E.A. Sports Today

Comings and goings

Hunt moves into administration at Jacksonville, Mize named interim; Tittle approved as principal at Cherokee County; ex-JSU player Gray named head coach at Faulkner

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

The Jacksonville basketball team will go into its June offseason play dates with a new coach on the bench.

Cordell Hunt has moved into administration, leaving his spot on the Golden Eagles’ bench vacant. Hunt confirmed he has accepted the assistant principal position at Kitty Stone Elementary School.

In terms of a successor, the community has thrown its support towards former Sacred Heart and Mae Jemison head coach Ralph Graves. He is interested and had made application.

Assistant coach Corey Mize, 28, will serve as the team’s interim coach and will take the Golden Eagles through their three play dates – June 11 at Birmingham Southern, June 15 at Jacksonville State and June 18 at Champions. 

“I’m excited for the opportunity,” said Mize, who has interviewed for the permanent position. “I think you know I can lead the team in the summer and have a good summer and hopefully get them ready for whoever they announce as a head coach.”

The Golden Eagles return most of their team from a year ago and rumors abound they will be adding 6-foot-8 Cade Phillips from Westbrook Christian for the coming season.

Whoever the Golden Eagles have in the locker room, their expectations will be high.

“I’m excited to see what this team can do,” Mize said. “I think they have a chance to compete for the state championship, but we both know they’re not won in the season, but in the summertime with who’s willing to put in the work. If they do, they’ve got a good chance of winning the state championship.

“But they’ve got to have a good summer. I have to be in charge of seeing that they do.”

Tittle approved in Centre

Calhoun County’s loss is Cherokee County’s gain.

Bobby Tittle, whose contract non-renewal as the decorated principal of Ohatchee High School created an uproar in the community, was approved Tuesday night as the new principal at Cherokee County High School.

It would have been a perfect opportunity for Tittle to open up on the board that let him go, but he instead took the opportunity to look forward. He contract at Ohatchee expires June 30.

“I’m just excited about the opportunity,” Tittle said. “Excited to meet the teachers, the students and the people in the community. They’ve got a lot of great things going on at Cherokee County. It’s bittersweet. I hate leaving Ohatchee, but I’m very excited about the opportunity.”

One of the “great things” he’ll be overseeing is the installation of artificial turf in the school’s football stadium. The project was unanimously approved by the three board members in attendance at the 14-minute meeting. As principal, Tittle also is the Cherokee County athletics director.

“That project is fixing to get rolling as soon as it can,” said Tittle, who already has had several of the Warriors coaches reach out to him through social media. “I talked to superintendent Mike Welch after the meeting; I had some questions about it. It’s a pleasant surprise.”

One of the games the new principal is particularly looking forward to next year is the baseball matchup between the Warriors and Ohatchee. Tittle’s son, Carson, is a starting infielder who will remain at Ohatchee.

“That will be an exciting game for me,” he said.

The board also approved former Winterboro and Collinsville coach Alan Beckett as the new head football coach at Cedar Bluff.

Gray takes over Faulkner football

Robert Gray, a dynamic defender on several Jacksonville State playoff teams, as introduced Tuesday as the seventh head coach in the 15-year history of Faulkner University’s football program.

Gray, a Collinsville grad, was an assistant on the Faulkner staff during each of its last two football seasons. This past spring he was the team’s associate head coach and defensive backs coach. 

“His two seasons at Faulkner have shown his passion for football, the student-athletes who work with him, and the mission of the university,” Faulkner AD Hal Wynn said. “Rob is well liked by his players and well respected among his peers. He is our seventh coach since we launched the program in 2006. It is my hope he will be in this position for a very long time.”

“I look forward to not only winning games, but seeing these young men win and succeed in life,” Gray said. “I can’t wait to get started.”

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