E.A. Sports Today

Burns steps down

Now-former Cleburne County football coach retiring after 25 years in Alabama system, eyeing possibilities in Georgia.

Joby Burns talks to Cleburne County assistant coach Justin Taylor before a game in 2019. Burns, who served five seasons as Cleburne County’s head football coach, is retiring from the Alabama system. (File photo)

By Joe Medley
East Alabama Sports Today

Cleburne County is looking for a new head football coach. This after Joby Burns informed the Tigers last week of his intentions to retire in the Alabama system.

“I’m going to retire,” Burns said. “I may try to go to Georgia (and coach). I don’t have anything right yet, but that’s probably what I’ll end up doing.

“It’s just something we’ve been thinking about and felt like it was the right time to do it.”

Cleburne County principal Ron Ervin said the job will be posted this week and interviews will start “as soon as possible.”

Burns has 25 years in the Alabama system and four in Georgia. Six more years in Georgia would get him vested in two states.

The former Central-Clay defensive coordinator completed his fifth season as Cleburne County’s head coach in 2023. He was 16-35 with one playoff appearance, in 2023.

Injuries to former Tigers quarterback Kyler McGrinn and running back/linebacker Jake Dingler impacted Cleburne County’s past three seasons. McGrinn moved to Georgia after the 2022 season.

“I appreciate Coach Burns for all his hard work and dedication to the program,” Ervin said. “We had the opportunity to return to the playoffs under his watch, which was huge for our school and community.

“He is a high character man who will be greatly missed on our campus.”

Besides serving as Central-Clay’s defensive coordinator, Burns served as head boys’ basketball coach at Lineville then Central-Clay for 12 years. Cleburne County was his first head coaching job in football. Burns succeeded long-time Tigers coach Michael Shortt, who retired after the 2018 season.

Burns called his time in Cleburne County “good.”

“The people here have been good,” he said. “I’ve certainly learned a lot. I felt like I grew a lot, so it was a good experience.”

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