was the first of the three.

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today
Calhoun County football has its largest influx of new head coaches in five years. There are three new voices in the headset calling shots for their teams this year, two of whom not only are new at their schools but first-year head coaches as well.
Alexandria’ Todd Ginn knows a little bit about what they’re about to go through. He was a first-year head football coach last year and has a bit of advice for the newcomers to the county – Weaver’s Justin Taylor, White Plains’ Chandler Tyree and Oxford’s Keith Etheredge.
Of course, Ginn has been a head coach in another sport – junior college basketball – and Etheredge has been a head coach in three other football programs, but the three are all in new situations and, especially for the first-year head coaches, Ginn has some experience to tell them what they’re about to walk into.
“I think we tip-toe around that kids are different nowadays and I think that’s the opposite of what you (should think) coming in as a new coach,” he said. “I don’t think kids are that much different than they’ve ever been. Yeah, they’ve got social media, they don’t want to talk because they’re used to typing, but when you throw the phones away and you come into practice and come into workouts, kids are kids. Kids are going to do what they can get away with and they’re going to take the mentality of what they’re around most of the time.
“My advice to a new coach in this county would be (a) come in and be super humble because if you’re not you’re going to get that way quick; that’s just gonna happen. And then expect a ton out of your kids. You know when water runs up on a big rock, it goes around it. Kids don’t want to do like the water. They will, but, heck, they want to get in there and grab that rock and push it with you; you’ve just got to expect them to do it.”
Each of the county’s new coaches come with differing amounts of time with their team or experience. Ginn came in shortly before spring practice last year and never really felt prepared all season, but the Valley Cubs still wound up having what he considered “a pretty good year.” This year’s new coaches should be so fortunate.
Etheredge got the Oxford job in May, but he’d been a head coach for 13 years already. Taylor got his first head coaching job in January and spent the rest of the school year finishing up his responsibilities at Cherokee County while trying to get his program established at Weaver. Tyree got the White Plains job Thursday and met his players for the first time that evening. Training camp opens Aug. 5.
“I heard somebody say Chandler’s got to do six months of work in four weeks,” Ginn said. “I thought six months of work in two months was tough last year.”
The lineup of new head coaches in the largest in the county since 2015 when three came in – at Donoho (Andy McWilliams), Pleasant Valley (Jonathan Nix) and White Plains (Chris White, ironically the slot Tyree was approved to fill). The largest year of turnover in the last 25 years was 2002 where there six new coaches in town (Donoho, Oxford, Piedmont, Pleasant Valley, Saks and Wellborn).
“I’ve got Chandler by a long shot, don’t I?” Taylor asked before turning serious. “My transition over in the spring was a little different than most. One of the big things that helped me was Coach (Jamie) Harper; he was my on-campus guy and there for me when I wasn’t there.
“It was really this summer before I felt like I got to just coaching again because all of getting there and getting things going I felt like I was doing a lot of other stuff. I’ve enjoyed the summer more than I have anything because I get to coach again. That’s why I got in this game, to coach and work with these young men.”
Tyree didn’t have that luxury of time. He literally has had to hit the ground running. He was approved by the county board on Thursday, two hours later was meeting with his new players for the first time and Friday had to talk about it all with local media.

He was the only guy in Thursday’s team meeting not wearing a White Plains football shirt, because he didn’t have one. The players quickly rectified that, presenting one to him in a welcoming gesture.
“It’s like I’m living a dream,” Tyree said. I told them yesterday I talked about being a head football coach since I was 7 years old and now doing it. I just don’t have a whole lot of time to bask in it because we’re trying to get a staff put together, trying to get systems put, trying to know the guys. I had to look at the cards just to remember these guys’ names just now. Nah, just kidding.”
It only gets easier from here.

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