E.A. Sports Today

‘Brick by brick’

Ready to try head-coaching job again, Anniston grad Dorsey hopes to build Talladega High football into a winner from the ground up.

Damien Dorsey is set to take over the Talladega High School football program after finishing his work as Decatur’s track coach this spring. (Submitted photo)

By Joe Medley
East Alabama Sports Today

Damien Dorsey laughs when recalls all the hats he wore as Talladega County Central’s head football coach, head boys’ basketball coach and athletics director.

Now 43, and having emerged from an 11-year journey as an assistant, from south Alabama to north Alabama, he waxes philosophically about his first try as a head coach.

“I didn’t know what I didn’t know,” the Anniston High grad said.

Now 11 years wiser, Dorsey will try again.

As of Tuesday, he’s hired as Talladega High’s new head football coach. Talladega City Schools announced his hiring via social media.

He’ll finish out his work with Decatur High’s track team this spring then take over a football program suffering through a 28-game losing streak, including an 0-20 mark the past two seasons. The Tigers have had two winning seasons since fielding winners three years in a row, between 1992 and 1994.

The correction to December’s AHSAA reclassification announcement shipped Talladega more south than the Tigers already were in Region 4. In Region 3 for the next two seasons, they’ll align with Booker T. Washington, Bullock County, Cleburne County, Handley, Munford, St. James and Tallassee.

Dorsey knows what he knows, and he knows he’s taken on something. He believes he knows what to do.

“I’m blessed, actually. Just blessed and grateful,” he said. “No other words for it.”

Dorsey comes at this job much more seasoned than when he went 9-12 between 2012-13 at TCC. His journey since then includes assistant coaching jobs at Greenville, Park Crossing, Bob Jones and Decatur.

The former University of Louisville wide receiver, who starred at Wellborn before transferring to Anniston, was offensive coordinator his last three years at Park Crossing. His last two stops included duties as passing-game coordinator at Bob Jones and Decatur, where he coached in 2023.

Dorsey was candid about how the Talladega opportunity came along.

“I knew somebody who knew somebody,” he said with a laugh.

He cited the “vision” of Talladega City Schools superintendent Dr. Quentin J. Lee and Talladega High principal Marvin Moten.

How to reverse Talladega’s losing trend?

“You reverse it brick by brick,” he said. “This first brick of John Wooden’s Pyramid (of Success) is industriousness. We’re just make sure we strap on our bootstraps tight and do the work ourselves.

“That’s really what’s going to be the foundation, just the work. It’s not even going to be about football, pretty much, this first year. It’s just the mindset of understanding that belief in oneself and making sure that the kids understand that they are supported, and that they have a chance to be successful through athletics, not because of athletics.”

Dorsey likens the Talladega situation to his first year at Park Crossing. It was 2014 and Park Crossing’s first year of varsity football.

“As of right now, it’s a ground-building process,” he said. “I’m used to that. That’s what I enjoy the most, because you see the fruits of your labors in three or four years, when kids are getting scholarships. … 

“I’m glad to be on the ground floor of that. Oh-and-20 can easily be 20-0 with belief and execution.”

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