E.A. Sports Today

Back at home

Chambless returns to Northeast Alabama from Georgia to coach Glencoe boys basketball

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

GLENCOE – Ryan Chambless has never forgotten a piece of advice his high school basketball coach gave him early in his own coaching career.

“I remember Coach (Larry) Ginn telling me something about a month before he died,” Chambless recalled Tuesday night. “I think that year I spent driving to St. Clair County while I was living in Jacksonville. He said, ‘You’ve got to live where you coach,’ and I’ve never forgotten that.”

Chambless has always coached close to where he lived until his career took him to Rome (Ga.) for this past basketball season. He won there and had the Wolves playing well, but that daily hour-long commute each way kept him from doing all the things he needed to be for the program.

Well, he’s back in Northeast Alabama after the Etowah County Board of Education approved him Tuesday night as the new head basketball coach and assistant football coach at Glencoe.

Before going to Rome, Chambless coached at Pleasant Valley, Cleburne County, Jacksonville (where he won a girls state championship), Ohatchee and St. Clair County – all places that were close to his home. Comparably, Glencoe is like a drive around the block.

“I think it’s a great job,” he said. “I’ve always thought Glencoe had a good community and had a lot of tradition and pride about athletics. It just seems like a community that really supports athletics and sports, the school, and that’s always impressed me from the outside.

“The added bonus is I live probably 10 minutes away and the family can be involved and I can coach the way I really enjoy coaching. I just think it’s a better fit for me. It’s the first time I felt good about a job in a long time.”

Chambless knew when he pursued the Rome job the commute would be difficult and he couldn’t move, so he made the best of it. Jumping between time zones added to the difficulty, and it could become even more challenging during his peak season if the state goes through with year-round daylight saving time.

“There were so many things I just couldn’t do this past year at Rome,” he said. “Stuff like going back at night and maybe opening the gym for an hour so the guys could work on their game, like being visible at school.

“Things like that you just can’t do when you’re an hour away and it’s stuff I’ve always done. It’s tough on both sides, stuff I know I ought to be doing and almost feel like you’re not being fair to the kids your coaching. Somebody is going to get a really great situation who can move there and can do the things I’m talking about.”

Chambless takes over at Glencoe for Jason Gilley, who resigned after seven seasons with the Yellow Jackets. He is expected to meet with players and personnel Wednesday and begin preparations for spring and off-season basketball workouts and spring football.

Chambless’ assistant at Rome was former Weaver head coach Marcus Herbert and he is believed to have a chance to succeed him. Herbert brought the Wolves back to this part of the state this winter when the head coach was in COVID-19 quarantine and directed them to three dominating wins in the Cleburne County Christmas Classic.

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